Quality content on social media

Jokes about PR have always been around since I started in the industry years ago, whether it was a quick gag about a vol au vent on a silver tray or a TV series called Absolutely Fabulous. But anyone who has actually worked in the PR industry over the last few years will know that there has always been so much more to this marketing discipline than just holding a hospitality event or entertaining journalists with canapés and champagne.

In actual fact PR has always been about identifying your client’s key target audiences, and then delivering agreed and strategic messages and editorial content to the media and other channels that would reach and influence them the most.

Traditionally this would include everything from TV and radio through to nationals and regional newspapers and lifestyle magazines and trade publications. Direct engagement with key decision makers was also a core part of any programme with events from launch events and seminars and conferences being held to enable clients to engage in a direct dialogue with VIPs, from buyers to trade bodies and community groups.

Across all this activity the challenge was always to communicate the client’s messages in a convincing and high impact way, to create interest with the target groups and of course deliver branded editorial coverage as well.

When you look at today’s social media marketing challenges for businesses it is no surprise that PR professionals have stepped effortlessly into running social media programmes along with their standard PR activity, developing messages and content for clients which are then communicated to social media platforms and traditional media simultaneously.

After the initial rush a few years ago when many companies posted up any available content, most of us now realise that to make any sort of impact online or “sticky” engagement with target audiences, you need to invest in relevant, quality and topical content. PR professionals have been doing this for many years and so are supremely qualified to carry this out. They are adept at taking a company’s industry data, turn it into a topical industry report to generate media coverage and online shares or identifying a key topic that is trending, develop some commentary angles so their client is then interviewed as a leading expert in the field. They can take clients on a communications journey through the social media jungle of today, by developing relevant messages and content and then launching this to all the relevant channels, from traditional media outlets to social media platforms.

This is why I believe that the term Public Relations has never actually been more meaningful. Whatever part of the “public” a business is now trying to reach, the key is to communicate to these audiences with good targeted messaging and insightful thought leadership content to generate good “relations”.

If you would like an initial discussion about your social media and PR requirements, please email or expert content team at info@westgatecomms.com

Hero content

We all know that there is a constant challenge for businesses and organisations nowadays to stay ahead in the content race. Generating and posting quality content to maximise the online profile and meet commercial objectives has never been more vital.

But all too often, in the rush, to post information online, messages can become confused, even conflicting, and the quality of this content can then be compromised so that the desired business messages become blurred, not resonating as strongly with the target audience in question.

But how can businesses avoid this pitfall?

This is where the benefits of generating “hero content” come in. Hero content essentially is newly published information, usually focusing on market issues, trends and developments with expert insight and practical advice on how to overcome specific challenges or drive value. To give some examples, we have produced a range of reports for clients recently, on topics as diverse as 'harnessing the true value of eCommerce’ to the impact of digital disruption on the C-suite. Used in the right way, this content can become the focal point of all marketing communications activity, delivering impact on value across the business year.

Usually this kind of content is published within the structure of a white paper or an industry report. It does require an upfront investment of time and planning, but the short and long-term benefits of publishing this quality material online will be extensive, generating online exposure and direct engagement with potential customers.

Planning is absolutely key. Before commissioning any new research or correlating any industry information, it is also important to ensure that there are top copywriters on hand to present this new content in the most compelling way. It is also important that the conclusions and arguments of this new content strongly correlate with the challenges your customers are facing, and that you can provide fresh and innovative advice and insight into how your services and approach can help clients overcome these issues.

This hero content can then form the basis of your quarterly content focus. It can be disseminated across a range of channels, from publishing a series of blogs, opinion pieces and LinkedIn articles to hosting webinars, speaking at conferences and launching the findings with a press release to target business media.

So if you are developing a marketing communications programme for your business or organisation, make sure that hero content is near the top of your “to do” list. It really is the secret ingredient to standing out from the online crowd.

If you are interested in an initial free consultation or communications audit looking at generating hero content for your business or organisation with the expert content team here at Westgate, please get in touch – we would be delighted to talk to you.

Graphic Design graduates

As the latest crop of design students leave uni this summer, they are clearly very keen to land themselves their first job in a creative design agency. The good ones will develop their own personal brand and create a campaign for themselves in a clever and creative way to get through the agency door.

To do this they will have prepared a strong portfolio featuring their very best work – six projects is maximum. Starting with their best piece, ending with their second best project and hopefully with a great project in the middle. They will be professional, open and willing to learn and work in a team, but what will give them the edge to beat off the competition and land themselves their first job in design?

Westgate work with a diverse range of global clients in professional services, we have a big appetite for creating impactful design on and offline that engages with our clients key audiences, communicating their commercial messages in the most creative and effective way.

Our clients look to us to provide them with a diverse range of creative design which includes:
- Positioning and messaging
- Logo design and brand identity
- Web design – websites, microsite and online tools
- Video design and production
- Literature design
- Event and exhibition design

The designers that come to work with us must be able to work creatively and effectively across all these different mediums.

The Westgate design studio is a dynamic, busy environment and our design team work across lots of different design disciplines – we can be asked to design a logo and brand identity, develop a storyboard for a video, produce a website design and UX experience, or design and layout a range of brochures. This creates a challenging environment where designers need to be able to apply their creative talent to deliver different solutions. This environment is incredibly rewarding as designers can apply their creative skills in lots of different ways.

When we look to recruit graduates to join the team we are looking for designers who are creative, intelligent with a real willingness to use their talent in many different ways. Ideally, we like to see evidence of a wide range of design disciplines in a portfolio, but this is not vital. However, we do need to be convinced that a designer has the talent and skill to turn their hand to a wide range of disciplines.

If you believe you have the talent, drive, enthusiasm and commitment to be start your career in design we would love to hear from you.

Happy job hunting!

Social Media platforms for business

Worldwide, billions of people engage with some form of social media. Whether it is for personal or commercial use, social media platforms are a great tool to encourage interaction and engagement.

With such a wide reach, these platforms offer endless opportunities for businesses, however when promoting your business online, misconceptions of each platform can result in disengagement. Since there are many different aspects to social media, it’s essential to understand which one will work best for you, depending on the type of business you operate and the audience you want to reach.

In our experience of working with businesses to help them use social media to raise awareness and drive growth, we have found that there is still confusion from business owners about which channel is best for their brand and for the audience they are trying to target.

Considerations such as whether a business is consumer facing or B2B, the industry they operate in and even the demographic of their customers will all have an impact on which social media platform they should focus their attention on.

Acting as the largest of the platforms, Facebook has a very broad reach, amplifying content to varied consumer audiences. Although it started out as a simple-to-use cyber method of interacting with friends and loved ones, it soon became much used throughout the business world, closely targeting specific audiences with relevant content and ads.

Despite this, Facebook’s algorithms mean that it prioritises personal content over sponsored ads. This implies that although users may ‘like’ a business profile, they will not see the content as frequently as you might like. This can result in lower engagement.

It’s also important to consider the age demographic of users.  Over recent years, the active audience has become increasingly older, as platforms such as Instagram now take the lead with younger consumers.

This is vital when thinking about which platform to use to enhance your business. You need to make sure your target audience will engage.  It is also important to remember that Facebook is targeted towards a more consumer-based audience, rather than B2B.

Instagram is continuing to grow into becoming one of the most popular platforms across all ages. Used both personally and commercially, it allows you to get creative and post an array of photos and videos, documenting your most ‘Instagramable’ moments.

Acting as a visual mood board with little text, Instagram is great for promoting business culture, events and products, though it’s probably not the best choice to post information that requires more explanation. Like Facebook, Instagram works best with a consumer based target audience.

With the majority of users under the age of thirty-five, in order to draw them in and ‘follow’ your page, you must make sure that you post visual, frequent content. It’s also a good idea to stick with a theme, as most users prefer coordinated content.

When using Instagram to promote your business, it’s always a nice idea to show your personality. Regular photo updates of what your team is up to gives your clients a more personal insight into your company, which could end up attracting more business. Clients like to feel involved.

Twitter, although users stats are slowly declining, is great conversation platform. With its 280-word limit, it’s a good way to interact with other accounts.

When using Twitter to boost your company, it can be an effective tool to engage with your customers. For instance, customer service is big on Twitter. In fact, larger companies who use the platform normally expect questions, concerns and complaints regarding their service. A downfall in this is that millions of people could potentially see this, so companies must be prepared to quickly respond to negative comments to avoid disappearing into the Twitter void.

For SMEs, the platform can be used slightly differently. In fact, it’s a great way to quickly share business updates for instance blog posts and new wins, as well as again incorporating what the team is up to.

Unlike the other platforms, LinkedIn works more as a business-networking tool. Whether it is recruiting, or again sharing company updates, LinkedIn is a professional platform.

As such, LinkedIn is a great way to share thought leadership content to demonstrate your expertise. It can also be used effectively to promote company news and events.

LinkedIn also acts as an online job board, flourishing with new opportunities for all levels. So, when using the platform for your business you need to also consider the possibility of attracting hopeful job candidates as well as new client interest, so again its important to have some one available to answer questions and engage with activity in a timely way.

When deciding which platform works for you, remember you don’t need to use all four. Picking the most appropriate for your brands ethos is key. You also need to remember that social media does take time and commitment. You need to be frequent with your interaction to get the most out of its use.
We regularly work with clients to develop and execute social media strategies in order to raise their profiles and drive engagement.

Podcasts for business

This week Mark Sweney, media business correspondent for The Guardian, signalled to his readers that podcasts are currently having what he called “a Netflix moment”.

He writes...”Global hits – from the ground-breaking Serial to Up and Vanished, and TV crossovers such as Dirty John – and Spotify’s plan to spend up to $500m on leading producers have made podcasts a hot media property”.

Podcasts are typically defined as a digital audio file, which can be downloaded or streamed, usually as a series, to a community of subscribers. The fast growing size of these online “communities” is why podcasts are now making their way onto the mainstream media’s agenda.

This means that there is yet another new media area for businesses and organisations to take into account when developing their communications strategies to raise their online profile, and the growing influence of podcasts on audiences is not to be underestimated.

Just in the same way that social media’s constant updates now dictate and make up so much of traditional mainstream media’s news stories, podcasts are now also making their impact felt. Indeed, recent Netflix global hit series Dirty John, was itself the result of a highly successful podcast looking at this case and produced by the Los Angeles Times.

It is no surprise that media outlets from the BBC to the FT have launched their own, popular podcasts. They recognise that this type of content is attractive to listeners as they appeal to busy professionals who can listen whilst on the move, however unlike traditional radio shows, listeners tap into themes and topics that they are specifically interested in. Podcasts such as ‘Keeping It Candid’ allow aspiring influencers to tap into the tips and tricks of social media and Adam Grant’s TED inspired Worklife podcast  are now beginning to wield just as much influence as traditional stalwarts such as Radio 4’s Today Programme.

But what does this mean for businesses and organisations trying to make impact with podcast producers? How should they approach this new medium?

The simple answer is that the same old media training principles will apply, from knowing the editorial style of the producer before going in for an interview, to making sure that you actually answer the question, with jargon free, succinct and personable responses. It would also be wise to listen to the podcast before going in and invest in an in-depth chat with the podcast producer or presenter, to find out what they think constitutes a good interview.

But perhaps the most important factor to take into account is the global nature of the podcast. Unlike with other more traditional broadcast interviews the podcast is truly global in its reach.

Make sure when you are preparing for a podcast appearance that you have considered how your messages will translate to audiences, from the UK to right across the globe. You may be sitting in a small room in Soho, having what feels like an intimate chat with the presenter, but the power and reach of the podcast is that this conversation will be delivered potentially across many continents. So it is important that your messages are as accessible, relevant and comprehensive to as wide an audience as possible.

RSS Subscribe
Blog archive