Posts Tagged ‘corporate storytelling’


Five Tips for a Strong Start in 2014

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Five Tips for a Strong Start to 2014 - Goals and resolutions - Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNow that 2013 has almost ended, it’s time to kick your professional resolutions into high gear. We don’t know what will come in 2014 but today we share a few goals that will keep you ahead of the pack. (For some personal goals that pack a big professional impact, check out this month’s newsletter.)

Find and tell your corporate story: One of the hottest PR topics this year has been content marketing, and that’s not expected to change in 2014. Effective content marketing requires a savvy strategy, and part of executing that strategy is telling your corporate story. Not only should all content reflect your organization’s brand values and voice, but it should also have universal appeal that also supports business growth.

How do you find your corporation’s story? It’s not really about the organization itself, it’s about using a certain platform to relate to your audience. Use resources to dig a bit deeper into the company’s history, its mission statement, and its values. Use those values and stories as pivot points to engage with your community and spread ideals and positive, consistent messaging.

Say “No” to GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Your end product is inherently tied to what you put into the project, especially your time, your energy, your content. GIGO isn’t a solution; it’s usually a last resort or a byproduct of time or money spread too thin. GIGO comes with a lot of pitfalls, like incomplete data, misleading results, poor performance, unmet goals, and having to go back and fix or re-do work you’ve already done. Assessing where your GIGO is and deciding how to fix it can be a huge upfront investment of time and resources, but it ultimately pays off in greater, long-lasting rewards. We’ll be talking a lot more about getting rid of GIGO in 2014, but for now check out this newsletter and our Seussian poem on GIGO.

Keep your goals SMART: Setting SMART goals keeps you focused and give you direction, as well as ensuring that the goal you’re setting is both measurable and achievable. SMART goals must be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. So no matter what you’re plotting – content market strategy, sales goals, or social media tactics – remember that SMART goals are achievable goals.

Keep your social media consistent: We know that in a digital, instantaneous world, updating consistently and often is paramount to staying relevant. But it’s also important to keep your organization’s digital voice consistent to maximize your brand’s impact and recognition. If more than one person runs or has access to your organization’s social media accounts, bring them together for an early 2014 meeting to refine the corporate voice and get everyone on the same page.

Similarly, ensure that someone’s consistently monitoring those social media accounts to check for comments or mentions and respond to any questions, shout-outs, or complaints. Users expect a response from a brand within an hour, especially if it’s regarding a complaint, so stay connected, and don’t forget to engage, even with a simple “Thanks for the RT.”

Think about SEO in a whole new way: SEO isn’t about keywords anymore, it’s all about semantics. Google’s Hummingbird update is changing the way the search engine displays search results. Now, it’s about content quality, not just keyword quantity and link building. Build your new SEO strategy along with your content marketing strategy, as the two will now go hand in hand. And don’t neglect Google Plus – while this seems like it should be part of a social media strategy rather than an SEO strategy, Google Plus will become integral in search engine rankings. Check out our post on integrating Google Plus into your SEO strategy for more tips.

For more SEO tips, read our newsletter about SEO strategy and our recently-updated SEO tip sheet with an SEO checklist.

Break Through the Content Surplus by Turning Your Brand Into a Media Company

Monday, December 16th, 2013
Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

In his new book, Your Brand, The Next Media Company, social business strategist and author Michael Brito discusses the social business transformation that’s taking place (and much more).

I’ve followed Michael (aka @Britopian) and virtually interacted with him for a couple years and but had not met him in real life—that is, until Social:IRL brought him to St. Louis to present “How A Social Business Strategy Can Enable Better Content, Smarter Marketing And Deeper Customer Relationships.”

The book just arrived and I haven’t yet had a chance to read it, but below are just a few snippets from his presentation.

Brito began with the five truths that are shaping today’s digital ecosystem:

  • There is a content and media surplus.
  • There is an attention deficit.
  • The customer journey is dynamic.
  • Consumers have tunnel vision.
  • Everyone is influential (regardless of your Klout, PeerIndex, Kred scores).

To top it off, with all this chaos, business objectives remain constant. This means YOU have to change, and Brito suggests you and your organization start to think and act like a media company.  Change makes sense, but why a media company? What is a media company anyway?

According to Brito, your brand must adopt these five characteristics if you want to break through the clutter.

  • Storytelling: Media companies tell stories. Traditional news organizations also tell stories but theirs are typically recent and breaking news. Your brand as a media company will have to decide what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.
  • Content: Media companies are content machines with an “always on” mentality.
  • Relevance: Media companies provide content that is relevant to those who are seeking information at a very specific moment in time.
  • Ubiquity: Media companies are omnipresent. They dominate search engine results and their content is shared daily across various social channels.
  • Agility: Media companies are nimble and able to move quickly. They have writers on-hand ready to produce content on any topic at any time, as well as creative teams capable of producing visual content on-demand. They are not captives to brand team or legal counsel approvals.

Brito goes beyond the “why” and details the “how to:”

  • Build a team.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities.
  • Define your brand narrative.
  • Create channel strategy.
  • Establish the content supply chain.
  • Build real-time capabilities.
  • Integrate converged media models.
  • Invest in the right technology.

He discussed his definition of a social business strategy, the pillars of the social business transformation, using social business framework to enable positive outcomes, and more.  I have several pages of notes from his presentation and will provide some additional takeaways in my next post but a couple of blog posts cannot summarize 247 pages of integrated marketing brilliance as well as multiple case studies from brand leaders worldwide!

Do you agree that brands must become, or are already transforming into, media companies? Is your brand (or client) moving in this direction?

Content and Corporate Storytelling: Lessons From Coca-Cola Part 2

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Flickr User ReillyButler

Flickr User ReillyButler

Mapping the new territory of content marketing is an exciting challenge, and at this year’s PRSA International Conference, Mallory Perkins, social media analyst at Coca-Cola, shared how she and her team launched Coca-Cola Journey. In yesterday’s post we looked at the goals for the site and Coca-Cola’s approach. Today, we share Coca-Cola’s tips for crafting a great story.

Coca-Cola’s analytics showed that their consumers love stories about food, innovation, careers, and feel-good topics, so a bulk of the content is geared to one of those topics. Perkins and her team also answer a set of five questions when considering topics for stories, before the stories are written:

  • Does it answer the “Why should I care?” test? Think about what the story’s interesting nugget is, and picture whether you would actually pick up the phone and tell someone about this story if you read it.
  • Does it surprise? When you’re gathering content for the story, think about it as a person, not as an employee. Whatever it is that you react to is what’s worth pulling out and highlighting.
  • Does it reflect the company’s brand values and voice? Your content could be just one photo, or a song, or a video, not necessarily an entire story, that needs to come back to the brand values and the brand’s voice.
  • Is it compelling with universal appeal? What’s the heart of the story and what kind of insight does it offer? Perkins says that the best stories tend to be the ones in which the reader leaves knowing something they didn’t know before.
  • Is it being measured systematically? You must have a way to track your story’s performance and determine whether it was worth the time and whether you should create more content on a similar topic.

One question asked during the session was why Coca-Cola is creating all this content if it’s not about their products. Perkins pointed out that in fact, about 70 percent of all the content on the site relates to Coca-Cola in some way, in reflecting the brand’s values, promoting one of their campaigns, responding to media criticism, and sending out more narrative press releases for smaller promotions.

It all comes down to continuing to engage and connect with their audience and consumers, and it’s working. In the first year, the site has received 30.3 million page views, over 9,000 comments, and has expanded to international sites in five other countries. The company has seen an annual growth of 166 percent on Twitter, 190 percent on LinkedIn, 157 percent on Google Plus, and an 89 percent on YouTube.

Would you like to see your organization create more user-engagement-oriented content? How does your organization already work to engage users through content?

Content and Corporate Storytelling: Lessons From Coca-Cola Part 1

Monday, November 4th, 2013
By Flickr user Bev Goodwin

By Flickr user Bev Goodwin

In the dawning age of content marketing, it’s up to PR professionals to make that content work for them, but leveraging that content and making it work for your organization is an unmapped challenge.  At last month’s PRSA International Conference, Mallory Perkins, a social media analyst at Coca-Cola, shared how she and her team launched Coca-Cola Journey, the organization’s content blog, grew a massive following and created an online community.

Coca-Cola Journey launched in November, 2012, as Coca-Cola’s response to the recent heavy shift in communications. The organization realized that digital consumers are strong influencers with the ability to respond, shape, and take part in conversations with companies and the products they value, using tools like social media, video, and online forums. Coca-Cola seized the opportunity for consumers and companies to have one-on-one conversations in a meaningful way, which Perkins stressed was key to earning relevance and success in business and digital arenas.

Coca-Cola Journey was launched with several goals in mind: to be a hub for the company’s content; to share stories and connect with consumers; to provoke, inspire, and engage the Coca-Cola community; to prompt action of some kind, and to cultivate a deeper level of brand loyalty, ultimately supporting business growth.

The site was imagined not as a website or blog, but as an e-magazine. Its goal was to be the digital heart and soul of the company, and reflect in each story the brand’s values. Stories are targeted to be consumer-facing stories with a “behind-the-bottle feel.”

The key behind the site’s success? Great content, says Perkins. Coca-Cola created an internal editorial team and a group of freelancers solely focused on creating original stories. How does one create great content? Start by knowing your audience. Coca-Cola prioritized their audience thusly: existing consumers and fans, potential customers, investors, partners, media, and critics.

“Make sure your content captures the essence of your brand,” advises Perkins, and ensure the type of content you create and how you communicate with your audience varies with company values and different product lines. The reason for Coca-Cola Journey’s launch was to engage with consumers and target content to what the data shows they like. Investors and media are still important audiences to consider, so ensure they have the information they need, but craft a separate section for their content that’s easily accessible.

Check back tomorrow for the guidelines Perkins and her team folloow to ensure they’re crafting the most relevant, reader- and brand-friendly content.