Month: June 2015

Tips for building a strong relationship with the community

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How does the community that surrounds your business view your business — or how does your business interact with the community that is around it? Community relations is about more than converting people into customers. It’s about forging strong relationships or partnerships with non-profit groups or community organizations to show that you are interested in more than simply selling products or services; your company is also interested in improving the world around it.

Developing relationships with local community organizations is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that it reflects well on your business and can lead to more customers. How your company goes about fostering such relationships will help increase its profile and create a positive image for it.

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Find a Good Match

Ideally, creating a partnership or relationship with a community group will be an organic process, or at least, it should look like it. The organizations your company partners with should make sense from the point of view of the public. For example, if you run an entertainment law firm, you might consider partnering with a non-profit performing arts organization that supports artists in the early stage of their careers; your firm could provide pro bono legal services to artists who might have questions about copyright or contracts. If you own a restaurant, you might strike up a relationship with a local food bank or soup kitchen.

Having a full understanding of the needs of the community or organization, what it has experienced in the past, and what it hopes to gain from a partnership are all critical to the success of your relationship. Is there are a demand in the community for what your partnership will bring about?  Has the community organization tried to work with businesses in the past, only to not have the relationship work out?  Have clear objectives about what you each hope to accomplish and possible pitfalls to avoid.

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Find Ways to Get Involved

Once you’ve found an organization to partner with, you want to look for ways to bring the partnership to life. The options available range from staging the occasional event, such as a charity auction to raise money for the group, to ongoing programs, such as having your employees volunteer for a certain number of hours each week with your partner organizations.

If your company offers a service, your team could donate them to a group in need. A company in the food industry, for example, could prepare or serve meals at a local shelter or soup kitchen. If your business is the environmental or construction space, your employees could help plant a community garden or volunteer with a local rehab project.

Tell the World

 Your company’s partnership with a community organization can be purely altruistic. But, developing community partnerships is also an ideal opportunity for improving your business’ public image and can be a strategic PR move.

People want to work with companies or give their business to companies that are committed to the neighborhoods or areas they serve and that go out of their way to somehow become part of the larger community. If your business has successfully partnered with a local group, there’s  no reason not to let the public know about that partnership. Use the standard methods of PR, such as news releases, press conferences, and coverage in local media, to spread the word of the project.

Building strong community relations and creating a PR strategy to promote those relationships will not only raise awareness about your brand in the eyes of the public. It can also pave the way for future partnerships  or projects, so that your business can continue to give back to those around it.

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How to make the most of content marketing

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As more and more people are able to skip or otherwise avoid the commercials that play during TV shows or bypass ads online, marketers have gotten smarter about the way they reach out to consumers. With content marketing, the focus is on providing useful information to a consumer, instead of directly pitching a product or service to him or her.

When well done, content marketing builds trust with consumers, ultimately converting them into customers. Selling isn’t the direct focus of content marketing, even though the goal is to win people over.  Although it can be more effective than traditional marketing and advertising, there are a few potential issues with content marketing.  For one, it’s getting to be a crowded field out there, so it can be tougher to make your company’s content stand out. There’s also a tendency to “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” when it comes to content, instead of figuring out which methods make the most sense for your company. Whether you have been using content marketing for some time now or are just getting started, there are ways to make it work best for you.

Find the Balance Between Quality and Quantity

There was a time when having the most content was better than having the best content. But, now the focus is on quality over quantity. That said, there is still some value in finding the best ways to reach your audience and in trying multiple approaches. For example, putting out one blog post per month, even if it is well-written and fun to read for your audience, is probably not going to help you  make the most of your content.

Along with producing top-quality content, you need to find the way to get it in front of your customers. That can mean writing a blog post, then promoting it over social media and email. It can also mean turning the subject of an excellent or popular blog post into a video or a podcast, so that it can reach an even greater audience.

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Know Your Audience

Different demographics consume content differently. For example, as this infographic from NewsCred shows, the Millennial generation is most likely to find content through a Google search or on Facebook and is most likely to share content they like on Facebook. That means that if your goal is to reach people in their 20s and early 30s and you’re not focusing on Facebook, you’re missing the a big part of your intended audience.

Focus on the Memorable Aspects of Your Content

Once you know who you’re directing your content to, the next step is to find a way to make your content memorable or to make it stand out in what’s most likely a very crowded sea of content marketing. The best content does three things:

  •  Tells a storyContent that tells a story not only stays with a customer longer, it also creates a fuller picture of what your company is doing and makes your business more relatable. When reading a story on your blog, a customer might be able to put him or herself in the shoes of the person the story is about or otherwise relate to it.
  • Uses descriptive language or imagery. Descriptive language or eye catching imagery also makes your content worth reading.
  • Sparks the customer’s imagination. No one wants to read a blog post that’s just a bunch of numbers or raw data. They want something that sparks excitement and something that helps them imagine what working with your company or otherwise being part of the story would be like.

Measure Your Marketing

If you aren’t measuring your content marketing in some way, you have no way of knowing how it is performing or whether it is worth your time to keep going in the same direction. One way to measure your marketing is to look at who is coming to look at your content, how long they are staying, and whether or not they take the time to look at other pages on your site.

One tool that can help you measure your marketing’s data is Google Analytics. When you placing a tracking code on your webpage, you are able to see what types of content are doing the best and what sources are directing the most people to you.

Although it’s a useful tool, content marketing can be a big waste of time if it doesn’t ultimately convert readers into customers. Finding what works and measuring results allows you to maximize your content marketing without putting too much stress or strain on your company.