We were unable to hook up (technical hitch) with Emily Breder at the last thupr. This is what she had to say….
I’m from the East Coast, but I work in the Silicon Valley of the MidWest now – Columbus, Ohio. We have a ton of developers for web and mobile here because people flock here from all over the world to go to the Ohio State University. It’s actually a much more diverse place than Washington DC, which is about a half hour from where I grew up.
Because of the diversity of culture and interests here, a lot of amazing innovations have come out of this area, in the last five years especially, and among them is the app I work with, eEvent.com. I was brought on board to help them streamline their message and communications early last year, and over that period of time I had noticed some patterns within the new developments of communication, via social media and email and the rest.
There are the spammers – people who try to generate engagement posting static messages, or direct messages to people who didn’t ask for them. This is for social media or email mostly, but it’s the same behavior we saw in previous years from people who are what I call “serial networkers” – shake as many hands as possible, hand as many business cards out as possible, and hope something sticks. Some are better at this than others, but the end result is the same: shallow connections, and what relationships are built are tenuous at best. Even with people who are successful at this, they tend to be very protective of their connections and resources, which is not sustainable in the new social age. They have to continually re-invent themselves, which is exhausting and draining work.
Then there are the relationship builders. These are people who value quality over quantity, and aren’t worried about “Have I posted (something, anything) today?” Instead, they focus on paying attention to what is happening in front of them, and posting when something relevant comes up. Ideally, it’s formatted in a way that has a longer shelf life, what I call “evergreen” content.
That’s what I do – evergreen content strategy, which is integrated with marketing efforts and every other part of communication. I started doing this after seeing so many people doing something that anyone could do with five minutes of setup time: a google alert with an industry keyword, pick a link at random, post to the social networks once per day. Rinse and repeat. The amount of engagement this racked up is, predictably, abysmal. And it’s shocking how much they charge businesses to do it for them, with no way to measure returns.
The way I do it is quite different. I ask the client to tell me what’s up in their business – what questions they are frrequently answering for their clients, for example – and create blog posts and articles for related organizations in their name outlining that information. These are the foundation, the “evergreen” articles that are linked to by others in the industry and tend to have a long shelf life. These posts send them time, because they can refer their clients to the website, and there’s also a way to measure what topics are most interesting to clients on the backend.
Then, when they have an event of some type I show up and take some pictures or have a few conversations with clients at the event and post about them on their social media. This brings the engagement from offline to online. Then, when they are promoting their next event or product, I create the marketing materials with QR codes linking to the landing pages, or VCards with the contact information of the person they’d need to talk to next. At the end of the month, I look over the analytics for all of the linking and sharing and hits and make a report. Because I’m there and involved, the level of engagement is quite high.
Basically, I design a pathway for new fans to take, from Phase 1 (mildly interested), to Phase five (evangelist for the brand). Phase 1 would be most interested in the “evergreen” content, which established the person or organization as a “go-to” for the industry. Phase 5 would be waiting for the next update with bated breath, finger trembling over the share button. You have to do old-school footwork, but it’s fun and interesting work. The digital tools are just that – tools, and not the focus. It’s the people, not the platforms!
The implications for PR are plain – there is a significant convergence in industry standards for the media at large. I really, REALLY wanted to be able to get some feedback from all of you there today, but the internet refused to comply. I’d love to hear your thoughts and have a conversation with each and every one of you, so either tweet me at @egbreder or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for listening, my best to you
Emily Breder, Communications and Relationships Manager, eEvent, Inc.
Emily Breder works with a wide range of clients, from internet startups to freelance artists, helping them strengthen and grow their clientele organically by developing content that lasts and is integrated with their overall goals. She is a writer and content strategist who can get to the core of any message, and a voracious reader and researcher. Check out her new website emilybreder.com and say hello on Twitter (@egbreder), she would love to hear from you!