One of the biggest challenges facing PR pros and marketers is how to keep content fresh so that it appeals to the media and target audiences.
Here are some top tips on how to freshen up content:
Plug into Hot Topics: News jumping or news jacking is one of the best ways to keep your content current. Take a look at your key messages and active marketing campaigns as well as topics your subject matter experts are well-versed in and then ask yourself, could you connect it to what’s happening in the world right now? For example, ransomware and cyberattacks continue to be a hot topic as the one-year anniversary of WannaCry recently passed. There’s a renewed news cycle about what companies learned from the WannaCry experience and what can be done to prepare, respond to and increase their security efforts to protect technology assets.
Make a Seasonal Connection: Think creatively about how you can tie your content themes to the current season. People enjoy reading information that’s current and relatable so if you can make a connection to them, and the season or date, you’ll be better able to engage more with your readers. For example, take the recent World Cup 2018 – could there have been an opportunity to connect what you do to it? Mobile carriers could have provided data about how much texting happened during certain matches or a retail company could have shared the number of team kits (jerseys) sold per country.
Share Expertise with an Educational Focus: All too often content creators turn valuable communication vehicles like blogs and other mediums into a sales promo and miss the opportunity to highlight the value of what their own industry experts can share with their audience. When you approach content creation from the standpoint of helping your audience better understand the value of working with your company, it results in increased credibility and establishes trust.
Sharing useful tips, creating guidebooks and dispensing advice on how to address problems or pain points are incredibly helpful to your audiences and more likely to appeal to the media as they aren’t a blatant sales promotion. Can you turn your latest ebook into a guide to addressing a market need rather than promoting the latest, greatest product in your portfolio? It could then become a valuable tool for your PR team to secure media opportunities for your industry experts to be quoted as credible sources about this topic.
Just like strawberries always taste best when they’re fresh and in-season, your content will resonate and be more effective if people can connect what you’re doing in the marketplace with what is of interest to them both personally and professionally.
We’d welcome the opportunity to help you create fresh, engaging content. Contact us Rahme Mehmet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The benefits and downsides of flexible working has been debated for years. As long-time converts to the joys of managing work routines around life’s priorities, it was pleasing to see a spate of recent research confirming what we at TechComms already know to be the joys of flexi-working.
Timewise’s report, A Talent Imperative, supported by EY Flexible Working, showed that 25% of all full-time workers would prefer to work part time for less wages, if it was not detrimental to their pay per hour or career progression.
Also extolling the virtues of flexi-working, was the Exodus survey carried out by Investors in People, which found, unsurprisingly, that flexibility in employment, such as working remotely, was more important to workers, than having a 3% pay rise. The survey also found that almost half (47%) of employees were intending to find a new job in 2018, a lower figure than last year which saw 59% of respondents actively seeking new employment. Surveys now regularly find that being offered flexible working is a more preferred option to a pay rise nowadays.
More recently, there was a Powwownow report, showing the number of employees who favour flexible working is rising – up to 75% from 70% the previous year. The same survey echoed the Exodus survey results, revealing a third of respondents would prefer flexible working to a pay rise, while a FlexJobs survey of 1,200 parents in the US highlighted that 84% think that work flexibility is the most important that they consider when looking for a new job.
From a personal perspective, there are the obvious benefits from working in the confines of a home office, including peace, quiet and no disruptions from office workers or work telephones ringing making your working time all the more productive. With the proliferation of cloud technology, collaborations tools and faster broadband speeds, it has become even easier to set up a home office or work remotely, from a local coffee shop with WiFi or MiFi for example.
At the same time, many companies, from SMEs to large corporations have implemented the technology and working practices, to enable people to work as effectively from home as they would in the office. And the benefits speak for themselves.
Not only do technology advancements mean that many roles can be just as effectively and seamlessly conducted whilst working from home or on the go – think checking and responding to work emails while travelling abroad or at an off-site meeting – they also mean that any possible absenteeism is reduced. Many workers nowadays assume that work flexibility is a part of their job and this flexible working cuts out, or at least minimizes, the need to commute thus providing a more effective use of time.
Flexible working also ensures employees (self-employed or otherwise) are better motivated and more productive. Providing remote working as part of a package is a highly regarded plus for an employee looking for greater flexibility.
Let’s not forget there are also downsides for the worker and employer though.
Unless you are Ernest Hemingway, or any writer who seeks solitary confinement, to get the creative juices flowing, the individual worker has to adapt to a new way of working. Getting used to a new working culture will present teething issues. For someone who has always worked in teams – making the move to working for yourself or away from an environment where you are seeing office colleagues every day, can take some getting used to. A better balance for some employees would be a combination of working remotely alongside set days in an office, to meet with colleagues and friends each week.
So, this cultural shift isn’t for everyone. But when it works, it’s a boon for anyone wanting less-stress and more freedom to manage work-life balance.
For the employee, implementing technology and ensuring it is compliant with security protocols is a headache. There are costs involved. The good news is many online collaboration tools are free, easy to use and so overall costs can be minimised.
For employers, some industries are not cut out for flexible working. Obvious examples are healthcare and retail sectors. Having said that, the tech world has ensured some advances in the healthcare sector, so remote diagnostics can be utilised, thus saving waiting time for patients.
For those industries that have implemented flexible working policies, the difficulty is in keeping track of productivity and the amount of time employees actually spend working. Trust is key. A shift in culture is important for flexible working to be implemented successfully. Alongside the robust IT technology needs to be a supportive culture that trusts employees.
In conclusion, the advantages of flexible working outweigh the downsides. More companies should enable their employees to take advantage of this route. It will benefit individual employees and experienced freelancers either at SMEs or larger companies. If effectively managed as part of a planned approach, flexible working becomes integral to a modern working culture to keep employees happy, creating highly-efficient and productive working environments.
The increased demand for flexible working will be particularly attractive to millennial workers. The Powwownow research also showed 70 per cent of this group citing flexible working on their wish list, compared to only 47 per cent of over 55s. The businesses that will be most successful in retaining and keeping talent motivated will be those that manage work-life balance using digital tools and are prepared to adapt their working culture for the next generation.
No doubt you’ve heard the idea of thought leadership tossed in conversations with your PR team rather frequently. Yes, us PRs really do love to talk thought leadership, but there is a very important reason why we do.
Having a thought leadership platform can truly make the difference between a somewhat successful PR programme and a phenomenally successful one.
Here are three ways to start building a thought leadership programme:
A Point of View (POV) Matters. In a world where most companies’ products make the same claims such as ‘our super great product can help you do things faster and better’; me-too communication tactics are not enough to cut through the noise and get your target audience interested in your company or its products. But having a point of view about things impacting the industry space you’re in and sharing your insights in an authentic, non-biased way can help you build credibility and prominently position your brand amongst your target audiences to help it stand out. This brand awareness positively influences current customers and can attract the interest of prospects—aka the top of the sales funnel.
Show Them the Value. With more senior and c-level executives engaged in the buying process for strategic company investments, there’s more emphasis on showing the value you deliver. The best way to do this is to establish your company as a thought leader in the market. This will mean these execs may have heard of you before and are more willing to listen to your reasons for working together. When you can show your customers you understand the industry and the challenges they face as well as how your solution can address their needs, you will find them to be more open and willing to work with your company and invest in your solutions and services.
It Opens the Door to Strong Relationships with Important Influencers. Today’s media are savvy, short on time and more interested in story telling versus reporting the facts in a standard company news releases. To engage them, you have to offer compelling content with a broader perspective. For example, you can’t just say ‘my product is so great, it does xyz the fastest’. Instead try: ‘my product helped save commuters five hours of commuting time per week because the rail companies can now digitally and automatically do this brilliant thing’. That’s much more interesting.
And if you take it one step further and provide this information as a contributed article in a top publication where you can clearly show your company’s expertise in the railroad industry and the monumental impact you’re having on the industry’s digital transformation, then you will find your phone ringing, as you will be deemed as a credible source. Key influencers will call you for expert commentary and quotes and ask for follow up articles. This domino effect can have an extremely positive impact on your brand and sales efforts.
Being the authority on what you do is the essence of thought leadership. The good news is you already have the know-how and expertise in your organisation. Now all you have to do is allow your PRs to tap into these resources and help develop the compelling content to support your thought leadership programme.
If you’ve invested in PR agency support, you will want to have a great relationship with your PR team. This can be easier said than done. As the point of contact for the agency team, you may find you are often pulled in many different directions with priorities always changing. So, how do you keep your PR agency relationship on track and working to support your company’s brand awareness and reputation management, all while being a good client?
Assuming the chemistry is there for you and your agency team (and if it isn’t, this needs to be addressed immediately), here are five ways you can keep things running smoothly.
Make the PR agency part of your team. Don’t treat the agency team as if they are any other vendor relationship. They will need a good deal of attention from you and your team to ensure they meet expectations. If they’re doing their job well, they become your virtual team and can be relied on to help you launch a new product, roll-out a new marketing campaign and help you with internal and external communication planning. Leaving your agency out of the loop and not readily sharing content that they can use for PR means they won’t have what they need to create successful PR pitches and complete effective media outreach.
Keep it simple. While you’ve hired your agency for their expertise in PR and marketing communications, remember they have not been hired to be technical product managers. The team will need just enough information about your company inter-workings and product portfolio to go out and tell the world how amazing it all is without being overwhelmed by having to make sense of industry jargon, technical acronyms and product specifications.
Be direct. And we mean direct, 100% total candor all the time. Your agency will need clear, concise, straightforward instructions, and in particular, what you expect the outcome to be. For example, if you want to be in one extremely important publication when your latest product launches, let your agency know that this is the goal and they can make every possible effort to deliver. Sugarcoating bad news when you’re unhappy won’t help your agency. If they aren’t delivery, it’s important to let them know. Tell them and tell them often. Don’t wait until it’s too late for them to do something to fix the issue(s).
Allow your agency to be strategic. If you ever think: it’s too early to tell the agency about a major company news announcement, we assure you it is not. Your agency will have signed a NDA for a reason. They will need to know as far in advance of major news as possible so they can execute a PR plan to get the news to your media targets. There’s more to this than drafting a press release. They will most likely want to be strategic, so let them when it comes to helping make the most of your company’s exciting news.
Trust us. This is the most important thing to being a good client. Have faith in your agency team. They will be seasoned professionals with extensive communications experience and education trained to execute successful PR programmes for their clients. They will work on your behalf and always have your best interests at heart. This trust also needs to extend further inside your organisation. Your agency will need to be able to source compelling PR content from your experts. It’s great to have you on the line when your agency do these calls or in the room when they have meetings, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for it and the agency have to wait too long to get access, you’re missing out on having them secure great placements. Trust your agency to do their job. Because when they get the information they need, they can turn it into a great PR campaign for you and make your experts media stars.
A PR agency’s top priority is to make their client’s job easier and deliver a successful PR program aligned with your business goals. Essentially, they will want to make you look good for choosing them to execute your PR outreach. Your investment in the team can pay enormous dividends if you communicate openly and honestly with each other and truly work as a team.
So, let’s get started. Contact us today.
The rules of PR are rapidly changing and none more so than for one sector of society: millennials
Ever since marketers first started learning about segmentation, targeting sectors of society has been a staple of marketing strategies. The latest segment to get added attention, marketing focus and budget spend is the much commented on and analysed, millennial. In marketing circles, this segment of society has been written about extensively in recent years.
And just why are millennials getting special attention and why should PRs pay heed to their needs, interests and influences? Here’s a look at the PR approach necessary to reach this audience and build credibility and trust.
Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are those who reached adulthood at the start of the new millennium. The term itself has been around for a while and gone through various permutations. It's widely accepted now that although millennials vary regionally, this generation's traits include: heavy use of and familiarity with digital communications, media savvy, and knowledge of the latest devices and social media platforms. In many parts of the world, another common characteristic has been a liberal approach to politics and economics.
It's commonly accepted that millennial were the first to grow up with computers in their homes and the ubiquity of the Internet. It’s worth noting some millennials do not even have a television, so they watch all their media over the Internet using smartphones and tablets. What also makes millennials standout is their hyperawareness of social issues and the fact that they are informed about the latest entertainment, business and social and geopolitical trends.
This is the first generation to grow up with a reliance, some may argue an over-reliance, on technology. They are connected to the world 24/7 and fully understand the positive value and impact technology has on their lives.
The influx of millennials into the workforce has the potential to impact almost every industry sector. PR stands to gain a lot from this millennial shift, due to its increasing focus on digital PR.
Millennials will play a part in all PR sectors as they enter the work force, spend money and thereby influence marketing decisions and PR campaigns. Millennials will also be a part of PR agency workforces and therefore shape PR campaigns. As the millennial generation doesn't conform to traditional marketing techniques such as newspaper ads or sales calls, it is creating a whole new path for marketing and PR.
A conventional work culture is not as important to millennials as an enjoyable role which provides flexible work environments. The average millennial needs usable and engaging content which they can access anywhere and at anytime — and be able to quickly share. This cultural shift in the world of work is going to continue unabated.
A Millennial-focused PR Approach
The main focus for PR will centre around using digital tools to engage with millennials. What do PRs need to do consider when working on PR campaigns targeted at millennials?
The influx of big data analytics and a focus on tailored content creation has enabled PR managers to gain a stronger understanding of this nascent demographic. It has also helped create more nuanced and targeted campaigns. PR is aimed at influencing an audience that is tech-savvy and connected in ways that simply didn't exist, even ten years ago.
A natural corollary of this is: old marketing techniques no longer work. Consumers are less interested in pop up ads or content they see elsewhere. The way to build a brand is changing, too. A research study by Bazaarvoice found that more than 50% of us trust an online presence and a stranger’s opinion, than we would the people we know. A millennial’s trust in a brand is no longer dependent simply on expert opinions or reviews. This is why we see the increasing importance of social media influencers, some of whom have millions of followers, and can sway positive or negative opinion for products, people and brands.
The prevalence of social media is seen clearly in how news is accessed by millennials. According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Research, in 2017, 51% of millennials access news via social media, thereby devaluing traditional PR techniques. In 26 countries, including the UK, 44% of Facebook users go onto the site, via the app or website, for their news.
This means original content needs to be made quickly available and updated on social media for instant access. Talking to millennials through social media has become a tool to engage in conversations directly. To do this successfully, PR agencies have made concerted efforts to understand millennial lifestyles and communicate with them in an approachable tone of voice, sometimes using different influencers. Discovering trending topics and integrating it into an article, blog, or possibly a press release, is a useful way of creating the type of content that millennials will care about, respond to and be interested in learning more about.
So, in taking the approach of providing tailored content aimed at millennials’ needs, digital PR helps build a relationship with the audience. This can only be done if the starting point is extensive audience research to understand the needs and issues of the millennials being targeted. This opens the door to more creativity and more opportunities for PR to engage with their audiences.
As the traditional world of communications is driven by technology, brands that can creatively communicate ideas that strike a chord with an audience at a specific moment with engaging content are the ones that will have the distinct advantage to build long lasting relationships with millennials.
With the media landscape changing and becoming more and more fragmented, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach your target audience through one communication channel alone. A recent PRCA survey revealed that 82% of their sample base strongly agreed that both clients and agencies need to learn more about how to develop a communications strategy.
Many of us work in our own capacities, focusing on our areas of expertise. So when we are faced with developing a communications campaign, it can be a little daunting.
The most logical starting point is to ask what it is you want to achieve and when, and determine who your target audience is. For example, launching a new consumer product to a mass audience, or a targeted B2B campaign. It is important to be clear on your objectives from the outset, to ensure you focus your efforts (and budget) on the most influential channels of communication, whether that’s many or just some to reach each of your customer touch-points.
The other point for consideration is who will lead the communications campaign. Will it be led by the client or the agency? An important decision to make as early on as possible to avoid wasted time and budget.
Once you are clear on what is you want to achieve and who you are targeting, the next step is to think about content. Simply put, content is king - it needs to be new, innovative and different. Consistency at every touchpoint is crucial, so it is essential that the content can be repurposed for all channels of communication.
Channels of communication
As mentioned above, some communication campaigns will only require some channels, others will require many in which it is absolutely essential that a holistic approach is taken to allow full integration between each of them. With 57% of agencies and 64% of clients agreeing that it is becoming more difficult to communicate with consumers, ensuring complete alignment is becoming more evident.
Channels of communication can include, and not limited to: PR, social media, advertising, channel marketing, point of sale, direct marketing and the company website. Channels should be chosen based on your customer touchpoints and where you feel you are going to be able to make the most impact.
It is essential to agree measurement metrics before the campaign is created. This can be a little challenging when it comes to measuring a campaign in its entirety. Each communication channel is measured in a different way; their ROI is not measured in the same way – yet. The recent launch of IPA touchpoints, a consumer-centric, cross-media, cross-device database could be a step in the right direction, or you could simply revert to the standard measurement tools for each individual communication channel.
In summary, if your content is interesting, new and thought -provoking, and you promote it through the right channels hitting each and every customer touchpoint, you will have a successful campaign on your hands.