Savvy communicators know they must stand out from the crowd.
How can you accomplish the difficult task of grabbing audiences’ attention while also including your organization’s corporate goals and messages?
Amber Allman, vice president of corporate communications and events for Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK, shares a few tips to make sure your corporate content sings—no matter what you’re writing about:
1. Think of your audience.
Content crafted with your readers in mind can make it more compelling, which in turn, can make your efforts more effective.
PR pros can start by asking themselves the following questions, Allman says:
Is the story relevant to its intended audience? Is it newsworthy? Even if I already know about the topic, does the story add something new? Does it speak to more than an audience of a few?
Though you’re looking to accomplish organizational goals through your content, your corporate story or video doesn’t have to be boring. Spending the time to make content interesting for your readers and viewers can increase engagement.
“I like stories that make me smarter about the world around me in an easy-to-digest way, but not patronizing,” Allman says. “I also like stories that have a cool factor, evoke emotion and compel me to take action in some way.”
Allman says that though general elements of your content should be consistent, you should tailor your copy to the audience you’re targeting:
For example, employees likely want to feel pride in what their company is doing – and they should be informed at a level digestible enough to go and share that news and pride. Customers are going to want to know how what you are sharing is going to make them more successful. Is it something they can apply to their business to create more customers or revenue? Investors are going to want to know how the news affects your company’s bottom line. Will it make investors think more confidently about your company? Will they see this as a financially compelling move for their investment? Journalists are a varied group as well.
Also keep in mind where your audiences reside online and tailor content accordingly.
“You should know who your audiences are, what they are looking for and where they go to get that information,” Allman says. “For a corporate audience, communicators should know where their employees most prefer to receive content. If they don’t respond well to email call-to-actions, perhaps think about distributing content through other employee channels like intranet or internal social platforms.”
At a minimum, avoid copying and pasting the same piece of content across channels or to different audiences.
“Do not try to push a one-size-fits-all story or pitch out into the universe,” Allman says.
2. Know your goals—and measure your progress towards them.
Allman says that keeping your audience in mind (including the audience to which you’re reporting) can also help you hone your measurement efforts when you’re showing the ROI of your efforts.
A CEO or board might want something different from a sales organization or chief marketing officer. For example, some of our leaders want to see if our PR efforts are reaching the right audiences and what the value of that coverage is. Our sales team wants to see how our coverage compares to key competitors so that they can prove to clients that we are the best option for their business. Know what measurements equal success for your leadership up front before you dive in.
“Who are you measuring for and what will they want to see?” Allman asks.
Allman also suggests establishing a baseline so you can “show positive movement” prove the value you bring—from setting your campaign strategy to executing individual tactics.
Don’t be worried if you don’t have a lot of money to do so, either: Though some communicators think that measuring their efforts are even tougher with a limited budget, Allman says it can be both a curse and a blessing. PR pros who show that they’ve boosted the bottom line can become an invaluable part of their organizations.
“Do not be afraid to show your worth,” Allman says.
3. Aim for content that does double duty.
The content you produce shouldn’t be a PR or marketing effort unto itself. Rather, it should support other campaigns and goals across your organization.
If content about your company or brand makes your audience think positively about you and makes your audience want to take action (for example, learn more about your business, buy your product, etc.), then it is helping to support your marketing efforts.
Allman also points out that earned media placements often are considered more valuable than paid media opportunities “because the third-party reporting by journalists provides unbiased information to the general public.” An outstanding piece of brand journalism can generate several headlines, giving you bigger bank for your content bucks.
Social media is another way your content can help with branding efforts, by increasing engagement and grabbing more eyeballs.
Stories from all kinds of news sources are easily proliferated to numerous audiences in astounding ways. Social media has turned the traditional media pyramid on its head. Similar to when the printing press came on the scene and information—from varying perspectives—was getting to mass audiences, social media has amplified that and then some. Those mass audiences can now also share those stories at a furious rate as well as share their thoughts about a story in real-time. In the same vein of sharing thoughts, we’ve also witnessed how comments on stories can often outweigh the impact of the story itself.
You can help strengthen social media content by embracing video.
“Video has made consumption of stories even easier and more entertaining,” Allman says. “Video adds that ‘seeing it is believing it’ component to a story and helps capture another level of awe and/or emotion.”
No matter how your content is supporting your other communications efforts, make sure it fits the goal, channel and audience.
“Please, do not force a consumer story on a business reporter or news outlet,” Allman says. “Do not simply take a press release headline and replicate that on social media. Be informed about how to craft your story for different news outlets or social media platforms.”
Learn more from Allman as well as other valuable takeaways brought to you by experts from Microsoft, FOCUS Brands, IBM and GE by registering for Ragan’s Content Summit for Corporate Communicators webcast. Join us us virtually April 25-27 to glean insights and boost your content skills.