Out With the Old, In With the News
More Than a News Release
The news release is still a primary vehicle and validator needed to engage with the media when announcing the news. But in 2020, communicators need to be thinking about the news release as just one element in a vast communication toolkit. What else do you need?
Video — Take the time to create a brief video that shows your news and doesn’t just tell it. Announcing a new hire? Create a quick Q&A video. Got a new product? Do an unboxing video or a quick demo of how the product really works.
Blog Post — A blog post lets you say in a more conversational way what you want to highlight in your announcement. Make sure the author maps to the messaging you want to deliver, as well as the audience you are trying to reach. If it’s a funding announcement, maybe your CFO writes a post detailing how the investment is going to drive growth and expansion for the business.
Photos/Graphics — This seems basic but it’s surprising how often releases go out without any kind of visual included. Headshots are a must if you are announcing a new hire or even funding news. Or maybe you want to create an infographic that shows how your product tangibly makes an impact on the market or the category.
Audio — The podcast trend continues to grow, especially in the B2B space. Consider creating audio teasers to land an interview with top podcasters and radio programs.
Whatever format you choose, a steady stream of additional content assets can be repurposed to engage your audiences directly so that your news story spreads quicker, wider, and lives longer in the communities that matter most to your business.
Go Beyond Media Directly to Audiences
How do communication professionals build and sustain mindshare long after the news story lands in the media? Audiences are shareholders of your story and can be your greatest champions. Like any stakeholder, they have the ability to give your story more value. It’s important to know where, when, and how audiences engage with their networks. This directly informs how you shape your content assets, where you share them, and how you inspire audiences to take action to further build brand awareness, engagement, and retention. Here are a few things to think about when gathering information about your audience.
Expand Your Audience — Look beyond the audiences who visit your websites and follow your brand social media profiles. Yes, it’s important to understand your base or core supporters, but it’s equally important to think about how you get that audience to help you attract and engage new supporters. You especially need to do this if you have a new social media profile, inactive accounts, a low number of followers, or low engagement.
Go Where Your Audience Goes — Know your audiences’ key sources of information and see if there are ways for you to contribute to those sources.
Engage Influencers — Identify the top 10–20 influencers your audiences care about and dig through their social channels so you really understand and can leverage the sources of inspiration they use to engage audiences.
Track Trends — Be ready to respond to what is happening NOW. Tap into conversations most important to your audiences.
Start Collecting Data — One trend worth paying attention to is data storytelling. Every communication professional needs to know how to collect, analyze, and identify insights from data to inform content creation, audience engagement, and campaign tracking and measurement, and more. While there are plenty of tools to help gather data, you only get out of it what you put into it.
By gathering the right data, you can create a comprehensive profile of your ideal customer’s needs, wants, behaviors, and influencers. You can also capture data to evaluate where these customers go — beyond your own brand channels — to help you fill the gaps with engaging stories between media announcements. Here’s an example profile:
Knowing your audiences and the channels where they source information will help you focus your outreach. You will be able to earn placement with the business, tech, and vertical influencers on social media, podcasts, and the online communities your audiences’ visit most.
Your Secret Weapon: The Internal Network
You’ve made your announcement and landed your story in all the right media outlets. You created a pipeline of supporting content assets and identified where to promote that content so that it gets in front of your audiences. Now you may be wondering how you can keep up with the speed of every newsfeed?
Every employee, from product development to accounting, has a role in communicating on behalf of the brand. As a result, companies are encouraging employees to engage their networks on behalf of the brand to:
Increase content reach and access new audiences through employee networks
Improve staff retention by helping staff to develop and build their personal brands
Create their own online content to increase awareness and drive consideration in the marketplace
Connect employees with external industry influencers to increase engagement and influence in the marketplace offline and online
In 2020, you can stand out in a news-saturated world if you consider investing in content assets that complement your news release, work on engaging audiences directly, and start activating your brand’s executives, employees, and even customers to build a deeper relationship with audiences.