New year’s comms resolutions: nail it in 2017
New year, new you
Not only is January the greyest and coldest month, we make it so much worse for ourselves by giving up nice things like gin and biscuits. What a miserable way to start the year.
If you must insist on making some new year’s resolutions, why not make 2017 the year your business finally nails its comms game? Miracles won’t happen overnight, but there are several small commitments you can make in 2017 to help improve your company’s comms.
As with all resolutions and new habits, it takes perseverance and dedication up front to help you stick to your targets. Give it time, though, and it’ll soon start to feel like second nature. Keep the following resolutions, and we reckon you’ll start to see an impact by the end of quarter two. Don’t believe us? Try it.
Blog at least once a week
We know how difficult it is to sit down and write a blog post: it can often feel like there are more important ways to use your time.
For those that need convincing, there are many reasons why your business should be blogging. Not only does it drive more traffic to your site, it also helps more leads to convert, gives you a source of content to share on social media, and shows off your skills and expertise in your field.
Best practices from HubSpot suggests that businesses that post 16+ times a month will receive 3.5 times more site traffic than those that post 4 times a month or fewer. In an ideal world, we’d all be blogging 16 times a month… but for many businesses, that’s simply not realistic.
If you’re really struggling to produce regular content for the company blog, start small. Try committing to just one post a week, scheduled for a regular day. That way, you have something to aim for. Once you’ve seen the difference regular blogging can make, posting two or more times a week will start to feel more achievable – and worthwhile.
Create a content calendar
This leads on quite nicely from the point above. If you don’t already have one, you should put together a calendar of planned content.
Content calendars don’t just apply to the blog. If you intend to create any other kinds of content – podcasts, whitepapers, videos, infographics – you should plan these in advance. Social media should have its own planning and strategy (we’ll come to that in a minute).
At the start of each month, plan the content to be published each week. If there are any time-sensitive topics you want to blog about (eg, seasonal topics or events), these should be planned at the start of each quarter. You shouldn’t finalise content too far ahead, as it’s good to keep content fresh and flexible. This will be the most valuable for your readers.
Planning your content ahead of time makes blogging regularly much easier, as you’ve already done some of the legwork by deciding what to write about. Not only that, but incorporating upcoming events and deadlines into your schedule helps ensure your content is topical, current, and relevant.
For maximum impact, share this schedule with your social media team so they can help gain maximum exposure for your content. You should also ensure your planned content is optimised for relevant keywords, as per your company’s SEO strategy.
Create a social media plan
The best social media is reactive. It’s impossible – and pointless – to plan every tweet months, or even weeks, ahead.
However, you should be setting a structure for your social media activity, and sticking to it. Decide what type of content you want to be sharing, and how much. For example, you might decide to share five relevant news stories a day, your most recent blog post, one ‘vintage’ blog post, and one link to your online shop. Some of this can then be scheduled in advance, saving you time.
You should also decide in advance what your goals are for social media, as this will shape your activity.
It’s easy to spend a lot of time on social media and achieve very little. If you log into Twitter every day without knowing what you want to achieve, chances are it’ll be very little. With just a basic structure, you can create a social media presence to be proud of.
Capitalise on what you know
Forget about comms for a moment. What is it that the experts at your business know, that nobody else does? What makes you the leaders in your field?
What may seem so obvious and everyday to you may be greatly misunderstood by other people. Make 2017 the year you truly capitalise on your expertise and insight.
As well as blogging regularly, you should also be posting insight and thought leadership articles to the LinkedIn platform. (Strapped for time? Try pulling out four key pieces of advice from the blogs you published that month, and package them up on a similar theme.)
Many B2B publications gladly accept articles from industry experts. Before you post all your very best content on the company blog, try pitching it to journalists at relevant publications first. Though they won’t use a piece that’s purely about your business, they will accept a genuine and helpful advice piece, with a small bio about you and your company at the bottom. You should also keep your eyes peeled on Twitter for journalists seeking comment on your area of expertise. Scour #JournoRequest for leads, and be quick if you spot one.
Likewise, many events are also open to accepting speaking slots from industry leaders. We know they can be time-consuming and nerve-wracking, but they’re also very valuable for furthering professional profiles. Make 2017 the year you take the plunge.
Engage more with influencers
Influencers are valuable people. They can convince others to pay for your products and services. Or, they can do the opposite.
Influencers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, depending on your target audience. They could be journalists, celebrities, or prominent business figures. Whoever they are, they’ll be trusted among your target audience. Keep up to date with your influencers’ opinions by following them on social media, or connecting with them on LinkedIn. If they have a blog, read it.
Ideally, you want these influential figures to say positive things about your business. For bloggers or journalists, this is best done by PR. Let them try out your service, treat them to an event, or send them a product to review.
You may not think it, but your customers are valuable influencers too. Consumers are very readily influenced by their peers, so encourage your existing customers to leave you reviews and provide feedback. Wherever possible, try your hardest to provide your customers with a positive experience, and make it easy for them to shout about it.
2017: your year for comms
Sadly, great comms doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes a lot of hard work, trial and error, and a fully integrated approach. Keep messaging concise and consistent across all platforms, and all departments. The changes we’ve suggested are relatively small, but they need to be employed across the board in order to work.
Done properly, though, these news year’s comms resolutions can have a definite impact on your web traffic, brand recognition, and authority.
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