How marketing & communications is like having braces

braces

Marketing and communications is like having braces.

Stay with me here.

I have #adultbraces. I never had braces as a kid, so this is my only experience. It’s painful, awkward and annoying. But the end result will be (better be!) straight teeth, a healthy smile and aligned bite.

But it doesn’t happen overnight. Just like your communications efforts don’t happen overnight.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Yep – I just used that cliché. Teeth don’t move in a week…it takes years. Your awareness efforts do too. So does rebuilding your reputation after a crisis. Anyone who wants results after one month does not understand communications.

It takes monitoring and maintenance.
For the last 18 months, I have gone to the orthodontist every three to four weeks for everything from consultations and teeth molds to having teeth pulled and getting wires tightened. Just like your campaign, you have to constantly monitor what you are doing.

You may have to adjust.
When I started this process, the goal was 24 months to a perfect smile. After a year, it was apparent my teeth were moving at a snail’s pace. The orthodontist had to re-evaluate and try something else. If it’s not working, don’t keep doing it. You may need to try something new.

You are never done.
After my braces are off, my orthodontist said I will have to wear a retainer every night. This ensures that my teeth stay put. It’s the same with your marketing and communications efforts. You are never done. You may have completed a certain campaign, but that doesn’t mean you stop marketing your brand and communicating to your audiences.

 

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Create value often

value

This originally appeared on CUinsight.com. It is written for credit unions, but the advice can be used for any organization.

I attended a conference last month and one of the speakers said this:

“Create more value for more people more often, so when it’s time to choose, they choose you.”

This couldn’t be more true. This means if you regularly provide folks with information, resources, advice (whatever it may be) they will remember you when it’s time to make a buying decision…or when they are ready to switch financial institutions.

The good news is you are probably already doing this! Here’s three simple, yet effective ideas to keep you top of mind to your consumers.

Offer a free download.
Have a budgeting seminar? Offer a free toolkit or e-book with a budgeting worksheet or five budgeting tips. Go one step further and offer information about credit score, or another personal finance information…something a consumer can really use. Share it on social and post it on your website and people will remember to go there for information.

Weekly tips.
Offer a tip here and there (social media is a great place to post these) and your audience will remember you when they need you. For example, let’s say a member follows you on Facebook. He’s a teacher at a local school. He sees you offering advice or free downloads. The school wants to offer financial literacy seminars. Who do you think he’ll think of? You, of course!

Media resource.
Submit an article or provide a relevant story idea to your local media. It’s no secret journalists are strapped for time and resources. By offering ideas to them, the next time they have a story related to your industry, they’ll contact you first. Just be sure to follow up with them in a timely manner!

There are countless other ways to create value for consumers. Be creative! And remember it takes time. If your content is helpful, informative or entertaining, consumers will take note.

Journalists Need More than a Press Release From PR Pros

journalists need more than a press release
This was originally posted on CUinsight.com

Your credit union has lots of great stories to tell. Getting those stories in the hands of journalists and influencers can be challenging.

You may think journalists have email overload, just like everyone else. You are right, but consider this: according to a recent survey by PWR New Media, 88% of journalists say they want to hear from you via email.

But here’s the caveat: they want more.

Journalists and bloggers need easy to read, concise information, accompanied by shareable visuals, with access to background information and other graphics.

What does this mean?

It means in addition to your written press release, you should include one or more of the following:

  • high resolution photos or downloadable images
  • shareable infographic
  • tweetable pull quotes/appropriate Facebook post
  • in-depth data or statistics that support your information
  • links to background or supporting information
  • b-roll or other appropriate video
  • relevant audio sound bites

Not convinced? Of the journalists surveyed, 77% said they would be more likely to cover a story if it included access to appropriate images.

Here’s more:

  • 85% want relevant backgrounders, bios and supporting information
  • 78% want verbiage from news release
  • 46% want a link to relevant blog on topic
  • 41% want information about brand’s social media platforms so they can follow or view

While newsrooms are shrinking, reporters are expected to do more. Newspaper journalists write articles and produce short videos to post online. Reporters at radio stations must also include a print version of their story, complete with graphics. Television journalists are expected to write online content to post on websites, in addition to their traditional broadcast segment. Hunting down a headshot, video or background information isn’t something journalists have time to do.

Your job as a communications professional is to make the media’s job as easy as possible. By providing a variety of elements with your press release, you are more likely to receive coverage and tell your credit union’s story.