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We’d all love to see our name featured prominently in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review or the leading heralds, mails and posts across the nation. But why break your back trying to constantly win over major publications when smaller, niche publications could be better for your company?

 

It was perhaps best written by Glean.info CEO William Comcowich:

 

“Forget The New York Times. Send news to niche publications instead.

Clients and top company executives typically want large, national publications to mention their company. They dream of a feature story on their company in The New York Times.

 

“For companies in many industries, a feature in The New York Times is more likely to boost a client’s ego than sales or revenue. Although major, national media outlets sometimes provide substantial publicity boosts, trade journals and other types of niche publications offer more valuable media opportunities for many companies, especially those in B2B industries.”

 

This is not to say that major news outlets shouldn’t be targeted if your company has a terrific story. There is nothing wrong with wanting to grow your name and business through the power of earned media via powerful publications.

 

However, there are several key PR benefits to focusing on niche publication.

 

Here are just a few.

 

More value for the press release. Often when pitching a story to major publications, a media release is taken apart and only certain pieces are used to create the journalist wishes to tell. And that is assuming the media release is even used. Major publications are sometimes in competition with each other, and the media release so painstakingly put together may only be used once, if ever. Frequently, niche editors run press release in both print and digital pages, share them on social media, and include links to your website. Editors might also ask for an article about the technology behind the product.

 

Niche publications are also happy to report on small companies in their sector. As long as the pitch is on topic, they typically respond to media requests faster and publish articles sooner. In addition, because niche publications are often short on staff, they’re more open to accepting contributed content.

 

Reach a specific audience. Readers of the Sydney Morning Herald are looking at any articles that pique their interest. Readers of niche publications are straight away looking for pieces on a particular topic. If your company operates in their industry, then a niche reader will want to read about you.

 

According to Comcowich, “a feature in the Huffington Post offers little benefit to a business that sells a casting reel for left-handed fishermen. Despite the site’s millions of daily visitors, few readers will be interesting in buying the item. An article in B.A.S.S. Times, with a circulation of about 100,000 readers, will reach avid fishermen. Even if they don’t need a left-handed casting reel, they probably know someone who does.”

 

Explain a technical story. Major publications usually cover broader topics and typically attempt to simplify the content for a wide audience. Niche publications have readers who are experts or passionate about the publication topic, which means their writing gets down to the nitty-gritty technical details. Therefore, companies are able to show who they really are to readers who want to know, quickly getting to the details of their product and saving time when in media pitches, podcasts and interviews.

 

Build legitimacy in a niche community. Niche publications have the respect of industry insiders because of the credibility they have earned providing specifically targeted content of a high quality. Some industry associations even distribute free publications to their members, promoting a sense of objectivity and trust in the publication. Richard Etchison of Crenshaw Communications said, “a consistent presence in the right trade outlet can announce the arrival of a new company as a legit player, or it may help establish a founder as thought leader.”

 

Niche publications can also offer entry to larger outlets. Journalists and editors for major newspapers and consumer magazines sometimes use the presumed expert knowledge within formats like trade journals, drawing on content for research and reference purposes.

 

Large digital presence. Niche publications often primarily take the form of magazines, blogs, online news, videos, blogs and direct member emails. Print format has become less popular due to costs and the time required for production and distribution. Instead, niche publications opt for a digital presence, allowing for a higher rate of content creation, social media engagement and search engine optimisation (SEO). Ultimately, going niche allows a company to spread their message across the expanse of cyberspace, further than the reach of a physical print medium.

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Imagine a popular social media channel that did not display the number of “likes,” mentions, impressions, followers, engagements or any other metric to show how many times one’s content has been viewed, by whom and when.

A flourishing “how-to” industry has arisen dedicated to increasing “counts” on social media, while also claiming this is the silver bullet to becoming more popular, rich and famous.

You can purchase the services of click-farms to artificially increase your like-counters. This potentially increases your content’s chances of being cross-syndicated, appearing higher up in newsfeeds and possibly meaning the ability to convert “online social wealth” into material wealth.

In other cases, approbation markers such as likes can be used to generate popularity or condemnation of a group, politician or policy through the artful use of bots and astroturfing. For example, the work of the Russia-based Internet Research Agency has been implicated for swaying public opinion and altering the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The increasing concern over the spread of fake news and alleged political interference waged in sophisticated campaigns are examples that may come readily to mind, but the danger also includes the efforts of more local coordinated campaigns by political action groups to flood, troll and overwhelm the newsfeeds of popular social media using invite-only Twitter rooms.

‘Likes’ equals wins for market capitalism

When social sharing buttons and counters were introduced on popular social media platforms over a decade ago, it could be said that it changed the character of social media. It also changed the motives for engaging with it.

Seeing numbers rise seems somewhat hardwired into us now, and provides incentive to contribute, and to contribute often, for the promise of this token digital reward. We spend long hours on these sites seeking to drive up numbers that are largely devoid of any context or direct transferable value.

Somehow we feel we will be magically validated for posting more of the extraordinary (and mundane) moments of our lives.

Getting online ‘likes’ is a competition that may lead nowhere. Elijah O’Donell/Unsplash, CC BY


What is troubling is that this ruthless behaviour to get more likes seems to undermine the social aspect of social media. Instead of truly being social, we are making it more of a competitive endeavour to accumulate more likes.

Measuring the value of other human beings on the basis of how high their “score” is on social media seems less social, and more like trying to “win” at social media in ways that resemble market capitalism.

Indeed, the main beneficiaries of our addictive and competitive behaviour are the social media companies who get more eyeballs on ads.

Ruthless competition

One can imagine the absurdity of the situation if we applied the idea of likes to our offline social interactions where we would engage in a strange kind of jockeying for social points among our friends and family. But competitive behaviour has a very long precedent in terms of accumulating wealth in any of its forms (material or otherwise).

As human beings, we do engage in competitive games in a social context. From board games, sports and online gaming. For those of us old enough to remember pinball machines at the arcade, there might have been a fleeting sense of satisfaction in earning the top score. But these were localized; today, with the ubiquity of social media and the proliferation of global leaderboards on multiplayer games, even the social succumbs to ruthless competition.

Social media is seen as a tool to connect communities and create relationships. Shutterstock


The obsessive competitive drive in accumulating ever higher scores on social media via counters seems to deviate from all the extolled virtues of social media as a tool for connectivity, deepening relationships, transcending geographical barriers or organizing and mobilizing on the basis of speaking truth to power.

Although examples of these virtues are still evident on social media, we ought to call into question the value of these social metrics. Instead of a global village, as Marshall McLuhan prophesied, we are presented with a digital Potemkin village, a constructed sham, where sharing and being social is secondary to numerical proof of social interactions.

For younger generations who have grown up with web 2.0 social media, such status-chasing and social validation behaviours reduced to numerical outputs might be of concern. This model sets up situations for creating an easy tabulation of winners and losers.

Some social media influencers have been able to monetize their influence: Instagram influencer Kelly Eden and friend pose at the Kingdom Hearts III premiere on Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Colin Young-Wolff for Square Inix/AP)

Cue the more acute instances of self-esteem collapse, the pressure to sexualize the self in images to garner more attention and other risk-taking behaviours. The race to share also highlights widening class divisions as those without the means to go on lavish vacations or purchase and display luxury products are made to feel of lesser value.

In this way, we have found a convenient, visible, automated means of evaluating other humans.

Status-chasing

Before social media, a person of means may have wished to flaunt their “value” through conspicuous consumption, being seen driving an expensive vehicle, going about town in designer clothing and having their name appear in the society pages. Now, all who have online access can compete in these games of numerical value, and can receive near-instant gratification for their efforts. Social media counters have regrettably “democratized” status-chasing competition.

Can we convert our likes to mortgage payments? Or a job? Callie Morgan/Unsplash


One might ask what exactly it is that we are accumulating, why and for what purpose? Some savvy social media users are able to leverage their enormous follower counts to become online celebrities and make a living (for a time). Yet, what of others who do not have such aspirations?

Do they consider their informative post on their poetic reflections on a warm spring day of lesser value if it does not garner a certain number of likes? Can we take our numbers of followers, retweets and likes to the bank as security on a mortgage? Can we convert likes into some form of currency? Before we say, “That is absurd!”, there are sites that actually do peg a dollar value on a like or tell us the monetary value of an account.

Is this a form of “video game” capitalism? Not quite, as there is no reliable way of converting like capital into, say, more equipment or software (fixed capital). It is, at bottom, primitive accumulation. It may not, in itself, be meaningful any more than — as the late economist Thorstein Veblen pointed out — buying silver rather than steel spoons.

Let’s use an absurd example to illustrate the point. If I get 10,000 upvotes on a piece of content, what does that say about the content? Not much, at least any more than me saving kittens from a burning house will mean 10,000 people will hop on one foot for 76.4 seconds. There is simply not much substantial connection between the two events.

Pity instead those whose jobs require them to boost those metrics for a business, political party or political candidate. They have no choice but to employ tactics designed to increase apparent engagement. While those of us not under such conditions have the luxury of ignoring or turning up our noses at such pursuits, others may find this to be one of the key duties of their job.

Human beings will always find some means to evaluate and judge one another, be it in terms of wealth, education, power or ability. However, the steady conversion of social media into an eerie parallel of a market economy is concerning, perhaps drawing us further away from what may have been intended by users to be a truly open, global social space.

Perhaps it is of some benefit to recall William Bruce Cameron’s pithy adage: “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”The Conversation


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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If you’re looking for a great experience to entertain clients, supporters, staff and partners then a day at the races is definitely something to be considered.

 

Whether you’re into betting and the horses — or not — a day at the races offers something for everyone. Racing clubs are not just in the business of horse racing, they’re in the business of hospitality with most race courses offering a number of venues and experiences to suit all comers.

 

Some venues at the track can cater for a crowd of a couple of hundred or down to smaller groups and can do stand-up catering or sit down, depending upon the sort of function you’d like to have.

 

The horse racing can be great background entertainment or central to the day, the venues can tailor to suit, or you can look for an event manager to tie it all together and facilitate the type of experience required.

 

 

RGC recently managed a race-day for agri-products trader Cory Johnston to celebrate their 50 years in business in 2018.

 

Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane was the venue for the day where Cory Johnston took out naming rights sponsorship for the nine-event race card. This was a great platform for them to leverage the day through television signage exposure and at the racecourse.

 

120 guests were entertained with Brisbane Racing Club’s hospitality team looking after the guests superbly in a private room and trackside experiences offered to guests including rail access to the starting gates and opportunities to watch a race from the race caller’s room, with a view of the action not to be missed.

 

Experienced MC and race day host Mark Forbes of Game On International was engaged to facilitate the formal proceedings and entertain guests. Event photography was provided by EV Photo – if you’re going to the expense and trouble to organise a significant event then make sure it is covered properly by a professional photographer. The results are priceless.

 



Racing clubs are not just in the business of horse racing, they’re in the business of hospitality


 

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World War I did not get off to a great start for Maurice Buckley (pictured second from left), one of Australia’s bravest soldiers and perhaps my favorite Victoria Cross (VC) recipient.

After signing up to join the famed Australian Light Horse Brigade Maurice was shipped off to Egypt on his way to the infamous cliffs of Gallipoli. No sooner had he sighted the Pyramids then he was sent back home after contracting a venereal disease. On his return the shame became too great and he promptly deserted.

As the war dragged into 1915 and then 1916 Buckley became determined to redeem himself and re-enlisted using his dead brother’s first name and his mother’s maiden name.

‘Gerald Sexton’ landed in the Somme, the bloodiest of all bloodbaths, in early 1917. By late 1918 as the war approached its zenith he had earned himself the rank of Sergeant and a Distinguished Conduct Medal. On 18 September, 2018, as part of the AIF’s assault on the German held village of St Quentin, under the command of Sir John Monash, he was to display bravery that 100 years and one month later still sends a shiver down your spine.

The full story is quite extraordinary but his Victoria Cross citation reads (in part):

“During the whole period of the advance Sergeant Sexton was to the fore dealing with enemy machine guns by firing from the hip as he advanced, rushing enemy posts and performing feats of bravery and endurance which are better appreciated when one realises that all the time he fired his Lewis Gun from the hip without faltering or for a moment taking cover…”

Sexton rushed at least six enemy machine-gun positions, captured a field gun, and took nearly 100 prisoners. He was originally handed the VC under his adopted name before revealing his true identity and having it gazetted in his real name. He would tragically die in a horse riding accident in 1921.

Far more than Gallipoli, I have always wanted to see the battlefields of the Western Front where so many Australian soldiers gave their lives. After first reading Buckley’s story in Sir John Monash’s biography I am determined my tour will start and end in the little village of Le Verguier. Perhaps there is special memorial to the deserter turned hero.

This desire to travel half way across the world to feel close to something that happened more than 100 years ago is down to power of narrative storytelling.

The power of narrative

As a reader, you don’t often think about why stories reach out and touch something deeper inside you. As a storyteller with the goal of driving behaviour and actions it is important to understand the how and the why.

While there are many opinions about what it takes to reach a level of engagement with an audience that prompts action, you won’t often hear the scientific perspective. As a creative industry content marketing and public relations have enough trouble dealing with the rise of big data without also having to put on a white coat and visit a lab.

However, there is a now a small but growing field of study that examines the cold, hard science behind how storytelling works. It seeks to understand why narrative sticks in our brain, moves us (literally) and produces increased empathy. The major research and findings have already delivered some pretty informative insights.

For instance, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research has shown the certain language (such as descriptive and figurative) lights up neurological regions that incite action and movement. This means a good story inspires and motivates you to do something.

When your emotional your body often releases dopamine. Dopamine helps us remember an experience with greater accuracy. A story that touches someone on an emotional level will be much more easily remembered and recalled.

Research by the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies shows character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. This is because character-driven stories cause a reaction, called oxytocin synthesis, that motivates cooperation with others. (READ MORE).

Each of these helps explains why after reading the story of Maurice Buckley my ability to recall and act on the story was so strong. So next time you read something amazing, remember it;s not all about emotions. It is just science.

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Inspiring stories of social activism, such as the Civil Rights movement and the fight against climate change, abound in history. And it is generally thought that the new social media era has helped cases of activism to succeed. But our research has revealed some major threats, which activists need to understand if they are to be successful in getting their message across to the masses.

 

Social activism refers to a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups. Social activists operate in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, targeting global crises.

 

Take, for example, environmental groups such as Greenpeace which aim to curb climate change by targeting governments and major manufacturers with poor environmental records. Or the anti-sweatshop movement, which started with a group of activists in the 19th century organising boycotts aimed at improving the conditions of workers in manufacturing places with low wages, poor working conditions and child labour.

 

Online social activism

These days the voices of dissent have increasingly been carried via the evolving medium of the internet. From #Metoo, #TimesUp and #WeStrike to #NeverAgain and #BlackLivesMatter, social activists wield the power of the internet to pressure powerful organisations.

 

The group 350.org, for example, is made up of climate change activists. The group uses online campaigns and grassroots organising to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects. Its aim is to get society moving closer to clean energy solutions that work for all.

 

Online activism allows activists to organise events with high levels of engagement, focus and network strength. On the one hand, researchers suggest that the anonymity offered by online communication provides the possibility of expressing the views of marginalised minority groups that might otherwise be punished or sanctioned. Online activities reinforce collective identity by reducing attention to differences that exist within the group (such as education, social class, and ethnicity).

 

The online threats

But other research argues that while this modern form of activism may increase participation in online activities, it might merely create the impression of activism. Or it may even have negative consequences, such as creating social stereotypes including those about feminists and environmentalists or getting social activists arrested as is the case in authoritarian countries.

 

The aim of our research was to develop insights that would obtain better outcomes from online activism, targeting some of society’s most important issues. During our study, we collected data from three YouTube cases of online activism. Our findings suggest that online activism delivers a temporary shock to the organisational elites, help organise collective actions and amplify the conditions for movements to form.

 

The elites fight back

But these initial outcomes provoke the elites into action, resulting in counter measures – such as increased surveillance to track activists. For example, some governmental authorities intensified internet filtering, blocked access to several websites and decreased the speed of the internet connection to slow down social activism. These measures prompted self-censorship among activists and a loss of interest among the public in relation to the cause and contributed to the ultimate decline of social activism over time.

 

Our study challenged the optimistic hype around online activism in enabling grassroots social movements by suggesting there is a complex relationship between activists and those groups they are targeting, which makes the outcomes very difficult to predict. As different parties with different interests intervene, they either encourage or inhibit activism.

 

While encouraging actions can take the form of support (such as the thousands of women around the world who posted on social media sharing their stories under #metoo), inhibiting actions may come in the form of information asymmetry (strategies such as filtering and surveillance) from elites.

 

Inhibiting strategies are not limited to authoritarian organisations. Senior managers may also monitor email correspondence of staff, set up structures and hierarchies for access to organisational information, and use information provided by secretive companies to check the status of their employees (for example, blacklisting workers perceived as trouble-makers).

 

Less emotion and more strategic patience

Online activists should understand that the dynamics of reaching collective action might not necessarily be the result of critical thinking, lifelong learning or other dimensions of civic engagement. Journalist Nicholas Kristoff has talked about how the anti-sweatshop movement “risks harming the impoverished workers it is hoping to help” by causing mass job redundancies. Similarly, our main message is that online activism could prompt reactions that will result in unintended and long lasting consequences for the activists involved.

 

A common and frequently used approach that risks these types of consequences is to share emotive information through social media. While this is used to inform and capture people’s attention and mobilise as many people as possible, our study suggests that more thought should be put into the consequences of information sharing and what information is most appropriate to be shared.

 

Activists may need to spend more time and energy to create and share information that is less emotive and help people learn about the underlying causes of problem. For example, the activism videos we have researched and commonly see on the internet are essentially reactive and emotive.

 

The ConversationInstead of focusing on the problem and the need for change, activists can share information that explains why and how the current situation has been created and what can be learned for the future. Online activism in such manner can gradually lead to the development of people who are capable of generating new knowledge and wisdom to respond to changing social environments. However, that requires strategic patience and that is often a scarce resource among activists desperate for change.

 

Author: Shahla Ghobadi, Assistant Professor, Software, Design, Social Activism, University of Manchester

Main image: Sign displaying the #metoo and #timesup message at the Women’s March in San Francisco in January, 2018. Shutterstock/SundryPhotography

Shahla Ghobadi, University of Manchester


This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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When State Street Global Advisors wanted to make a statement about boardroom diversity in companies around the world, they settled on a PR ‘stunt’ that captured public attention and ensured millions of dollars in publicity for their company and their cause.

 

What they didn’t bargain on was themselves being subject to action for a gender-related issue with their own employees to take the gloss off what was a well-executed installation.

 

The bronze statue ‘Fearless Girl’, with hands on hips in a defiant pose, was commissioned and installed near Wall Street in front of the famous Charging Bull statute which itself was commissioned following the stock market crash of 1987 to signal the American people’s strength and power.

 

Fearless Girl was originally installed on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day 2017, accompanied by a call on the companies in which State Street Global Advisors invests to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

 

Since that day, State Street – which has assets under management of nearly $3 trillion — has focused on more than 700 publicly-traded companies without a single woman on their board. Among those companies, 152 have since added a female director to their board and another 34 companies have pledged to do so. The firm has also voted against more than 500 companies that failed to take action.

 

The statue dominated social media from its launch, garnering more than one billion Twitter impressions in the first 12 hours, eventually reaching 4.6 billion impressions and 745 million Instagram impressions over 12 weeks. Millions of dollars in news media value has also been generated.

 

The statue and campaign has been successful in sending a strong diversity call into boardrooms not just in the US but around the world. She is soon to be relocated to Wall Street, opposite the New York Stock Exchange.

 

What wasn’t factored into the campaign was action against the company itself discriminating against hundreds of female executives by paying them less than male colleagues, according to US regulators.

 

In late 2017, the company announced it was paying $5 million to settle charges that it underpaid about 300 of its own female employees. Whilst it has disputed the findings of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programmes relating to salaries back in 2010-11, it decided to cooperate and settle in order to bring about a resolution.

 

The irony in the timing of the settlement of the charges was not lost on many as it occurred while Fearless Girl was still gathering massive attention for its gender-equity goal.

 

It shows that despite the best intentions, such a high-profile marketing ploy ensured intense scrutiny of the company and its own operations and would have caused many red faces at the Boston-based financier.

“We feel comfortable that the issue of gender diversity within our own company is an area where we are very committed,” State Street Global Advisors vice-president of marketing communications and global marketing Liz Serotte, who was part of the team who created the Fearless Girl campaign, told The Australian Financial Review.

 

“We’ve made steady progress and we can point to a lot of the advances that we’ve made in the past five years or so in hiring women at executive levels, [and] promotions of women at executive levels.”

 

Fearless Girl also was met with criticism from the American-Italian artist who created Charging Bull, which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleging that Fearless Girl breached his copyright and distorted his artistic message and vowed to sue.

Main image credit: Flickr Anthony Quintano | quintanomedia

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When it comes to content production and marketing, one of the biggest traps businesses fall into is trying to communicate through too many channels without a clear goal in mind. Thanks to the digital landscape on which we live, there are so many ways to create a message and even more ways to engage with people.

It’s a tremendous opportunity, and one that should not be taken for granted. However, therein lies the issue – many businesses fall under the FOMO spell (Fear Of Missing Out) and try to communicate through too many channels at once in in fear of failing to get their message across.


The end result is a waste of time and resources, and a number of KPIs that may never be met.


When I was a younger PR practitioner, there were times when my competence was judged on how many channels I could come up with to engage with our audience. For a while I was sure that the key to business success was to launch a message through every form of content known to man. The result was an audience who felt they were being spammed.


I soon realised that there was a difference between being strategic and being lazy. In order to ensure your message, and your business, succeeds, you must first ask ‘Why’ – why is this an effective medium for my message? Why will people respond to this form of communication?


I believe in using more than one channel for content production and marketing, but being strategic is vital.


So, how do you choose the right delivery for your content?


While it’s not fun to fail, experimenting with certain content marketing mediums is useful to find out how your audience engages with your brand. Pay attention to the data and take note of open rates, clicks, views and responses to ‘call-to-action’ prompts.


It’s also good to focus more on who you want to specifically engage with, rather than focusing first on how you wish to reach them. An internal newsletter, for example, via Mail Chimp or Vision 6 may be more effective for a mailing list of company members and sponsors.


Deciding on what to actually say should also be a priority over the medium. Would your message be more effective amongst the headlines of a reputable news source, or would it be better conveyed through a video shared through social media?


While there are certainly challenges involved, today’s landscape allows for great potential for the forward-thinking content producer with the ambition to properly utilise what is available.

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Producing high-quality narrative content can be time consuming and expensive. Whether it is based on research, customer testimonials or product focussed, your written content is the foundation of successful marketing.

Well-executed high-impact narrative content will address your buyers’ concerns at every potential stumbling block throughout the buying cycle, easing their worries and ushering them to the next step in the process. Despite its importance many marketers will make the fundamental error of utilising narrative content in too few channels, wasting the opportunity to supercharge their return on investment.

With some simple creative thinking every piece of content can, and should, be utilised across at least five different owned, earned and paid channels. Developing a simple strategy for each and every piece of content you produce to maximise its value across other channels should be a fundamental part of the ideation, planning and execution strategy. This re-purposing of content for alternative channels will supercharge your investment.

START WITH A FOUNDATIONAL PIECE

Over many years as a publicist I’ve learned that high-quality, proprietary research is PR ‘gold’. Insightful research packaged in a good media release can deliver many multiples of return from editorial coverage in the earned media.

But the story should never end there. The narrative essentials of a media release – strong headline, great lead paragraph, some quotes and background contextualisation – are often very specific to their purpose. However, like almost any piece of content produced for a specific purpose, it can form the genesis of countless other pieces.

While a media release is great for sending to journalists and storing on the news section of your website, the re-purposing of it it for other channels will significantly amplify its value.

CREATE A LONG-FORM, SEO-FRIENDLY FEATURE

Some of the most powerful content takes complex ideas and chunks them down into easily digestible bites – that is often the main purpose of a media release. For large parts of your audience, shortening narrative content down to a few hundred words or less is ideal. But for a small part of your audience, particularly if you work in the B2B space, long form content of more than 2,000 words can be extremely engaging and valuable.

Taking the time to expand your media release into a more detailed narrative and integrating an SEO keyword strategy with more of everything may take some time, it is these pieces that often become extremely valuable evergreen content that attracts traffic for months and years.

GO NATIVE

Many marketers often neglect using narrative content in paid media channels. Using narrative content in paid channels is primarily done using native advertising. For the uninitiated, native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.  Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads . They look like part of the editorial flow of the page.

READ MORE: Native Ad Spend Will Make Up Nearly 60% of Display Spending in 2018.

The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb. Highly-engaging narrative content utilising the principals of narrative storytelling are most suited to native advertising.


TELL YOUR TEAM

The main priority of marketers requires that are often focussed exclusively on external audiences. Finding and recruiting new customers is their primary purpose. Sometimes, particularly in large companies, there can be a large disconnect between the way a brand is positioned externally and the way other, non marketing, functions within a company see the brand.

Sharing narrative content and explaining the how, why, what and where it is being used externally is a great way to build a commonality of purpose within an organisation. If product developers know how their work is being sold to customers there should be a much greater alignment of interests.

ADD INTERACTIVE VISUALS

Findings from the 2015 Content Preferences Survey show that a majority (91%) of buyers prefer visual and interactive content rather than traditional, text-based formats. This higher level of buyer engagement offers prospects a more valuable buying experience — while also providing marketers with deeper insights for future marketing initiatives.

Adding interactive elements to popular content formats such as video can boost engagement and lead to greater insights about prospective buyers, experts noted. Short videos, image galleries, infographics, interactive tools, calculators are all great tools to give your narrative content so extra oomph. Even a simple thing like extracting a quote from the piece and turning it into a graphic can improve engagement.

This list is by no means exhaustive but a good start to understanding how getting creative can turn one idea into many opportunities.

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Social media has moved to the front seat of many PR and marketing strategies. Many groups and individuals engage with social media on a daily basis, and when done correctly it can immeasurably boost a brand or message.


One of the biggest challenges presented by social media is knowing the perfect time to engage with users. Some strategies suggest engaging in the morning and afternoon, before and after the audience is focusing on their jobs or day-to-day business. Other strategies prefer relying on social media during the day when people are more likely to be looking at a device.

Some people may ask why it matters – isn’t it more important that the message is out there? But research has found that social media users are more susceptible to messages when they are feeling more positive, and positive and negative emotions have been directly linked to a person’s location and the time of day.

A recent study conducted by the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and the University of Tasmania combined social media such as Twitter and big data analytics, and tied them to real time and place which provided insights that suggested optimal social media engagement.

“Each tweet is tagged with the time it’s posted. Tweet sentiment scores can also be averaged across specific periods, such as hour, day or month. Beyond the general positive effects of parks compared to built-up areas, we found some general patterns that show people tend to be influenced by the time they are tweeting.

“Across the day, from lunch to the end of the work day, people tended to express less and less positivity, before bouncing back in the evening. This change seems to mirror general schooling and working life – that is, how people experience and recover from their work.

“Similarly, there is a general pattern of people being more positive on weekends than weekdays. While this pattern is similar for both parks and built-up areas, parks seem more positive than built-up areas regardless of the day of week.”

You may recall earlier in this piece a reference to location also being a factor in social media receptivity. After analysing 2.2 million Tweets in Melbourne, the researchers found people in parks are more positive than those around areas like major transport hubs, and that tweets in parks contain more positive content than in built-up areas.

For built-up areas in general, negativity is often associated with major transport hubs, perhaps unsurprisingly, and residential areas.

It’s important to note that the study was conducted to illustrate the importance that open spaces like parks have on human wellbeing, but it also revealed some illuminating insights into when people were typically more receptive to social media engagement.

“Hundreds of millions of people around the world use Twitter for updating their family, friends and followers about their daily activities, thoughts and feelings. People sometimes post public tweets that are linked to the location they are sending from. The words in each tweet can be analysed for their emotional content (referred to as sentiment).

“Sentiment analysis categorises each word as positive, negative or neutral, to give an overall score for each tweet. We averaged tweets across the parks that they were posted from, to give an overall positivity/negativity score for each park.

“On average, tweets by people in parks express more joy, anticipation and trust, and lower levels of anger and fear, compared to tweets by people in built-up areas. Being near parks also reduced negativity, but did not affect positivity.

“People might be happier in parks for several reasons. Parks can help them to recover from the stress and mental strain of living in cities, and provide a place to exercise, meet other people, or host special events such as music festivals.”

When you have a story to tell, it’s important to know when people are listening.


References to research were sourced from an article on The Conversation by Kwan Hui Lim, Dave Kendal & Kate Lee. Read the full story here.

The Conversation
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Marketing’s transition from art to science continues to gather pace with top-performing companies almost three times as likely as their mainstream peers to have invested in an integrated, cloud-based technology stack.

Econsultancy’s 2018 Digital Trends report, published in association with Adobe, is based on a global survey of 12,795 marketing, creative and technology professionals in the digital industry across EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific. 

One of the most important takeaways from the report is the impact of marketing technology infrastructure, or tech stack.

The reports showed that while just over one-in-ten respondents have “a highly-integrated, cloud-based tech stack” those that do are almost three times more likely than their mainstream peers to outperform competitors (25% vs. 9%).

The bottom line is the nature of a company’s technology infrastructure can make or break its attempts to provide an optimal experience for customers across a growing number of channels and touchpoints.

Despite this, organisations are most likely to have a fragmented approach with inconsistent integration between technologies, an unsatisfactory state of affairs indicated by 43% of company and 48% of agency respondents.

A lack of integration reduces the chances of providing a seamless customer experience. It can also be frustrating for marketers and other employees who want to go about their jobs without unnecessary restrictions in their ability to acquire, retain and delight customers.



With an ever-growing number of marketing technology point solutions available (more than 5,000 at the last count), it is no surprise that many companies are struggling to build the kind of unifed platform that is increasingly a prerequisite for success.

The other major takeaway from the report was the growing importance of customer experience (CX), as well as the content required to facilitate this. Organisations committed to CX were shown to outperform their peers.

Asked about the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, optimising customer experience (19%) again comes out on top, ahead of data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual (16%) and creating compelling content for digital experiences (14%).

Organisations with a ‘cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives’ are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%).

Just under two-thirds (62%) of companies agree they have ‘a cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of [their] customer’.

The top strategic priority for organisations in 2018 is content and experience management. Almost half (45%) of companies surveyed rank this as one of their three most important priority areas for the year ahead, with a fifth (20%) stating that this is their primary focus.

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