By: Jacob Rocha
This conference was an opportunity to exercise my mind and observe everything around me — from the way that my roommate arranged his padfolio to the distribution strategies used in each speaker’s latest PR campaign. It was a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so many people who have a thirst for learning, each willing to contribute their own ideas to a greater common knowledge. Although I could fill a novel with the wealth of material I took back home from Boston, I’ve pinpointed a couple prominent practices to add to my daily PR regimen.
Always Be Watching
Much like you can’t expect to get results from the occasional half-hearted workout, you can’t expect to create good content if you’re not constantly observing good content. Not only is it important be aware of successes, but it’s also important to see what’s current. What’s trending on Twitter? What’s the latest hashtag holiday? What’s the most watched promo video on Facebook today, and how does the message relate to the organization?
According to Ian Cohen, global executive producer and president of content creation and innovation at Weber Shandwick, one of the most important principles for branded content success is to “make a news cycle.” And today, news is moving 24 hours a day. Observe the trends of the day, create a story with quality content based on those trends, distribute it to the appropriate outlets and repeat.
Quality Over Quantity
We’ve all seen it — the person at the gym that does four sets of 20 terribly executed repetitions on just about every machine in the building. And for some reason, they can’t notice a difference from the week before. Similarly, we all have at least one friend that blows up our feed on every social media platform. They go to a concert and record every song on their Instagram story. They post a photo of every meal as if we’re concerned about their diet. Every time I see this, the “unfollow” button seems to beckon the touch of my fingertip.
Nobody wants to see a million posts a day from the same person, company or even nonprofit. It’s overwhelming, mundane and unappealing. Instead, focus on appealing to emotion, and create thoughtful, less frequent content based on analytic review and creative storytelling.
Furthermore, keep in mind the 80/20 rule: only 20 percent of your posts should deal with your brand, while the other 80 percent should be interesting, shareable content that deals with your audience. Don’t advertise to your audience — create a conversation instead. In the words of Morgan Spurlock, “once you make it sound like a promotion, you’ve lost your audience.”
PR in the digital age is evolving at an ever-increasing rate. That’s why it’s important to come together to discuss new issues, exchange ideas and process new information with an open mind. But more importantly, we need to keep the momentum going from these meetings by implementing what we’ve learned into our daily agenda. Practice makes perfect and solid execution of proven techniques is the only way to bring out the best of your abilities.