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How to Take Advantage of a Changing Media Landscape
Research shows companies that are aggressive with their marketing efforts during a stalled economy perform better in the short and long term. Strategic marketing in a recession can increase your company’s visibility, strengthen a brand’s image and attract new sales leads.
Standing out from the competition during the media’s migration to the Web should be done with precision and seamless execution. An experienced PR firm is equipped to increase an organization’s visibility by taking swift and strategic action in an evolving media sphere.
Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter allow for several new PR opportunities centralized on building relationships with large customer bases around specific brands. This is done through transparent communication and collaboration. To effectively utilize these types of social media sites, it is important to remember that your communication needs to be authentic and that listening to your base is crucial when effectively harnessing these platforms.
Audiences today are changing; they do more than read articles and view stories. Instead, they blog, comment on and link to information and repurpose it through online communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook and Twitter attracted a combined audience of 120 million visitors in December 2009. Add to the mix other social networking platforms such as Flickr and Digg, and you may find yourself overwhelmed. The key to using social media for business is to target social media sites that your audience is using or is most likely to accept.
The popularity of social networking via sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook continues its meteoric rise. This type of networking grants a company the ability to constantly see and be seen by potential customers. New contacts can be made and information exchanged through growing networks. Research firm Forrester found that among adult Web users in 2008, those reached by social media increased from 56% to 75%. With social networking, a company can immediately post news about events, such as a new product unveiling or a seminar. Customers and prospects can even be invited in real time to visit a booth as they walk through a tradeshow.
Social media sites allow you to listen to what is being said about your products or services. Use social media to connect with customers in innovative and useful ways. Offer assistance to customers in real time on Twitter or post appealing and unique applications of your products on Facebook. To attract sales leads, offer content to your targeted audiences to share with their peers and increase your brand’s visibility.
When times are tough and the budget is tight, turn to your expertise to enhance your marketing efforts. Take your knowledge and experiences from past projects and transform them into a resource for prospective customers. Create white papers, webinars and case studies that can attract potential clients. When the economy strengthens, you will have positioned your company as an industry expert.
With stimulating content, Internet users see the benefits of a company and its products and services. Whether it is a press release posted to a website, an update to a company’s “About Us” page, product demonstration video, daily blog post or eNewsletter, content needs to be engaging to get results. eNewsletters also are a great way to engage prospects and customers. They can drive traffic to your website, accelerate brand awareness and trigger action.
In 2009, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 32% of adults read blogs, while a JupiterResearch survey found that 50% of online consumers find blogs useful for purchase information. Publish your expertise and knowledge with an expert blog. Like e-mail newsletters, blogs are a supremely effective way to keep in touch with customers, suppliers and distributors. They also enhance brand credibility and build excitement. The capacity for readers to comment on blog posts fosters meaningful and open two-way communication. While the frequency of blogging can vary from a couple of times a day to a few times a week, it is a forum that allows dynamic information sharing on industry happenings, tradeshows and important articles.
The more high-quality content an organization generates, the more likely it is to be listed in critical top search engine results. It also is more likely to be referred by those writing subsequent articles or posts or forwarding the content.
In 2009, the top 50 news sites saw a 27% increase of unique monthly visitors from the year before, according to an annual report on American journalism. Media outlets create massive amounts of online content to meet a demand for more interactive user experiences. For example, the DIY Network has incorporated visitor-controlled projects, as seen in the DIY Blog Cabin, where visitors vote, watch and participate in the creation of a one-of-a-kind log cabin. The 2009 DIY Blog Cabin garnered more than 3.8 million online votes from choosing the floor plan to selecting which stone veneer to incorporate in its design.
Research by Deloitte found that businesses with an online community saw a 35% increase in “word-of-mouth” recognition for their brands. Interest-generating components can include poll questions and photo galleries featuring products in use or images from tradeshow events. Actionable user feedback is a key benefit, along with improved visibility.
It is not just established media who are taking to the blogosphere. With free blog publishing websites, consumers are taking to the Web in massive numbers. They link, comment, share information and repurpose it for their peers. Blogs are beneficial because they attract specific segments of audiences. This makes it easier for an organization’s communication on products, services and innovations to reach them. Actively engaging popular blogs that cater to a specific interest allows the organization to position itself as a leader in the industry.
Pressure to reduce budgets and maintain the status quo in tumultuous financial times may lead marketers to view advertising and public relations investments as a luxury. Work with an experienced agency familiar with these techniques to come out of the tough times with greater market share and a stronger, more efficient business-building strategy.