Communicating in the New Decade: The Long-Game Must Include a Short-Range Approach
January 12, 2020
It’s not only the beginning of a new year – 2020 kicks off a new decade. Some of the changes we’ll see can’t be glimpsed yet, some can. But no matter what comes, staying close to best practices and fundamental values will be critical as we anticipate and adapt to emerging trends.
Core to this thinking is paying close attention to engagement in the face of the emerging phenomenon of “information overload.” Audiences are becoming overwhelmed by the volume of content they are faced with, and they are becoming increasingly wary. Within seconds, your content either engages an audience or they move on. PR pros should strive for an emotional connection to foster that engagement, building trust with audiences. Emotional connections are key, as people filter information and relate to stories through their own life perspectives and through the things they care about. They want to relate to you, your company and its purpose, but if your story lacks emotional resonance, they’ll move on quickly.
To get to that connection with the people you want to reach, you must balance the right communication elements – including Style, Branding and Metrics. With that equilibrium, adjusted specifically for the audience you want to reach, you will be able to most effectively engage by addressing audiences’ interests, desires and needs.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
As a large part of our day-to-day communication is carried-out using short-handed (BTW or LMK) and emoji-heavy texts, it is more and more important for your audience to feel that you had them at “hello.” Communicate in a pithy headline to grab their interest and help you stand out from those competing for their limited attention. Taking a step back, ask if your text-heavy press release is the right tool for making your point? Would you be better off integrating visuals or using a simple bullet-point list? Is a release even the right approach? Perhaps you will be better off using other media, visuals such as infographics and “surround-sound” techniques that incorporate text, visual and social?
When it comes to SEO generation, longer-form content rules. For example, a longer blog post, structured correctly, may ensure search crawlers recognize it. Thus, adjusting and balancing your communications program is necessary to capture your target audience’s interest and tap into long-term followership.
SELLING A PRODUCT OR CREATING AN ICONIC BRAND
Content is king! We live at a time when people can access information 24/7, and creating digital environments – rich in content and renewed frequently – can be a compelling feature for the right communications plans. Communicating branded content to promote a specific product or creating engaging educational content destinations to develop a brand, offers compelling opportunities for audiences to choose to spend their time. Look at the rise of Medium or ThriveGlobal – places where homemakers and CEOs alike can draw people in with their ideas and become power thought leaders in 1,000 words or less.
THE NEW METRIC – REACH VS. CONVERSION
The historical approach to communications metrics centered around using mass media to get your messages to the broadest possible audience and measuring the reach of those publications and electronic programs. While maximizing reach helps generate broad awareness about a topic, geo-targeting, where specific audiences are directly exposed to tailored messaging, is a more efficient approach to generate leads and drive conversion. Geo-targeting can be applied to clinical trial support and generate a specific call-to-action among a defined target audience. The more targeted and searchable your chosen terms, specific phrases and overall content themes are, the greater your opportunity to make pinpoint communication connections to those you seek to reach.
…Like a fine wine, blending the right communications ingredients to create the perfect balance is key and will drive memorable, effective and enduring results!