Zoetic Agency’s Trevor Young and Dionne Lew chat about the power of micro-content when published with strategic intent.
They explain the breadth of micro-content, providing numerous examples of the many and varied formats that brands can use today.
Plus they discuss how micro-content can support – and add value to – an organisation’s longer form content efforts. Brands mentioned include Lockheed Martin, NASA, GE and Alliance Française de Melbourne.
Critically, according to Dionne and Trevor, micro-content that’s short, stackable, shareable and strategic can, when published consistently over time, help build upon an organsation’s public-facing narrative.
The ongoing disruption of traditional media continues to wreak havoc on the marketing industry.
The reach of traditional media has diminished in the wake of the ongoing explosion of online channels and with it, the emergence of literally millions of professional and amateur micro-publishers, thus splintering people’s attention into a thousand different directions.
At the same time, consumers have increasingly taken to avoiding advertising with gusto, employing digital ad blockers and/or recording TV shows and movies via PVR and skipping through the commercials. Apparently we’re 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad!
I’m not going to sugarcoat things. If you’re in the communications business, it’s seriously tough out there!
That being the case, and if people are not seeing ads or being influenced by advertising like they once were, as communicators, what do we do? Well, we need to think smarter for starters.
That’s when a strategic content-driven PR comes into play. Done well, it will do the communications ‘heavy lifting’ for your brand over the long term.
A savvy content-first program that integrates owned, earned and social media will work organically for your organisation day in and day out, all year round, keeping your brand top of mind with the people who matter most to the success of your business, cause or issue. Ongoing PR activity can fill the gaps in between intermittent paid-for advertising campaigns as well as build a solid base from which to make your advertising and promotional activities work harder.
While this is particularly true today as the PR footprint extends into owned and social media, in reality it has always been the case, going back decades to a time when public relations practitioners placed greater emphasis on generating ‘column inches’ than they do today.
Looked at from another angle, while traditional media publicity has always been a great way to expose a brand to new audiences, it also serves another purpose that most people don’t talk about, and that is to ‘massage’ the marketplace in advance of paid-for advertising. In other words, piquing people’s interest in, building genuine word-of-mouth discussion around, and enhancing credibility of a cause, issue, product or service.
CASE IN POINT: Volkswagen
One of the most famous campaigns in the history of advertising was Volkswagen’s Think Small, which was written and produced by the ad agency DDB back in 1959. This campaign was lauded by the industry as a massive success – and it was, by all reports – but it’s important to scratch a bit beneath the surface. As marketing authors Al Ries and Laura Ries note in their 2002 book The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR, Volkswagen arrived in the US in 1949 and over the next decade generated positive stories in the media.
By 1959 Volkswagen was already success, having sold 120,000+ vehicles representing 20 per cent of the US imported car market.
As powerful as DDB’s advertising was, Ries and Ries write, it still needed the exposure and credibility created by the editorial coverage. In other words, earned media can have a huge impact on a brand’s visibility, credibility and influence in the marketplace.
But here’s the kicker – we now don’t have to rely solely on generating editorial exposure in third-party media outlets to gain visibility. The ‘one-two punch’ of owned and social media can play a mighty role here, making earned media valuable ‘cream on the top’.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a government agency with a remit to change people’s behaviour around a particular issue, a nonprofit organisation that activates donation drives several times a year, or a B2B or consumer company looking to build their brand as well as sales – if you’re relying just on interruptive advertising and promotional campaigns to do the job for you, there’s every chance you’re going to be underwhelmed with the results.
However, if you create what we at Zoetic Agency call strategic omnipresence, then you’re more likely to build a positive ongoing connection with your audience and thus pave the way for your advertising down the track by ‘pre-exposing’ people to your brand story and message.
Think of strategic omnipresence as laying the foundations for your organisation’s marketing communications. It’s when you’re recognised and respected in the community for who you are, and what you do and stand for. This is mission critical from a reputational perspective.
If you’re not on the public’s radar in the first instance, if you’re not building a positive human connection with people ongoing, if you’re not serving your audience by showing up consistently and providing useful, interesting and relevant content, then you run the risk of lagging behind and we know that can make life pretty tough in a world where infinite choice beckons at the touch of a smartphone.
This is not a knock on clever advertising and promotional activity, by the way. It’s just reality.
In today’s noisy social age, marketers, communicators, business and community leaders need to employ smart and cost-effective ways to build their brands and their businesses.
We think the best way is to build strategic omnipresence in the marketplace or community in which you operate as it will make your advertising campaigns work harder. But be aware it needs to be built in advance of campaign activity, and it is a longer term proposition. That said, strategic omnipresence will work for your organisation 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Now that’s what we call hard-working communications!
FACEBOOK LIVE: Recorded Friday, May 19
Fresh from chairing a one-day government and social media conference plus running a half-day workshop for participants, Dionne Lew chats with Trevor Young about the challenges and opportunities for government communications teams when it comes to social media.
What became apparent very quickly to Dionne during the conference were the challenges government PR and comms people faced in using social media, specifically governance and crisis management.
Strong governance is vital for governments as they have to be highly sensitive to how they spend public money.
What governance is involved on social platforms? Tight policies are important in regulating spokespersons of an organisation.
The culture and leaders will generally dictate how social media is used.
Who is in charge of social media in governments? Tends to be corporate affairs representatives reporting to executive teams.
Government organisations continue to question the necessity and the relevance of social media.
A social media crisis is not well understood from a social media perspective and knowing the correct hashtags to use is essential.
What opportunities exist in government social media? Micro-content should be utilised and focus should stem away from broadcast. Real time communication is effective in creating a humanised experience. It is fast, easy and generally free.
FACEBOOK LIVE: Recorded Friday, May 12
FACEBOOK LIVE: Recorded Friday, May 5
FACEBOOK LIVE: Recorded Friday, April 28
In this episode Trevor Young and Dionne Lew explain why they set up a content-driven public communications firm, Zoetic Agency, and provide a glimpse into where they see the world of PR heading.
They discuss why they have placed social and content at the heart of their new agency rather than bolting them on as ‘nice-to-haves’, plus explain why client training and education is a key part of their business.
Trevor and Dionne chat about the roadblocks for brands in creating content. Many businesses struggle with a lack of time, producing bulk content is one way to address this.
They also discuss the power of live broadcasting in humanising organisations. Indeed, this episode of PR Leads was live streamed through Facebook and will continue to be so.
Too often businesses publish hackneyed content that looks similar to everyone else’s. It is important to use an organisation’s people to share ideas and insights and tell personal stories that are unique.
Social media strategist Sally Falkow recently published an infographic entitled ‘15 Digital Skills for PR and Marketing’.
In this episode of PR Leads – part 2 of a conversation on this topic – Trevor Young and Dionne Lew discuss the remaining nine of Sally’s list of skills, digging in with some detail as to why these new skill-sets are important for PR professionals, and in doing so provide context and examples from the trenches of modern public relations practice.
The nine remaining sigital skill-sets are:
- Social advertising
- Influencer Relationships
- Media Analysis
- Digital Media Relations
- Basic Coding
- Google Analytics
- Digital Dashboard
- Report ROI