While it's imperative for any company to have a PR professional on staff or on call, it's equally important to know what trends are driving engagement across your entire enterprise. In layman's terms..."How does your customer consume their information?" Knowing where to place your message and how to do it is an essential piece of business intelligence.
Fear not. Some of the best trends are practical, and achievable for the average company.
1. Content marketing:
There is a lot of buzz about content marketing. First a definition. Content marketing is creating written content about your business or industry that will attract new customers or retain current customers. Creating your own content can be a tall task, but don't be tempted to use content from other sources. Create your own. Why? Several reasons.
- Thought leadership: Why would you highlight the expertise of others when you could showcase your own?
- Share the spotlight: Give your employees a chance to shine.
- Tell your story: Writing your own content gives you the ability to infuse it with your own style, humor and history.
Storytelling goes hand-in-hand with content marketing. Stories can be about your customers, employees or the company itself. Every once in a while, let people see what goes on behind the scenes. Here is some more inspiration from companies that have used storytelling successfully.
3. Vanity metrics are OUT. Engagement metrics are IN.
Forget number of followers. Forget silly Facebook "get more followers" contests. Concentrate on the followers you have. Engage. This could be scary or it could be a game-changer for your business. Respond to customer requests on Facebook and Twitter just like you would if they called your customer service rep, or if they walked in your front door. Who cares if 5,000 unengaged and ignored people are following you?
4. Visual communication:
Whether it's a video or an infographic, telling your story in a visual format will help you expand your content offerings to a new audience. Pinterest, the new darling of social media, in based almost solely on images as opposed to text. And YouTube, owned by Internet giant Google, treats video content very favorably in its search engine results. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
5. Social and mobile dominance:
After all the hype over social media dies down, and we all have smart phones, then what? The smaller screens have implications as to how we deliver content to our audiences. While we used to do platform testing across different browsers on a PC, we should now be asking our audience what device they prefer instead. Also, we should critically examine the need for apps when a mobile site may be more user-friendly.
It's pretty amazing that the ancient art of storytelling is still playing such a prominent role in our modern communications, isn't it? I'd love to see some examples of how Central Iowa Companies are telling their stories. Please leave a comment.
Claire Celsi is the Director of Public Relations at Lessing-Flynn in Des Moines, Iowa.