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Prevent your Communication Efforts from Taking the Dirt Nap

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The only thing sure in the world is change and this applies to your marketing communication efforts as well. We now have more options than ever. This is a good thing but it does make things more challenging.

When we have always done things a certain way it feels comfortable. It’s what we know and to change can feel uncomfortable and maybe even a little bit dangerous.

Recently I was having a conversation with a peer about Public Relations (PR). She asked what I thought would change about PR in the future and I commented if PR continued doing what it has done traditionally, it would be taking the dirt nap. It elicited some laughs but it also highlighted something more serious. The world has changed and if we don’t change with it, we will find ourselves out of a job.

It makes no difference whether you are a seasoned pro or if you are in charge of efforts for your business. If you’re still using old strategies and tactics, you may find yourself struggling to attract leads. That’s why today we are going to talk about the four ways to keep your marketing communication efforts from taking the dirt nap.

Do your Research

Research isn’t a new thing. Likely, you’ve always had to do at least some research. However, in a multi-channel world, research has become more important than ever.

40 years ago television was dominated by three networks. As the cable industry grew, so did our viewing options. Instead of tuning into the nightly news you might watch CNN instead. Watching The Sopranos on HBO became an alternative to watching Law & Order on NBC.

As you well know, the changes don’t stop there. We now have many options to support our viewing habits. Cable was challenged by satellite and more channels entered the picture. Now, streaming has introduced a whole slew of alternatives that not just give us more content but convenience. There isn’t a single show that I sit down and view at a set time on a set night anymore. I watch what I want when I want.

This isn’t limited to the television viewing experience. When we want information we can access it on demand. Just do a search on Google and away we go. And, we do this at our convenience.

In a post-modern world, the information we seek and the ways we seek it are fractured. We can access seemingly anything at any time. This means that we have to understand our customers, their intent, and where they are. Research is essential and it isn’t optional if you want to grow and thrive.

Learn to Interpret Data

Data has always existed but it is more prevalent in our increasingly digital (online) world. When you like a post on Facebook, do a search on Google, or even visit a website you create data.

It sounds a little ominous but then again, we have always created data. It’s just easier to do in a digital world than an analog (offline) world. Data has always been gold for businesses and marketers alike but more data is more information to sift through.

More information is great but it creates a challenge in determining what the data is telling us. A pitfall that some organizations fall into is to make a decision and then find the data to support it. Don’t do this. Manipulating information to support your theory may make be helpful for your ego but it won’t be for your business.

Understanding how to interpret data isn’t optional anymore. In the digital age, more information is coming at us than ever before. If we don’t take the time to learn how to interpret data, we won’t be able to make the right choices.

Making choices is like playing a video game. If you make too many of the wrong ones it will be game over. Don’t waste the gift of data in your marketing communication efforts. Learn to interpret it so you can make the right decisions.

Media Relations and the Backlink

Our definition of the media is outdated. It’s more than television, print, and radio. The time has come to stop thinking of the media in these traditional terms. It’s not traditional media and new media its just one media and it’s everywhere.

It encompasses what we know of media and adds online channels. Television stations have websites and social media pages. Reporters use social media channels such as Twitter to break news. Bloggers and podcasters inject information into the world at a rate greater than any magazine or newspaper ever dreamed on every topic you can imagine.

While much in the way of how we interact with the media is unchanged, there is one thing we shouldn’t dismiss: the backlink. A backlink is simply a link back to your website and it serves an important role in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It is also helpful to your potential lead.

I have an organization I have loosely advised. They appear on television every Friday morning. It’s a great feat of itself and the station posts the topic that they discuss on their website. There’s only one problem. There is no backlink.

The people who are at work when my friends are on television and find information on the station’s website have nowhere to go if they are interested. Hopefully, these people are interested enough to google their organization and find their site.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but a click is much more likely than multiple clicks and typing. Sometimes we are just lazy. We decide we will come back to it later and then we forget and then the opportunity has been lost. Not just for your lead but for a chance to convert that lead to a customer.

There are plenty of options to reach our customers but the media is still important. If your doing any media relations don’t waste an opportunity. Ask for the backlink. It will help maximize your efforts.

Measurement is Key

Math can be kinda scary. It certainly wasn’t my strong point in school. Guess what? That’s not a good excuse to not measure.

I used to work as a human resources generalist. One year we added an online component to our services. I was part of the team that put together our business processes around this new contact method. We all thought things were going really well. Then it came out six months later that nobody was measuring our efforts. When we started measuring we found that change was really hard for our employees.

They were used to talking to a person who listened to them and walked them through to a solution. Our new method was to give them a high-level response and include a link to where they could review the information on their own. It was a decision that management had made (despite our warnings) and the employees we supported weren’t too fond of our new process. It was really easy to see in the data once we started measuring.

Had we known of the issues created earlier we could have addressed them but nobody was doing any measurement to see how everything was working and make the necessary adjuments. Instead, we made many of our employees angry for months. We paid a big price before we recalibrated and fixed things.

If you are not measuring, you will never know if what you are doing is working. If you don’t know what is working, you are doing nothing more than throwing stuff against the wall and hoping it sticks. That’s a waste of your time and money (and you may infuriate your customers along the way).

Don’t make excuses. Create your goals and objectives and measure them.

Final Thoughts

Change may be hard but those who adjust will reap the rewards while those who don’t will fall by the wayside. Marketing communication efforts can be a boon if your willing to do what you need to be successful. If you ignore these four things, your efforts will take the dirt nap and could pull your business with them.

Shane Carpenter
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