Small business owners have an enormous amount on their plate.
I know from my own experience – I set up No Brainer just 21 months ago – that you quickly have to get to grips with a whole host of priorities you’d simply leave to others in the corporate world.
You need to be an accomplished accountant (or at least know one!).
If you’re taking people on, you need to be a HR specialist.
You can add legal eagle and tax whizz to that too.
And, just so you can actually create a business that makes money, you need to be a savvy business development manager. Or you need to understand and capitalise on the wealth of marketing channels at your disposal.
All whilst keeping the wheels on the bus.
Challenge traditional PR and marketing so you can revolutionise your business
If you have different agencies or in-house teams for marketing, PR, social, SEO or advertising, I’d challenge you to think differently.
Forget the need for a separate PR, social, marketing, SEO strategy and new business strategies…. Instead starting thinking BOSE – Bought, Owned, Shared and Earned (some examples below, see diagram for more).
When it comes to marketing and PR, nothing is like it used to be
The days when you relied on a third party – i.e. radio, local/national newspapers, trade mags and the like – to share your story or showcase your brand to the people you care about are well and truly over.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t – radio, TV, newspapers and magazines still carry huge marketing clout in the right circumstances!
But, newspaper circulations and newsroom staff numbers are dwindling and, as a result. journalists are relying on companies to share their stories more than ever. They’re hungry for interesting content to help them fill column inches or hit online readership targets – things like videos, animation, and photography.
You may also have noticed that we’re also now living in a new media reality (think Donald Trump on Twitter) – in fact it’s not new anymore! – where social media can quite literally shape the structure of our world.
As traditional media interest dips and consumers source more and more information online comes a wealth of opportunity for businesses, because you have the opportunity to BE the media as well.
Evian’s roller-skating babies, the Old Spice guy and Cadbury’s drum-playing Gorilla are just a few examples of YouTube megahits. This is content created by companies that is super sharable, highly engaging. It’s brand awareness on steroids. You might not have the budgets of these brands, but think smaller and the same principles apply.
You have the ability to tell your stories through all sorts of channels – online, email, social channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, E-newsletters – without the need for third party approval of your story’s news value.
Right now, you have the ability to communicate with the people you care about and sell them your brand or products, directly….with your message 100 per cent intact.
So, what do you do about it? You adapt.
People getting information – and buying stuff – from a range of media, both online and offline; magazines, newspapers, television, blogs and social. And therefore, businesses need to make sure that they are where their audience are – a No Brainer, right?
So, here’s how we do it and here’s how BOSE works.
If you think about your own campaigns, events, new products and services, new appointments, business wins – everything that has the power to be delivered to the audiences that matter to you as stories – you have the making of a content plan.
You may write a news release about each of these…
…but then why not go about finding ways to share them through engaging content? Think strong imagery, exclusive access for TV, radio and press targets, create engaging and audience-specific videos (backed by a bit of money, these can be amazingly successful in social!) or interactive infographics, super sharable games…the list quite literally goes on!
You can then re-purpose, re-use and push all this engaging content through your BOSE channels – or the ones that make sense – in an integrated way.
Focus on quality over quantity. And evaluate success. Online channels are really measurable – traffic, page reads, open rates, leads, sales uplift etc. Can you do that with a picture in the local newspaper?!
When you discover what works and what doesn’t, start doing more of the stuff that does work.
Traditional v modern approaches to PR
I’m not saying there’s no place for PR. The principles of good PR remain critically important to businesses both big and small.
Protecting reputations, increasing brand awareness and building positive relationships should be priorities for any CEO or Board – and I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of how doing this badly can make or break a company’s reputation.
With the soaring number of communications channels we’re also seeing the rise of a more sceptical consumer. Just this month, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed the largest ever drop in trust across organisations such as the government, business, media and NGOs.
Interestingly, trust in the media (43 per cent) has dropped rapidly and is at an all time low in 17 countries. However, online-only media (51 per cent) received the biggest bump in trust.
Ten years ago, if a customer had a negative experience with a company, they’d tell their friends and family. Pub talk. These days, with access to the likes of Trip Advisor, Reevoo, TrustPilot, Facebook, Glassdoor, Twitter, and the like…all that pub talk has moved online. And it can leave an indelible mark.
Consumers have the power to shape a brand or a company, and influence the decisions of thousands of potential customers – right at their fingertips!
But equally, you have the power to create positive perceptions, strong brand affinity, and drive smarter sales and consumer advocacy, if you get it right.
So think smart, think BOSE!
Constantly ask yourself questions like; What do my customers care about, would this story work as a blog post?, could I apply this to social? or could this story be transformed into video content? and you’ll see a much stronger return on your investment.
Shared media such as popular social media channels, vlogging (i.e. video blogs) and online networking are all free and easily accessible tools, and with them has come the chance for businesses and organisations to talk directly to their customers and prospects.
There’s no doubt, the digital revolution has transformed the way we communicate. But you can capitalise. Isn’t it time you told the world your story?
Gary Jenkins is owner and director of No Brainer.