Just as we strive to be customer-centric when selling products and services, marketers need to be press-centric and prospect-centric when we craft our public relations messages.
Instead of announcing a new product or service by just firing away at our audience and hoping they will be smart enough to recognize our value, we need to lead with the challenge, the common ground we intend to share with them. If our social media conversation is all about us, we risk becoming the boring -- and avoided -- guest at the party. Even if we are the host.
Is It News?
Editors are working the door at the news party, and one of their jobs is to only admit guest contributors who will bring in something new -- something that will be of value to their guests inside, the readers. Identify a topic that directly affects their readers, make the connection to your services and you may earn your way in.
Chances are good that what you have to say either reflects or bucks a trend, and real trends are news that industry press and followers will report on and discuss. Version 7.1 may leave them cold, but tie that announcement to a trend and you may be able to claim your place in the news forum. Big news in-house, no matter how much sweat and pride went into it, doesn't necessarily translate into headlines by itself.
Content, more than ever
Content marketing -- delivering valued content to create and sustain customer relationships -- can take many forms and just keeps growing. Publishing your thoughts can help you deliver content that is genuinely helpful while advancing awareness of your expertise.
In addition to the self-authorship of blogs or tweets, a published bylined article carries the weight of the publication's third-party endorsement as expert eyes on the industry. And as publications continue to diversify their value by creating email newsletters aimed at increasingly more specific target niches with interested readers, you too can zoom in on your prospects with content that is directly relevant to their needs.
Online discussions give us a chance to listen in, understand needs better from a prospect's perspective and then act on that knowledge to engage them further. Maybe you can also access focus groups or customer research, but you can always go to your sales team, put aside numbers, and find out what customers are saying about the challenges they face -- what makes their lives miserable or hopeful. You can use that information to shape news that gets valued exposure with customers and prospects.