I have been an advocate amongst my clients to consistently think of how to communicate their newsworthiness. Most companies fail to think so until something shockingly bad happens that forces the media to turn their spotlight onto them. This year it would be a worthwhile exercise to sit down and engage with the content of your business and strategise on how to use it to position your business and brand.
“Strategized content could be gold in the right hands”.
A small number of companies use their CSI initiatives, annual reports depending on the size of the organisation, thought-leadership content and leverage it for space on media platforms. More companies could make use of media platforms if they were media friendly, but most are not. These days, in all honesty, there is a media organisation representing almost all industries. As content merchants, we are all looking for diversity in content, new voices in the constant sea of regularity. Driving media engagement is not just a PR exercise but it is an internal process that should involve everyone as far as possible. When I media train I often ask companies to highlight as part of the exercise the newsworthy stories within the organisation good or bad. You will be surprised to see how many of the organisations come up with amazing, credible stories that could make it onto a morning show, radio or be used for podcast content.
More often than not, many conversations and conferences you attend echo constant choruses not all in the same proverbial tune but the thread is that budgets are tighter than Donald Trump’s hairline. Even in the endless sea, content conversations don’t have to be daunting, but they can be if you have never thought of yourself as content-rich or newsworthy.
“Even in the endless sea, content conversations don’t have to be daunting.”
Strategically it makes sense in 2019 to think of alternatives in relation to PR and marketing. How do you create additional value for your business? If you’re a car dealership would it not make sense to hold a free “car 101 in basics course” for all your female clients to teach them how to change a tyre. It might not be newsworthy from a provincial editorial output, but it could be from a local community news level perspective especially if the turnout is amazing. It might also be newsworthy if it was women’s month. There are ways for a business to discover if it is newsworthy. Unfortunately, many think it only belongs to a select group of people or businesses. The truth is many regular contributors or businesses on media platforms work incredibly hard to stay relevant and to get those positions in the first place. Content doesn’t necessarily guarantee you free media opportunities but if it is well thought out and positioned its far better alternative than not considering the value or adding something extra in your arsenal. Not all content should or deserve to be on a media platform some could be used to leverage the thought-leadership expertise in your business with existing clients.
One thing is clear and worth repeating, content platforms are looking for stories. They are looking for interesting people and more importantly, they are looking for content which put their consumer at the heart of the narrative.
“content platfoms are looking for stories”
There are many examples of companies that get the content war right but one worth mentioning happened recently.
Miway was in a news bulletin while I was on holiday in the Mother City. One of their call centre agents went out to help a customer who broke down in a dangerous part of the city. I was really impressed, and I seriously thought about changing my policies but then I remembered the disastrous interview Eusebius McKaiser had with their CEO and I decided to stay with my current service provider.
There are many ideas that could be implemented from a value-add perspective. Content needs commitment. It is very disappointing to visit a website and the content is outdated. Thought-leadership pieces written years before are not updated where necessary. Content can be used as an educational and sales tool. Sometimes what seems obvious is not so obvious to everyone. Some content ideas are old but still relevant today. Depending on the size of your organisation you might want to employ some ideas.
“Some content ideas are old but still relevant today.”
I still like some of the older content ideas. A manager or client corner on a website written once a week or once a month. Video content – “how to videos” or just a video showcasing effective product use can be invaluable to clients who refuse to read the manuals or not interested. Podcasting is an excellent way to generate content that could be relatable to your audience. It easily conveys passion, enthusiasm and shows a personality that might not be so forthcoming in other forms of communication.
Content is important. As part of your 2019 strategy where does content feature in your drive to grow your customer base but more importantly to give your existing consumers greater value and insight?
How can content discussions with the relevant internal stakeholders add value to the morale of the organisation?
There are so many more questions you can ask but it is important to start somewhere. Start valuing content and more importantly value the contribution you could make.
About the author
Samm Marshall is a South African television presenter best known for hosting the e.tv reality charity show Let’s Fix It, and Morning Live on SABC. He is currently a media trainer with Media training SA. MD of www.social-tv.co.za a CSI/CSR/shared value news platform. MD of www.brandlive,co.za a thought-leadership platform that allows companies to host their own radio shows.