It’s time for us to share chapter 26 of #FuturePRoof and it’s by Gini Dietrich, who reveals her insights on how to communicate in ways which drive business growth.
Share your own insights with us over on Twitter at @WeArePRoofed
COMMUNICATING IN WAYS THAT DRIVE BUSINESS GROWTH Gini Dietrich
• The role of social media in generating qualified leads
• About the conversion process and how to create a customer journey with relevant content
• How to generate ideas for content with personality
Traditionally, public relations has been thought of as a top-of-the-funnel activity. It brings people to your website, to your business or motivates them to pick up the phone and call you, but it hasn’t always been considered a great way to educate prospective customers on your business and nurture them through the decision-making process.
That, of course, has all been upended with the advent of social media, companies becoming their own publishers and even using content in email marketing to help generate qualified leads.
Now we can be as responsible as marketers for generating leads, nurturing them and helping to convert them. There is a lot of content you can create for each step in the buying decision. It’s broken down by top, middle and bottom, which also is an easy way to plan your content.
At the very top, of course, is how people find out about you: the social networks, blogging, search engine optimization, email marketing, media relations, blogger relations and other types of content you might produce.
Once they land on your site, you should have a content plan to take them from “kicking the tires” to “I cannot wait to hire these guys!”
That plan should include:
• The very broad content at the top that helps a prospect become educated about an issue, challenge or solution. For instance, “What does a PR firm do?”
• The discovery content in the middle. This is where a prospect begins to trust you. You’ve answered the question they have in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Now they want to know how they might successfully hire a PR firm.
• The consideration content at the bottom. They are ready to buy…and have likely narrowed down their choices to you and one or two other organizations. This is where you can begin to talk about yourself, but not from your point of view. You have to do it from their perspective, which is why case studies and testimonials are so powerful here.
At the top, you’re giving content away. In the middle, you have some free content and some behind a landing page so you can begin to collect email addresses. The bottom answers questions such as what it’s like to work with you and how much you cost.
Plan your content
As you plan your content, you want to think about your goals, your audiences, and your metrics.
• The top (or broad content) goals should simply be to build industry awareness, attract links and reach new audiences.
• The middle (or discovery content) goals should be to create awareness of a solution you have to an industry problem, awareness of your organization and help prospects to remember you.
• The bottom (or consideration content) goals should be to build product awareness and convert prospects to customers.
Now it’s time to figure out your specific topics.
For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll use how one might hire and work with a PR firm as the topic.
See how this content is very broad?
The keyword used here is “PR firm,” but there are six different pieces of content that a prospect might search to figure out if they need to hire a PR firm.
Pretty much anyone interested in what a PR firm does, or in hiring a PR firm, will land on this content. They may or not be a good lead, but it provides an opportunity to capture their attention and lead them to the discovery phase.
Middle of the Funnel content
This gets a bit more in-depth. Now we’re answering questions for information searches.
The content starts to give the visitor information on what to do next—what to expect, what kinds of questions to ask and who already uses a PR firm successfully. It also begins to qualify a lead and bring only the best prospects to you and/or your sales team.
Bottom of the Funnel content
At the bottom (when people are getting ready to make a decision), you can provide content that shows your key differentiators, your process, and your positioning statement.
This is where it’s time to talk about what makes you different. Everything to this point has been demonstrating the way you think and building trust through a computer screen.
Now you can plan your content to provide the best information about your organisation and your products or services.
Do a test run
To plan your content, you should do a test run right this very second.
Seriously, stop reading and pull out a notebook or open Keynote or PowerPoint. Draw three circles. Label them just as I have above: Top-of-the-funnel, middle and bottom.
Then re-read the content goals for each phase above.
Now, choose a topic. Any topic, but make it one that prospects are always curious about when you finally speak to them. It could be pricing or delivery or warranty or just education about your industry.
Pull out your phone and set a timer for two minutes. Then fill in as many broad topics as you can in the first circle. When the timer goes off, reset it and do the same for your middle-of-the-funnel circle. Just write headlines around your topic. Then do it for the third circle.
It may not be exactly as you want, but in the last 10 minutes, you likely created 15-20 different pieces of content you can create around one topic.
This is how you plan your content and become very intentional, without it seeming like you’re a robot and don’t have personality.