Is your communication attention worthy?

I am on LinkedIn, like a lot of professional, I wish to participate into this great sphere of sharing. But I also notice a lot of not-so-worth-it content shared by companies and spread by individuals (usually employees of these companies) to create the “buzz”. It shows how blurred the lines between internal and external communications are: Companies are using internal communications message on external platforms like Linkedin. It creates background noise and make the search for useful information somehow more painfull.

I found myself hesitating sometimes to connect as I have some fear to waste my time reading a lot of internal news from companies I am acquainted to and little content which really help me grow my professional acumen.

As for personal life, the business world is more and more cluttered with information and content and everyone is trying to be louder than the next, more present by posting more regularly. Unfortunately it is a vicious circle that serves mostly content producers and PR experts (sorry guys…) and less the fame and profit of businesses.

For small businesses, where most communications are in-house /freelance generated content; the direction to make communications efficient to bring business or recruit is to focus on external communications messages. Let me bring some tips to the table to help you navigate external engagement.

Just to set the scene, i would like to remind the basic of « Newsworthyness » in the old fashion way of journalism. the formula was basic :

Impact x Timing / Currency = worth of the news => the distance the news could travel : local, national, global

How is impact calculated:

News Impact = Proximity x Human interest x OR (Proeminence ; Angle ; Bizarre)

Let use an example : A house is burning.

Proximity = how relatable is the news to the audience => Your neighbour’s house relate to your community, the city townhall burning relate to the all city inhabitants;

Proeminence = how known are the protagonist => The White House burning attracts the global news-sphere.

Human interest = how does that speak to our humanity => Your neighbour’s house is burning where one firefighter got hurt relates to your region, even your country when fires’ death are uncommon.

Bizarre = how => Your neighbour’s house hosted anything special – from wild animals, Dark Magic Cult and it can become national worth.

Currency = Seasonality has its trends => The house burns on Valentine’s Day and kill 2 people because of the candles around the house, it can make the News because it is related to current season.

Novelty / Angle = Anything that present a new characteristic is of interest => a house burns in LOndon, no novelty. First time a house burn on Mars, novelty!

Timing = easy one = the most recent the best.

Ok, That enough for the « newsworth-attention-grabbing » for TV? print reporting, I am sure you got the picture.

What’s in for the business communication? What brings efficiency ?

The corporate communication has evolved from news stream to content stream, from informing to grabbing the attention for the longest time possible. Corporations participate into this flow not always knowing ways to measure the positive impact of their activities because they have not always pin down the « why? » behind their external communication.

=> So your first step is « what is your goal ?» let check the TOP 3 Answers

Top 1 answer: « selling more »

– that works – and then you need to know what makes your product attractive, what is its USP ?
It is the USP you will need to illustrate using newsworthy attributes, get right potential customers to get a clear understanding of your benefit and a trigger to push them down the funnel, one step at the time.

Top 2 answer: « build brand awareness »

– sure – considering the clutter, you wish to be remembered fast and then repeat the message often enough (not every three hours, this is called harassment) for the brand to stick. be careful, Brand awareness is neither top of mind nor brand association. It is the fact of knowing the brand so people are comfortable enough with it to consider buying it. The most memorisable stories are emotional ones, the one you connect with.

Be careful though, be idea is to be remembered as a brand, not just a good story that the brand quickly disappears from. The typical example is:

«  you remember that ad where the dog is singing – funny, isn’t it? what was the brand behind it?? »

Because there is no particular reason to associate the brand in question with a dog, the association is not obvious (maybe this ad was directed to dog lovers who usually sing in their car ?) => it makes it kind of a niche audience for a TV ad in this case.
ok enough hints, I let you find out here.

Top 3 answer: « build loyalty »

– that works too and then your business needs to know who are your customers, what do they wish to learn and experience with your brand before starting producing content. Loyalty will come with care and understanding but also Support = many customer ask support questions on companies social media page, be ready to address these questions fast and professionally.

Your external communication should be about addressing the experience they wish to have, and learning you can offer (for free) from you business acumen. Here your business brings value to the community as a whole.

This post is already too long to go on, I will follow up on the topic next month on the internal communications topics.

If you have any remarks or questions about this post, please get in touch!

Writing for corporate

I created a piece of corporate comms eight years ago – for a former employer – to promote well the doers in our field in a qualitative format: a well designed magazine sent to our database (5000 people) was chosen. This was a success so it was maintained as an annual rendez-vous of the sector. Eight years later this format is too crowded and cluttered.

They lately asked me how to improve it, It made me realised how easy a successful editorial rendez-vous can loose its impact with time.

Corporate editorial here is about what the company wishes to convey not advertising to the masses. There are three basic tricks in this areas that can quickly make the difference to set something up and successfully sell it to the board:

  • Assess purpose within context

Keep track of the objectives behind any piece of communication that goes to the public – when the universe involves the tools to communicate should evolve with it in the flow when you do not wish to disrupt or disruptively when you wish to.

  • Define relevant audience and how to attract them

One should ask oneself : Who should read it? What should expect to get out of it? vs. who reads me and what do they want to read or see?

  • Structure content in the relevant format to ease memorisation

How do you read best a data heavy piece of content? or a visual representation? Are the key messages analytical or deductive? What is the way your desired audience is used to receive this type of information? do not hesitate to split on different formats.

Assessing the impact of a format has become easy with the development of feedback app and web-based survey software to obtain unbiased and useful feedback that would serve your purpose. It is paramount to act on, not only consult. If one spend time in advising you, you must at least let one know what you plan on doing with it.

The magazine format is very efficient, but the content have to be purposed to have its traction with people who wish long and deep reading. It is a matter of working out whether it make sense for what the company wants to convey, and be established it back where it belongs.

If you feel your corporate communications tools needs a revamp, do not hesitate to get in touch, we can help.