With four months left in the year, here's a look at five communications strategies to turbo charge your public relations and social media programs to support vital business goals:
1) Tweak the Dials: What's Working, What's Not?
Now's the perfect chance to review your communications program and assess what's working and what's not. Have you been investing in a speaker's program that hasn't paid dividends? Are some of your byline topics home runs, while others are barely making it to first base? Are you keen to help your CEO increase industry thought leadership through a blog program, but haven't had the resources to get the initiative off the ground? Have you only had a trickle of news in your pipeline so far in 2014?
Consider reallocating resources away from the non-starters to programs and themes that are earning their keep. Whether it's driving media coverage, spiking website traffic, or generally putting a smile on the face of your Google Analytics manager, turn up the heat on those programs that are making a quantifiable impact on your marketing efforts and put the others on the shelf.
2) Are You Listening for How You Fit In?
Early Q4 tends to be the time when many companies announce big news. Are you taking advantage of social listening platforms like UberVu or Radian 6, in addition to daily news scanning, to stay current on competitive moves and industry trends? Are you listening for news in terms of how your company can share a perspective and do a bit of “newsjacking” in the process?
For instance, the mobile industry is buzzing right now about Apple's planned September 9 announcement, when most pundits believe the company will launch the iPhone 6. This is a great opportunity for mobile app design/development shops and we'll be working with our client WillowTree Apps to share their unique perspective for how businesses need to be thinking of app design and development in light of iOS8 and the iPhone 6's new form factor and features.
3) What's the Updated Roadmap?
Speaking of major announcements, now's the time to regroup with your product or services team for a status update on your company's own roadmap. Will any new products be ready to launch? Is anything delayed for which you might need to be prepared to do some damage control with customers, industry analysts, or the media? Freshen up your communications roadmap with these milestones and get your ducks in a row to launch those products or services with impact.
4) Is Your Owned Content Strategy in Place?
Yes, earned media content provides valuable third-party validation of your product or service. But creating and growing a portfolio of owned content (blogs, infographics, white papers, e-books, etc.) is one of the smartest and most SEO-friendly strategies in which a company can invest.
September is the perfect time to look at your calendar of owned content creation and ensure you've got the resources in place to develop what you'll need. At Tier One, we work with clients to create a comprehensive master calendar that overlays owned content development with other initiatives like conferences and product announcements to make certain the entire marketing effort is holistic and supportive.
Speaking of SEO, are your keywords updated to keep pace with your evolving market – and are those keywords reinforced throughout your communications effort?
5) Time to Get Ready for 2015
We're all familiar with the saying, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, among others: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” With that old chestnut in mind, it's not too early to start planning your 2015 programs. This is another opportunity to meet with cross-functional teams to understand long-range product and services plans, potential corporate initiatives like mergers and acquisitions, recruiting strategies, and anything else the PR and social program may need to prepare to support. Thinking back to the “tweaking the dials” strategy, create your 2015 program with an eye for the strategies that delivered the biggest bang for the buck this year, while still leaving room for creative new ideas to execute and test.
I may rue these words come January, but I'm excited to feel a bit of a nip in the air and see business engines start to churn again. For me, fall has as much renewal as does the spring. It's time for us to rev up our collective PR and social engines as we sprint towards the 2014 corporate goal line.