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Nine weeks ago a new national daily newspaper was launched in the UK. It was announced recently that they had printed their last.
New Day was said to be for ‘normal people who do not want to read newspapers’. It appears they were right. The warning was there. Right in front of their eyes. In today’s world ‘normal’ people do not want to read newspapers.
But what, I hear you ask, has the demise of an embryonic new daily newspaper got to do with helping us all to navigate our way through the increasingly densely populated digital world which we all now inhabit? From a marketing perspective it actually speaks volumes about the opportunity that exists for us all to change the way we approach the production of content for our target audience.
For the purposes of this article I’d like to focus on the PR opportunity that the new world order has created for us all – but only if we fundamentally change our approach to the production and distribution of content.
The traditional relationship between marketers and media outlets was similar to the relationship that anyone selling a product or service through a third party distribution channel experiences. We produce great content but then rely on said third party (newspapers, trade magazines) to distribute this content for us. Of course, these media outlets have their own agendas in terms of editorial policy and sometimes what we perceive to be a good story just doesn’t fit.
As a result of this we’ve all ended up crafting the stories that the media outlets want in order to ensure that we hit our media placement targets. It’s worth noting that these media outlets have, for the most part, got declining readership figures. What all the available digital marketing tools do for us is give us an opportunity to seize control of the distribution of our content. We can now not only be content producers but we can also be the distribution channel.
The benefits of this for us as marketing professionals is clear – we’re able to tell the stories that we want to tell about our products, services and people without having to concern ourselves with whether it fits with the agenda of a third party media outlet. If we understand our customers and what they really value in what we offer them then it should be easy for us to produce content which tells them how we can solve their problems, make life easier and more rewarding. But achieving success in this new digital world order requires more than simply continuing to produce the same stories in the same style as we’ve always done with our press releases.
Getting any sort of engagement with your audience depends on picking the right tools in the first instance. You wouldn’t deliver a presentation in an empty room (unless it’s a webinar!) so why are you on Facebook if none of your customers are there?
The next part of engagement is making sure you stay involved in any conversation that your content starts. Respond to comments – and quickly – to demonstrate that you’re listening.
If you’re making claims about the differences that you can make for your customers then back it up. Keep your promises. There is no place in the world where your customers will tell others of a broken promise before they tell the Internet.
Show people who they’re dealing with. Bring your people to the centre of your stories to give people a feeling for the culture and personality of the organisation.
The quotation within the story doesn’t have to be from your MD (a lot of media outlets seem to think this is the only person in an organisation capable of the spoken word). It doesn’t even need to be a quotation. Why not use short video interviews within the story to really allow the personalities to come out.
Every company has people whose enthusiasm for the company, the products is infectious. People buy this sort of passion. So do whatever needs to be done to make these people comfortable with being at the centre of the story.
So tear up the PR rule book and start producing the content that your knowledge of your customers tells you will work. Then pick the right distribution channels, understand what success looks like in this new digital world and make your New Day the success you know it can be.
Peter Craven is Head of Marketing with CDE Global in Cookstown. CDE manufacture equipment for the global quarrying, mining and recycling industries and have global offices in the USA, Australia, India and Brazil. Peter has worked in marketing for more than 15 years in the manufacturing industry and has been with CDE since 2007. The marketing team at CDE is 8 people currently with varying regional marketing, event management and brand management responsibility. The team will grow to 10 before the end of 2016. A member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Peter is in the second year of the Chartered Marketer programme. He says that success in modern marketing requires a broader skill set than ever before as a result of the speed of change – but believes that three key attributes will ensure success. Attitude, application and initiative.