At a time in history when it seems that every day we are experiencing historical events that have the potential to literally change the world around us, how do we, as communications professionals, break through the noise? Forget the noise for a second, what about breaking through the fear, the hype and the panic to tell a story that might actually affect you, your family, your neighbors? Can we? Is it even possible? Does it even matter?
To these questions questions, I submit that the answer is YES. More than ever on both a personal and professional level, it matters. It matters to me personally to know that there are initiatives, programs, events and just some GOOD news in my community. It matters to me as a professional to know that the local media markets all over the country actually want to hear about these initiatives, programs and events and share them with their audiences. It matters. It’s possible. And we can.
Here at Boom we work with some amazing clients. We have the pleasure to be working with The Entertainment Industry Foundation (you’re likely familiar with their Stand Up To Cancer initiative) on a new initiative: Think It Up. Think It Up is the first-of-its-kind platform to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in partnership with DonorsChoose.org. Our role is to maximize the message through Public Service Announcements on TV and Radio. Our focus is to gain national exposure by way of local network affiliates and media outlets. LOCAL. The key here is connecting the dots on a cause or issue that affects people in a specific community and making a case for the media outlet sharing it. Old school, one-on-one outreach. Not syndication/RSS, not viral, not digital. Just connecting a message with an audience. And it works. It’s not immediate, it’s not snappy or chatty. It’s local media relations.
We were thrilled to see that particular campaign firing on all media platforms this week an landing locally. In fact, in my own backyard. A local tie to the initiative was covered in the Denver Post this week…both their online and print editions of hyper local “Your Hub.” The feature focused on the first-ever Think It Up Live event that took place A Columbine High School (in my own Jeffco neighborhood.) Kids and teachers brainstorming ideas for powerful learning projects that will be submitted for crowdfunding on ThinkItUp.org. This initiative matters, the story matters, and local media matters.
Today marks Boom’s 11th birthday! And like any 11-year old, we’ve had to navigate some fairly significant changes over the years. It’s been a wild ride and we know we are possibly entering “that awkward stage,” but for now we’re feeling a little nostalgic.
Remember when broadcast news was the big player when it came to “electronic media?” We do. While the interwebs have been taking us on a wild ride we think our timing launching Boom could not have come at a more interesting time. Here’s a few notable trends that have come, gone or broken onto the media scene this last decade-plus-one:
- Podcasts. Our clients had to have one 9 years ago. Then they didn’t. Now, thanks to Serial we all know what a podcast is again.
- Mommy Bloggers. A whole new species when considering pitching a story, content, or an announcement. Like any good mommy, they call the shots, do it “their way.”
- Social Media. Who’s on it? Your ad team? Your PR team? The web team? These were the questions that needed to be answered these last 11 years. Who’s keeping up? Ironically, the only one that is truly keeping up is probably the 11-year-old next door.
- Video. Time was, a video was a video was a video. Now, and let’s say it together…it’s “CONTENT.”
- Mobile. The newest category of media. Remember when we could fit our flip phones in a pocket or the inside zipper of your bag? Who would have predicted our “devices” (aka “phones”) would be getting bigger these last few years rather than smaller.
- Text-neck. See “mobile” above. Now the challenge is to presume what game, app, or site that “user” is staring at and slip in your message. If your story can’t be told with 6-second content, might need to consider another route.
So there you go. The times as always, are a changin’. And while 11 can certainly be the start of those awkward years, like our 11-year-old selves, ignorance is bliss and we’re ready for the ride.
“Content, content, content” has replaced “location, location, location” as the buzzword de jour. Compelling content is what we need to populate our websites, social media pages and internal comms channels to keep stakeholders engaged with our organizations. We churn it out, but face it…some weeks we look up to find our wells running dry and need to prime the proverbial pump.
One commonly overlooked source of solid content is conferences and conventions. Medical, consumer product, technology, food/beverage or otherwise – all can be a treasure chest of interviews and video footage to use in a variety of ways for many months following the meeting.
Think about it: in-demand thought leaders and key stakeholders all in one place at one time with the backdrop and excitement of a credible, third-party event?Take full advantage!
Certainly, planning ahead will get you the most mileage at the lowest cost – you can book a production crew and a suitable place at the conference site or nearby hotel to conduct scripted interviews with spokespersons, internal leaders/execs as well as capture product demos. But even an impromptu scheduling of a crew to shadow you around a conference can give you hours of material to package and fulfill your content marketing strategy. If nothing else, consider all that footage as “content reserves” to tap into when you’re running short on material to trickle out or to complement other PR/marketing activities.
And don’t forget to package existing content ahead of time to use while you’re at the conference (e.g., video to broadcast on a loop from your booth, or to show prospects on your iPad) and if you have breaking news or something innovative to share, consider conducting a media tour right from the conference.
You may have missed this opportunity for the fall conference season, but don’t get caught leaving content on the (conference) table in the spring! Boom has extensive experience working these events. Contact your rep for a complimentary brainstorm now on ways to make the most of your next conference or convention. Think of it as a gift to yourself that will keep on giving.