Effective Communications Strategies Aren't One Size Fits All
by WordWrite Staff, on Feb 20, 2015
Instagram, selfie contests, Twitter chats, Reddit interviews, Google Hangouts … all of these are good and legitimate ways to reach certain audiences — perhaps even your intended audience. Especially if you have a consumer product geared towards a Millennial (generally someone born between the early 1980s through the early 2000s.) But, what if your audience is a niche market? What if your prospects aren’t Millennials, aren’t on social media regularly and have no clue what a Twitter chat is?
With rampant information overload today, finding creative ways to communicate to people where they are makes sense. A Miami-based branding firm recently touted President Obama’s administration for having a fresh, unconventional and diverse content marketing strategy (focused mainly on reaching Millennials) — something no other President has ever done — or needed to do. This has included Google chats, “Ask Me Anything” Reddit interviews, a summit with YouTube personalities and of course many television talk show appearances. President Obama’s efforts, they said, have put him where the people are, instead of up on a pedestal, virtually untouchable. I realize this could spark a political debate, and that is not my intention. Let’s just agree that this President has used very different ways to reach the public than past presidents.
For the B2B company with a niche market wondering — are these same tactics — the ones used by President Obama — right for us? Will hosting a Reddit interview take us to the next level? The simple answer is “no.” Your CEO is not the POTUS and the people most likely to buy your product or service aren’t hanging out in Google+ circles. This is not to say that you shouldn’t “do” social media — it’s simply to say that you should walk before you run — and make sure you have the proper shoes and a roadmap before getting started.
More Tools Doesn’t Always Mean More Opportunity
The great news is that we have more tools for companies and executives to share their stories. The bad news is that we have more tools for executives to share their stories.
In our experience working with B2B companies of all sizes around the United States, we know that busy executives want results and if someone tells them a Twitter chat is where it’s at, they just might believe it — because why not? That’s what the President does, right? Here’s the thing, what works for one person, one company or one organization is not necessarily what is right for you. In fact, in a niche business, I would go so far to say that these tools aren’t where you should be telling your story or sharing your message, at least initially. First things first, determine what your story actually is — decide what differentiates you from the competition.
Sometimes the idea of all the flashy new tools takes away from where the real focus should be — building relationships with the right people. A compelling story for your business may not need to be shouted from the rooftop, but rather shared in your living room during an intimate cocktail reception with your top sales prospects.
All too often, we meet folks who think to “get out there” they need to be on every cool new platform, so they hire a firm to get them set up and then six months later, those very platforms sit vacant — devoid of content or conversation. It’s a lot of work to build up a loyal following on many platforms — and this is a requirement before even attempting to host an event similar to what President Obama did.
So, What Should You Do?
The alternatives are:
- Go where your prospects are (PR and media relations)
- Begin a strategy that brings them to you (inbound marketing)
Or, do both.
If you sell machinery parts to the automotive industry or provide a very specialized consulting service to owners of manufacturing companies, your potential customers are likely reading industry publications and business-focused weekly newspapers. They may be reading them online. But that’s what they’re reading. Or, they might even participate in group discussions on LinkedIn. It’s highly unlikely they are spending a chunk of their day following hashtags on Twitter.
Focus your public relations efforts on building relationships with reporters and editors who write about what you do or the industry you sell to. Go to networking events. Don’t oversell — just listen and be helpful. You want those influencers to know you’re there, but not because you’ve come in shouting your company name to everyone in the room. At WordWrite, we help share our clients’ stories to those who need to see, hear and experience them. To learn how we do this, check out my colleague Jeremy Church’s post: We give journalists the content they need to tell your business story.
Turn your marketing efforts inside out. Instead of blasting out your messages to everyone, create compelling content and a reason for the right people to find you. In our industry, this is called Inbound Marketing. Click here to learn more about it, or download our whitepaper, Inbound Marketing 101.
As you consider the best public relations and marketing strategy for your business, trust your gut — not what a hip, consumer-focused ad agency executive tells you is the latest and greatest. Sometimes keeping things simple is best. Remember, you can’t go wrong if you go where your prospects are (the key is YOUR prospects, not where the masses are) or if you build a solid strategy that will bring leads to you using inbound marketing.
We’d love to hear your marketing challenges to see if we can help you develop a customized strategy that connects you to the folks who matter for your business.