How many days has it been since your last confession – I mean impression?
Seriously, to maintain high levels of impressions with your target audience takes persistence, organized effort, and a willingness to “put yourself out there” into the thicket of business conversations flowing through the Web’s information channels each day. To make your brand impressionable with prospective clients, you’ll need to apply pressure across four different areas simultaneously:
1. Blog Posts
Yes, there’s a strong correlation between frequency of publication and the achievement of online business goals. How strong this correlation will be is a function of your business’ competitive environment, the degree to which it’s dynamic – for example, technology or marcom, where each day brings a new and possibly disruptive announcement – and your own ability to publish high-quality content over time. What’s key here is having an editorial calendar (EC) to manage your content projects in one place. Some teams use Google Docs or Excel to track their assignments; others cloud-based platforms such as Glip or Basecamp.
If your blog is on WordPress, there are several excellent plug-ins that can embed an EC directly within the WordPress UI. While this kind of publishing is usually collaborative, you’ll still need to appoint someone on staff as the “blog boss,” otherwise known as the “editor,” who can crack heads when stories are late or need additional work. Don’t regard your EC as a straitjacket. Feel free to take it off whenever a hot newsworthy topic crops up. But there’s no better way to organize the steady production of blog content than with an EC.
2. Social Media
Social media influencers know that “more is better,” on Facebook and Twitter, and my own team’s studies of influencer behavior have pegged the social posting frequency of the average influencer at a fast 14.5 Twitter posts per day. While “more is better” is generally true, don’t make the mistake of doing what singer James Brown warned us all about: “talking loud and saying nothing.” Try to keep a healthy balance between serious information that’s relevant to your audience, and tweets or Facebook posts that are on the frivolous side.
Don’t overlook social network services frequented by business users seeking answers to pressing questions, such as Quora or LinkedIn Groups. By the way, be careful with automation – while pre-scheduling tools such as HootSuite provide convenience, there’s some anecdotal evidence that shows posting manually is better-accepted by the algorithms of certain social networks.
Public relations is a tough one. So you hired a new executive or moved opened a new office: big deal. Such internal happenings aren’t ordinarily worthy of a press release. But if someone on your staff is presenting to a conference with name recognition, has published a research paper, made a high-profile media appearance, or is otherwise making waves in “the real world,” push it out as a release. I’m a big fan of data; if you’ve developed any original quantitative findings – for example, by analyzing the online properties of competitors in your vertical or by conducting other original research – by all means use it as the core of a news release. Never issue a news release that doesn’t have any news in it!
4. Sales Outreach
Do you often think of vendors in your free mental moments? I didn’t think so. You must remind your prospects – in a subtle, non-intrusive, but persistent way – that you’re there for them if (hopefully, when) they decide to upgrade from their current solutions provider. Sponsoring a series of webinars is a good way to do this. Here, you can brand yourself without hitting participants over the head with your messaging. If you’re reaching out to prospects one-on-one, don’t send them a pitch: show them some real data they can use. Using diagnostic reports in the sales process is a sure way to distinguish yourself from competitors who haven’t done their homework. Each outreach action you take must be informed, personalized, and have value in its own right.
5. Internal Newsletters
Make sure you add value to the reader when you mail your email newsletters. You work hard accumulating subscribers. Don’t let a boring newsletter result in unsubscriptions. Re-purpose content when appropriate, but also feel free to reference content that others might have created. Content curation is an important part of the mix.
Keep the pressure on. Unrelentingly. Remember, the road to visibility and better brand recognition is a marathon run, not a sprint. If you’re organized, persistent, have something meaningful to say and a willingness to listen to others seeking solutions, you’ll win the contest.
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