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Content marketing basics, social media trends

content marketing

The journey to success in communications, marketing and public relations starts with the basics.

If you want to have a successful communications, marketing and/or public relations campaign or program, you must start with the basics. That beamed through clearly in talks this week by Krista Neher of Bootcamp Digital at Cincinnati IABC and Daniel Brockdorf of Caesar’s Entertainment at Cincinnati AMA. It’s vital to build upon those basics by implementing the latest and greatest available.

Brockdorf spoke about driving customer loyalty through content and measurement. It was interesting hearing how successful organizations start with the fundamentals to break through the ever-growing clutter of loyalty programs. As you can imagine, it can get quite sophisticated as marketers perfect the science of analyzing big data and delivering content at the precise point that an individual is receptive to it. But, as Brockdorf stated: It all starts with the basics… and many skip or shortcut the following steps for various reasons. They include:

1. Purpose
2. Audience
3. Message
4. Channel
5. Frequency
6. Execution

Neher, meanwhile, shared 10 new strategies and tools for social media. She covered trends and topics, such as:

1. Sharing your story in a faster, more relevant way. People are overwhelmed, so you’ve got to get to the point.
2. Keep it short. In this era of Twitter and Vine, you must connect quickly and poignantly.
3. Real-time communication. If you wait, the story goes on without you. Speed is of the essence.
4. Real photos and real stories. User-generated content helps people buy into your messages. Only 14% trust ads, while 78% trust referrals.
5. Instagram and visual content. Our brains process images much more quickly than text.
6. Pinterest. Be creative with this visual social network. For example, use it as a resource guide for your target audience instead of forcing people to dig through your website.
7. Be interesting. Present content in a positive, compelling manner. Don’t be boring, or dull!
8. Be prepared to spend money on social media. It’s not just an earned or owned channel for interacting with your key audiences.
9. Stop talking about yourself. Get other people to talk about you. Partnerships are important.
10. Infographics. Include them in your marketing and communications mix. They can convey a lot of information quickly and are very sharable.

Both speakers went into detail about all of the above points. But, as Krista advised, I’m going to keep this brief!

 

 

The future looks bright for PR, marketing, advertising, communications, social, digital….

#ThrowBackThursday photo from a decade ago. The future was so bright we needed to wear shades! For those of us in PR, marketing, communications and digital, the forecast remains sunny.

#ThrowBackThursday photo from a decade ago. The future was so bright we needed to wear shades! For those of us in PR, marketing, communications and digital, the forecast remains sunny.

Sonja Popp-Stahly of the PRSA National Board of Directors affirmed my optimism as she described the evolving role of the public relations professional and prospects for the future in an information-packed presentation at Cincinnati PRSA this week. Popp-Stahly, APR, is director of digital media communications at Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis.

As she pointed out, this is a transformative time for the public relations profession. Social media has made a tremendous impact, greatly expanding the opportunity for two-way communication and increasing challenges such as rapidly responding to complaints.

It’s also a soft-of a confusing time, as the lines between public relations, marketing and advertising continue to blur. “Who owns social media?” Popp-Stahly asked. “All own it.”

She noted that PR pros need to think like reporters and publishers, as brand journalism becomes a vital tool in the communications toolkit. That was great news for the many ex-journalists like me in the room.

Popp-Stahly cited Department of Labor stats forecasting a 21-percent increase in employment in 2010-2020. Business leaders view strategic public relations as essential, she said. Public relations budgets are increasing.

She listed these competencies: (1) understanding business strategy, (2) multi-disciplinary leadership, (3) data analytics (“We have to do math,” she said with a smile, evoking laughter.), (4) social media, (5) earned, owned, shared and paid…. It can be daunting, as we are on-call like never before with social media and e-mail, and we’re expected to demonstrate ROI. We’re not just expected to have a seat a the leadership table, but to be among the outspoken leaders there. We need to drill down beyond reporting impressions to measuring influence on key audiences. Note: Social media metrics include mentions, retweets, replies, tone analysis, and how many targeted journalists follow your brand on Twitter. Other measures include message penetration (what percentage of messages are in news coverage).

Popp-Stahly shared insights from an infographic The Re-Imagining of PR. For one, bloggers have joined reporters in importance. The days of in-person media relations have dwindled, as reporters rely heavily on e-mail to manage their rapid news cycles.

Some constants remain, as we move ahead: thought leadership, credibility, authenticity, relationships, storytelling…. and active participation in PRSA helps with all of those. Popp-Stahly encouraged us to get involved in PRSA. Take advantage of its sections, such as employee communication and healthcare. Attend a conference: Washington, D.C., in October; Atlanta in 2015; Indianapolis in 2016. Get your APR. Volunteer at the local, regional or national level.

Let’s embrace the change and pull together as we embrace the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Handling customer complaints: Not always fun, but usually rewarding

March 15, 2014 3 comments
FishingStMarys

This is not one of the negative experiences that I encounter in social media: Fishing on Grand Lake St. Marys in Ohio! However, when you manage social media strategies, you sometimes need to respond to frustrations and complaints aired by your target audiences.

It’s truly a blessing to know so many people who manage social media channels for organizations. Collectively, we can share best practices and reaffirm what we know to be true. That happens occasionally when someone encounters frustrations, complaints or other negative sentiment on their organization’s social media channels.

Sometimes, instincts will tell us to just delete the comments. In fact, outsiders without a knowledge of how social media or public relations works may instruct us to do just that. However, best practice tells us that this is an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. By being responsive, acknowledging the concern in a reply, and taking the issue offline for resolution, we are showing viewers that we really are listing and do care. In fact, the complainer will often come back with a reply expressing surprise at the responsiveness and thanking you — in public, for all to see. It’s a powerful word-of-mouth practice.

If you just delete the comment, you are demonstrating that you don’t care… that you’ve got something to hide… that you’re running from the issue. The person will vent their frustration elsewhere: Most likely to their friends and family, both online and in-person. They may escalate the matter — by contacting the media, setting up a Facebook group, circulating a change.org petition, etc.

All because you didn’t acknowledge the concern and take it off-line for resolution.

eMarketer recently reported that most people who manage social media sites respond within a day. In fact, many take action within an hour.

To tell the truth, it’s not always the most-fun thing to do — handling a complaint. But it can bring the biggest rewards. And there is a sense of satisfaction that you helped someone who was frustrated or not happy with the service they were getting; that you made things better for them.

 

 

The NOW Revolution — 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social

November 18, 2011 7 comments

Last month, Jay Baer — co-author of The NOW Revolution — 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social — shared some great insights at a jam-packed coffee house. Cincinnati Social Media sponsored the event, which attracted a number of PR, marketing, IT and social media enthusiasts. 

Fortunately, I had read his book before the talk — and liked it. (And so had the person next to me on my flight back from the Health Care Social Media Summit in October, at the direction of her boss, who owns an East Coast PR shop!) Jay underscored all of the key points in the book in an engaging talk given from the top of the steps overlooking the group. Here’s his PowerPoint, which he wasn’t able to use due to technical issues.

Here are some highlights:

* We are living in a real-time world, where every customer is a reporter. If you have a negative experience now, you let the world know on Fourquare, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs… Complaint letters are quaint practices of the past.

* Companies have got to become faster, smarter and more social. You don’t have much time to verify and contemplate. You’ve got to be quick on your feet.

*  Organizations need to empower their employees to make the right decisions. That’s about culture, not about training.

* Businesses must hire for passion, train for skills.

* If your company sucks, Twitter is not your problem. Social media does not create negativity. It puts a magnifying glass on it.

* Social media is measurable. The last quarter of the book is about metrics. There is no linear relationship between Facebook Likes and business success. 84% of Facebook followers are current customers. As a general rule, you want to measure behaviors.

* How do we as companies get more social? Thank You and I’m Sorry. If you do that, you’ll be in really good shape. 70 % of customer complaints on social media go unanswered. Name the people who tweet on behalf of companies.

* Sales, marketing, customer relations and operations know what is going on. It never gets to PR and Marketing. Use Yammer and e-mail to harvest.

* In social media, you earn the right to promote by being helpful first. The more you sell, the less you sell, in social media.

* Capitalize on real-time opportunities. This requires more people in your organization in social media. Decentralization. It’s OK that every employee is potentially in marketing. The people will make you successful, not your official Facebook page.

* Every company is going to have to be social. Customers will demand that you interact with them in new ways. They’ve got to be faster, smarter and more social to win.

* We will see much more data segmentation. What do our best customers say about us? Etc. Drill down.

I highly recommend that you read the book for more details. Exciting stuff, as we move ahead in this new world of real-time communication.