Digital has changed how communications work. In a recent survey 54% of journalists say that they can’t do their job without social media, and 27% of policymakers said that this was their principal channel through which they find out what academics were up to. So if you want to be noticed in the digital age then there are some steps you will need to take.
Step 1 - Stop using PDFs - People aren’t reading them.
The World Bank looked at its website stats from 2008 to 2012 to see if anyone was reading its reports, which were available as PDFs to download. It turned out a third of these reports had never been downloaded – not even once. PDFs also don’t work well with social media . The good news is that there are plenty of ways that your PDF documents can be turned into web-friendly content. These range from simply changing the format to wholesale re-imaging with the use of videos, infographics, timelines and data visualisations to tell your story.
Step 2 - Start having real conversations
Business leaders often ask what the value is in poking their heads above the social media parapet. Yet the real cost is in not getting involved. In the pre-digital age, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 caused shares to drop but they quickly rebounded. In 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster BP’s share fell by half. While other factors were involved, social media contributed to the reputational damage as negative stories are exactly what the internet looks for to tempt readers – and you need to be there to respond. It’s crucial to get your business’ leaders and spokespeople into the digital space. Whether this is encouraging them to start blogging, tweeting or podcasting, or doing ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions on Reddit.
Step 3 - Take the wider view
Key decision makers have always been influenced by the people they engage with - by their wider circle. Until digital emerged it was hard to identify who those influencers were, but now we have a much better idea. By looking at social media and applying statistical models, you can find those who are engaging with your stakeholders with more frequency than the wider social community. The same tools make it possible to identify those who are hyper-connected to others in the Twitter community – in other words, the very people who are important in spreading messages.
Step 4: Putting it all together - the userflow
Shopping online is becoming second nature to many of us and this isn’t by accident. A good deal of time and effort and has gone into removing any barriers between you and the ‘buy’ button. The same approach needs to be adopted when engaging with stakeholders and journalists. This means thinking about the userflow from when someone in your target audience sees one of your tweets or gets an email from you. It means contacting people via the method they prefer the most. It means creating the right content for that channel that you are using. It means directing people to webpages where they can read and engage with your content equally well on their mobile, tablet or computer. This is a process that those who work in retail now do almost innately – for those of us who work in communications it’s time to catch up.
Not sure how to do this? Then I can help you
On the 23rd February I will hold a training session entitled ‘ Getting noticed in the digital age - The 4 steps you need to take’. You can book your place now:
If you are someone who works in campaigns or communications, who is planning a campaign or has a lot of experience but doesn’t feel comfortable with using digital this session is for you. By attending you will get an introduction to key frameworks, an introduction to the right tools to use, and examples of what has and hasn’t worked.
Don’t miss out
Places at the session are limited, so please book early. As an added incentive for the first 5 sign ups there