…. Make it these five. Joanne McCarthy, PR Consultant at Springboard PR & Marketing, offers her top tips for businesses to get their names out there in 2015.
New years’ resolutions have earned themselves the reputation of too often being broken before the first week of January is out. With that in mind, the best approach to making and keeping new years’ resolutions is surely to keep them simple and practical and focus on the specific rather than the general (“I will do a 20 minute walk every day during my lunch break” rather than “I will lose three stone”). And so, here are our simple, practical and achievable top five new years’ resolutions for businesses with budgets big and small in 2015:
1. Shout it from the rooftops
Irish people could take a leaf out of our American counterparts’ book when it comes to self-confidence. Our self-deprecating humour might be part of our elusive charm, but we shouldn’t let it affect the way we do business. This year, resolve to define the things your business does better than any others. Be able to say it in one sentence. Take the time to incorporate it into your messaging, tell your customers, make sure it’s part of your brand and is evident in everything you do. In short: focus your message, and shout it from the rooftops.
2. Feel the (social media) fear and do it anyway
For the past few years, there has been a relentless ringing in our collective ears telling us to get ourselves on Twitter, to find people on LinkedIn, to Instagram our breakfast and to Snapchat our lunch. There are now so many social networks on the go that conquering them all can feel overwhelming. The good news is, you do not have to use all social media. For 2015, make it your mission to create a social media strategy, and don’t let it slide. Choose the platforms that are most useful to your business, and focus only on them. The key is to have more than merely a vague presence. Social media is about engaging with others, not just sharing links to your own website and offers. Make use of social media in a way that delivers tangible benefits. Pay attention to what people in your industry are posting and sharing. Get involved in the conversation. Grow and maintain your relationship with potential clients and customers, rather than doing a hard sell straight off the bat. And don’t be afraid to share your expertise.
3. Believe in the power of publicity
Positive press coverage is one of the best ways of getting your message out there. The value of editorial endorsement from impartial third parties is worth its weight in gold. The key is to look for angles, or do something newsworthy: plan one strong creative event with a difference this year and secure that coverage. And be aware of opportunities for publicity: you never know where they might arise. The more engaged you are in your industry in terms of media coverage, social media and blogging, the more you will be able to identify and therefore capitalise on opportunities that may arise. Being prepared in terms of messaging and communication means you will be able to take opportunities and work them to your advantage. This year, put a strategy in place so that you are aware of any trends or newsworthy items that may arise, and then you can maximise their potential when they do.
4. If you need help, get it
Your brand identity is one of the most valuable parts of your company. Your logo, signage, website and marketing collateral are the first thing people see about your company. Invest the time and budget in getting them right, and never, ever underestimate the value in having a strong, memorable, noteworthy brand. Your brand should be reflected in everything you and your staff do, in the events you create, in the movements you support, and in the running of your workplace. If you need to get external advice or services to get it right, make this the year that you do it. It will be worth the investment.
5. Make the most of your content
Your content is very important to your image and branding, so take the time to ensure it is strong and conveys the right tone. When you get it right, make the most of it. If you write an article or post a picture, it should be on your website, sent out through social media, and used on your newsletter. Make sure your content can be easily shared with others. Sharing your content isn’t a one-message-fits-all exercise, so tailor it to suit each platform: use catchy, snappy summaries for Twitter, being sure to Tweet relevant parties and use hashtags, but use a more professional tone for LinkedIn. This year, resolve to be pedantic when it comes to getting the most out of your content.