When a single customer has the power to tell the world precisely what they think of your business, what people are saying about your service and product is increasingly important. But why is this the case? And how should you encourage this?
Why is it important to get people talking?
It goes without saying that the biggest businesses tend also to be those that are the most talked about. But what came first? Were they big companies and so people talked about them? Or did they become big because of the fuss that surrounds them?
Whilst there is no definitive answer to that question, there is strong evidence that engaging prospects and creating conversations about your business drives word of mouth, boosts brand awareness and maximises the chances that people will become paying customers.
By creating and publishing stories about your business, you can drive and steer the narrative, encouraging people to spread the word and form positive associations with your brand.
PR can help here by giving people something to talk about, and shaping the conversation in the best way possible. Even the smallest of businesses can create buzz and transform that energy into sales.
But what grabs attention?
How do you ensure your business gets the attention it deserves? Part of the answer is great content. Research shows that businesses publishing quality content online attract up to eight times more web traffic than those who don’t.
News content is particularly powerful. Our own analysis shows that pages detailing new developments attract four times more traffic than other forms of content, and are ten times more likely to be the first page on a website that first visitors land on.
That is not to say there is no value in other forms of content. Case studies and thought leadership pieces are also proven to attract new visitors. Plus, this kind of quality content also increases your chances of engaging visitors, encourages them to spend longer on your website and positions its authors as credible experts in their field.
How do you present what you create?
Before throwing out your content for all the world to see, you must understand your audience, the challenges they face and also the channels, groups and places of discussion they frequent.
Consistency of content is crucial. Posting information and updates on a regular basis keeps your business in the public eye and encourages potential customers to return to your website on a more frequent basis. Plus, the frequency at which websites are updated is an important factor, in driving search engine ranking performance.
Who is doing this well?
Red Bull’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking skydive is a fantastic example of a PR campaign that was delivered primarily through online and social media, and started discussion around the world.
His mission to break the sound barrier without engines in 2014, was named the Stratos campaign. The campaign has racked up over 44 million views on Red Bull’s YouTube account and the company saw sales increase by seven percent in the six months that followed.
Another example of excellent PR delivered online is the virtual archive campaign launched to celebrate Mr Men’s 45th birthday in 2016. The aim of the archive was to remind people of their fond memories for the brand and create a nostalgic element for all ages, and also featured a real world museum in London to showcase rare and unusual Mr Men items.
The campaign’s success directly translated into brand awareness and benefit for the company. Not only did the museum have 20,000 visitors over a five day period, but the Mr Men website had 50% more visitors. Just over nine million consumers were reached online and there was an uptick in the amount of merchandise sold.
How conversations turn prospects into paying customers
Creating a strong media presence takes time, effort and regular attention. But even more essential, is a strong foundational message. Once this is clear and recognised inside a business, its promotion to the outside world is much easier and more effective.
This combination of attractive content and effective distribution gives business’, independent of their size or budget, the opportunity to ensure potential customers interact with, and think of, their brand positively.