I was talking to a colleague yesterday about a business start up she had taken from nothing to great success using very little budget and a communications strategy based on content and social marketing. As we chatted I noted there were clear themes in the strategy and was inspired enough by the story to share these themes with you.
If you are trying to communicate a message to an audience or looking to improve your digital communications or content marketing then read on..
Have an agenda
People are bombarded with different messages every day, social media has resulted in humans now having a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
Cut through the noise!
Say something different, not just to be shocking or in a cynical attempt to win Twitter followers but to provide innovative narrative, opinion or comment – this may be embedded in a product or service you provide but you are not inherently talking about the product. Talking about the product is dull – no one wants to read about baked beans but lots of people love reading about how to cook cheap and tasty meals for their families.
Differentiate with an agenda that says something different and captures people’s imagination
Be brutally honest
Be brutally honest with yourself and your audiences, or they will smell a rat! OK, I’m not suggesting you should ‘cross the line’ or offend people but brutal honesty in an appropriate form will win respect and build credibility with your audience.
This is where the challenger start up can take on the multinational – David and Goliath. The bootstrap startup doesn’t have to worry about stakeholders, upsetting people or packaging up messages into anodyne PR packs with flashy graphics but little substance. Use that freedom, it is one of your greatest competitive weapons.
Stick to your guns. Don’t trade in your credibility as an information source for a gain that seems important in the short term. With hindsight you will see that it wasn’t worth it and you will regret it.
Stick to your agenda even when the easiest path is to change your agenda rather than challenge everyone else’s position.
Build a network
Build a network of people who will be interested in what you have to say and who you can start a dialogue with. There are a multitude of social media tools and apps that can help you do this, try to focus on key decision makers, influencers and thought leaders who will help you spread your message to their large networks of contacts.
Reach the people not their administration assistants and PAs, this is where social has been a game changer. You can now have direct dialogue and capture their interest, you will never be able to do this unless you get past a gate keeper. Don’t forget that a more recent barrier to reaching your key audience members is marketing automation, don’t expect a response from an automated reply.
If there is an opportunity to communicate your message then seize it, digital communications can be very instant so make the most of it. Scan the environment constantly to track changes which will relate to your agenda and your message. This may come in the form of a statement or announcement from an established source of communication which you take the opportunity to challenge (e.g. a government announcement or company press release) or a photo opportunity with a celebrity or at a demonstration. Remember though, be credible and on topic.
I hope these themes make you think too and help you say something new and interesting today.