There’s no question that relationships between companies and their customers have shifted significantly toward the personal. We see it every day: fast food chains challenge devotees to gather retweets for “nuggs,” personal care products advocate for women’s equality and airlines get called out — for both successes and major fails — in viral videos.
Many consumers don’t just want to buy a product; they want to buy-in to a tribe. Two recent studies by Elite Daily and CrowdTwist found that millennials, in particular, are extremely loyal to their chosen brands — especially those that are more engaging on social media.
Social media has enabled this change by facilitating immediate, two-way conversations between companies and customers. Corporations have to be more than simply transactional, or they run the risk of losing their customers’ loyalty for a more engaging brand that can provide the same service.
In addition to social media, one way brands have enabled that direct, personal connection with consumers is through a company blog (hey, like this one!). There, brands are able to promote their unique perspective — and products — while also providing valuable information to consumer audiences. Food and beverage corporations can blog about unique recipes, banks can blog about personal finance tips and travel companies can blog about exciting destinations.
But without a distribution channel, your company blog is like a car without an engine. It can sit pretty in your driveway, for only your neighbours and friends to see — or you can equip it with a turbocharged engine that will get it on the road and in front of new viewers.
When you’re planning your next blog post’s road trip, think through a plan that will ensure your souped-up content makes a strong impression along the way.
1. Pack Up the Trunk
It’s essential to pack your blog post full of content that will be of interest to your target audience. But to do that, you have to first know your audience. Beyond simply demographics, that means their interests, their base of knowledge and their attitude toward your industry. Once you understand their complete persona, you can craft a message that informs and inspires loyalty.
Next, know your platform. A blog isn’t a traditional, media-targeted news release – it’s a chance to make a direct connection with your audience in an informal setting. It’s a pizza party, not a state dinner.
Basics of writing an online-friendly blog:
- Craft a catchy headline that appeals to readers’ needs and makes a promise to meet them. Then, fulfill that promise in your content.
- Add eye-catching multimedia that makes your content stand out from the crowd, like an infographic, product picture or action shot
- Avoid jargon: speak directly and authentically. Consider search-friendly keywords when crafting your message, but be sure you’re writing for humans, not web-crawling robots.
2. Map Your Destination
Once you’ve done the legwork to understand your audience’s needs and how to speak to them, it’s time to think about your own goals for that piece of content. Goals can vary: from garnering awareness from new audiences to driving concrete leads for your products.
If you’re looking to drive awareness and engagement actions among more than just your most loyal fans (regular visitors to your blog), then you’ll want to chart a course to place your post on outside channels. Social media works to display your news to existing fans, and potentially their followers too. But what about casual observers, and those who don’t know you well? For that, you’ll need to syndicate your blog – share it on new channels, besides just your own. Sending a news release over the wire can accomplish just that.
Pro tips for a distribution-ready blog release:
- Provide clear attribution: remember that readers will find your content on third-party websites, like Yahoo, Marketwatch, local news sites, etc. That means they won’t immediately know who it’s coming from, on its face. So you’ll need to be upfront, taking care to maintain their trust by placing your company name prominently in the headline and body content.
- Give readers something to do: include a click-to-tweet for them to share your news, direct them to a product page on your website, or include a link to a downloadable report – whatever action you’re hoping your message inspires. That will also allow you to judge the success of your blog, by tracking the number of engagement actions.
3. Hit the Road
So you’ve packed up your vehicle with relevant, engaging content that’s sure to pique your audience’s interest, and you’ve decided to venture beyond your neighborhood, to new viewers — now what?
A distribution channel like CNW can be your navigator. Online-only circuits place your release on hundreds of sites that are ranked highly by search engines and have easy social sharing functions. But you can’t take a bicycle on the freeway – you’ll need to tailor your blog content for distribution. That means including the usual basic news release elements: headline, clearly attributed body content, media contact, source. And it means deciding your method of promoting your blog in a news release – whether in the form of a content teaser, content round-up, or full-text syndication.
- Content Teaser: short summary of the content you’re promoting, with a call to action and link to that content
- Content Round-up: links to multiple pieces of content in a news release
- Full-Text Syndication: republishes the original content in its entirety with a disclaimer linking back to the original version on your owned media channels
Once your blog content is ready to be shared, let CNW / Cision help you connect with new audiences.