WE Communications Blog: Amplified Engagement
I have this conversation with a client at least once a week – PR can help build trust and credibility, but there is something equally as important: content marketing, including self-publishing.
The media landscape has changed; newsrooms are shrinking and audiences are more connected than ever before through social and digital. Yet businesses are still stuck in the good ol’ days when you could put out an announcement or an opinion, and it would get a run.
In the past, the major daily newspaper (even the online version) was the single most influential news outlet in any city. Today it’s just one among many traditional and non-traditional media options where people can get their news.
Additionally, your targets are sourcing news through multiple channels, they’re sceptical of advertising and turning to company websites more than ever for thorough research before making a purchasing decision.
Why then are so many brands still not sold on content marketing and see it as second-best to media coverage?
YOUR WEBSITE IS NUMBER ONE
Businesses, including B2B businesses, must consider their website as the last and most important step in closing a sale or driving a desired action.
Few businesses realise the full potential of the content they’ve already created such as announcements, media releases, presentations, infographics and factsheets. Beyond direct delivery to a stakeholder, like a journalist or an investor, it dies after only one use.
The use of digital allows content to be spliced, repurposed, modified and reused, increasing its lifecycle. And, as the traditional media landscape continues to shrink, digital content will become increasingly important to guarantee exposure for smaller deals, start-ups and SMEs.
Housing your content on your website goes without saying but you’d be surprised how many brands skip this step. If you’re putting out an announcement to media, it should also go on your website that day. If you’ve created a corporate video and it’s only sitting on YouTube, then you’re not drawing people to your website where they can spend some time and hopefully move through the purchasing funnel. If you’ve secured a great piece of thought leadership media coverage, but only half your ideas were used, your full opinion piece should be on your website for those that want to know more.
START A BLOG PAGE TO HOUSE YOUR CONTENT
A blog allows you to re-use your content, making it work harder for you and is a great way to showcase your news, ideas, expertise and knowledge.
Launching a blog that covers important topics relating to your industry is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader. A thoughtful blog will make prospective and current clients confident that your services are supported by and built on industry expertise and knowledge.
Further, maintaining an active blog can also add credibility, not only within your industry, but with journalists as well. Do you know how hard it is to get a thought leadership yarn up when nobody has heard of you and your website isn’t housing any clues that you know what you’re talking about?
Blogging can also lead to improved lead generation and a boost in search engine ranking if you’re using the right wording throughout your posts, meaning more potential clients will find you through search. Google processes 40,000 search queries every second so it’s important you rank highly if you want to be seen.
WHY SHOULD YOU BLOG?
It’s permanent – Securing a top tier piece of media coverage is fantastic however, as soon as a story has run in the media, it’s yesterday’s news. If it’s in print, it won’t be read the next day by someone who missed it and if it’s online, you’re relying on someone having knowledge of your article/interview and searching for it. A blog on your website can amplify this piece of coverage by making it permanent and making it yours.
It’s personal – Blogging is a personal, down-to-earth method of keeping your current and prospective clients informed about not only your latest product or service offerings, but also your knowledge and expertise in your industry and your internal culture as well. Journalists are typically only interested in the facts. With a blog, you’ll be able to tell your story – your way.
You’re in control – With media relations, you’re at the mercy of the journalist, the editor, the sub-editor, the producer or the photo editor when it comes to pulling together your story. You can’t control what ends up getting cut, however, with a blog, you are in complete control. You define the topic, you select the spokesperson and you write what you want, provided you are willing to stand by your comments if questioned. Further, when it comes to information, the same level of complexity and breadth of information simply cannot be matched through a media article. An active blog augments your news article by extending the story in your news release to your most important stakeholders.
It doesn’t always have to be news – in the absence of company newsflow, a blog is one of the best ways to keep your company conversation going. Your senior employees have a wealth of knowledge and expertise and through an active blog, they can really build their personal brand through thought leadership posts that focus on a topic in which they are subject matter experts.
SEO benefits – A well-written blog post targeting popular search terms will attract visitors via search which could result in new clients.
You can be creative – It doesn’t have to be limited to the written word. You can develop vlogs, create some cool infographics to support reports, podcasts, etc. The world is your oyster.
Just remember – this is not advertising, you should not explicitly promote yourself or your brand. Keep it subtle and educative and you’ll be well on your way to keeping the door open for continual business.
Written by Lauren Nowak, Account Director, Corporate and Investor Communication, WE Buchan