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How to Write a Press Release [Free Press Release Template + Examples]

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How to Write a Press Release [Free Press Release Template + Examples]

In today’s world, brands have to generate their own buzz. Consumers aren’t waiting for the daily newspaper anymore to get their news. Instead, they’re scanning headlines on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

One way to control the narrative surrounding your brand is through press releases. Whether it’s sharing a new product release or changes in your organizational structure, a regular cadence of meaningful news can help a company stand out and build mindshare with journalists over time.

In this post, we’ll discuss:

What is a press release/news release?

A press release is an official statement (written or recorded) that an organization issues to the news media and beyond. Whether we call it a “press release,” a “press statement,” a “news release,” or a “media release,” we’re always talking about the same basic thing.

While the heading should contain action verbs, the first paragraph should answer the “who,” “what,” “why,” and “where.” The press release should also contain understandable language and a quote.

Most press releases are succinct at just a page long – two pages tops. Ultimately, companies want to provide enough information so that news outlets have sufficient material for publishing their own stories about whatever the company is announcing in the release.

One thing to remember is that press releases live in the public domain, which means your stakeholders and customers can see them.

So, instead of thinking of a press release solely as a ticket to earning news coverage, consider it as a valuable piece of marketing content.

While there’s no cut-and-dried formula for what a press release should include, here are a few types of occasions to help you carve out a focus for your press release and determine what content would help you broadcast your news in the best way:

Product Launches

The product launch type of press release is valuable to get the word out about the new solutions your organization is offering to consumers.

It should emphasize the product’s specs, pricing, availability, and any other details that may be valuable to consumers.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Organizational change is noteworthy enough to warrant a press release, especially for informing current and future stakeholders about the growth and trajectory of a company.

To announce an acquisition or merger, include details about all organizations involved, information about the merger or acquisition, and quotes from the leadership teams.

Product Updates

Similar to a new product launch, product updates and expansions are also ripe for promotion. Explain what the change is, why it was made, and how it benefits the user.

Events

Press releases are an important component of event marketing to attract promotion from news outlets and other media sources.

You’ll want to include:

  • What the event is about
  • Who should consider attending
  • When and where it will be held
  • Pricing

Grand Openings

Whether you opened up a new office, relocated, or are opening for the first time, announce the details with a grand opening press release.

Announce the date and location the grand opening will be held, who is involved, how the grand opening is being celebrated, and the reason for the move (if applicable).

New Partnerships

Similar to mergers and acquisitions, a press release announcing new partnerships is a mutually beneficial marketing tactic.

To effectively execute this type of release, be sure to write a summary about each company, why the partnership was created, who benefits, and any additional important details for current and future stakeholders.

Rebranding

Rebranding is a difficult thing for any business to do, and it can occasionally result in confusion and awkwardness.

One way to make the transition smoother is by announcing the rebrand with a press release, including details on what is changing, the reason for making the change, dates the changes go into effect, and quotes from the leadership team.

Executive Team Changes

Executives often serve as faces of the company, and a press release functions to kick off this role.

It may include biographical information to establish their credibility along with a photo and other pertinent details.

Awards

When it comes to business excellence, it’s OK to brag. Press releases about awards and accomplishments serve to cement your organization as an authority in your space.

Such a press release includes information about the company and why they were given the award, information about the award itself, and details about the ceremony (if applicable).

When formatting a press release, you want to write it in a newsy, straightforward way so a journalist who might write about it can imagine it as an article on their news site.

To start, here are the basics every press release should include:

  • Your contact information located on the top left corner
  • The phrase “For immediate release” located on the top right
  • A headline that quickly explains the announcement
  • Your business location in the first sentence of the press release
  • A quick bio about your company at the end of your press release.

You also might want to include “###” or another signifier to show the journalist that the release has ended. In the past, this prevented busy journalists from waiting or flipping the page for more information when there was no more news. However, this tradition is still adopted and highly-respected today.

Now, onto the body of your press release:

  • Your first paragraph should state what the announcement while providing some context around your business and what it does.
  • The next two to three paragraphs should include quotes from a company spokesperson or business executive to explain the “why” behind this announcement.
  • Your last paragraph should be an “About Us” section that explains what your company is and what it offers.

In this example, Catbrella Inc., a fictitious ad agency that just gained its 10th Twitter follower after two years of paid social media efforts, announces its achievement in a press release.

Sample press release format by HubSpot, with orange markers highlighting five key areas on the press release: headline, 3 paragraphs, about us section

*Disclaimer: HubSpot is entirely responsible for the silliness of this faux announcement.

Writing a press release to break important company news can help businesses grow better, but doing it right is just as important. Here’s how to write a press release, like the one above, step-by-step.

1. Write a compelling headline.

You’ve got your announcement in mind, and now it’s time to get it down in words to share with your community, industry, and followers.

Just like writing the perfect blog post title, setting up your press release for success starts with your headline. You only have one line to work with, which can seem scary, but consider your words carefully to make your headline captivating.

Here are some tips to make your headline stand out:

  • Use action verbs.
  • Be specific.
  • Keep it short.

Most importantly, make it interesting: Keep in mind that reporters get dozens, if not hundreds, of releases each day, so invest the time to write a compelling headline.

Consumers, on the other hand, see news stories all over their timelines. As such, your headline needs to be interesting enough to reel them in.

2. Convey the news value to the press.

If you want your press release to be newsworthy, you have to give readers a reason to care.

A good way to ensure this is by using the reverse pyramid formula when writing your press release: Going from the most important information to the least important.

While the first paragraph of your release should explain the who, what, where, the second paragraph should cover the why.

Reporters don’t have a ton of time to sift through details and fluffy background information — they just need the facts that’ll help them tell your story to someone else from a position of authority.

There shouldn’t be any new, crucial information covered after these sections because the readers could potentially miss them.

3. Offer a tempting quote.

Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to bring your details to life with a quote that reporters can use for context around your announcement and help paint a picture of how your news affects the given industry, customer base, and landscape.

Ideally, quotes will be from key stakeholders in your company including your executive team, project leads, or those directly impacted by your announcement.

Quoting key figures and authorities underlines the importance of your development. The chosen quote should shape your narrative and emphasize the core of the announcement.

Don’t ask everyone in your office for a comment or feel compelled to quote all 25 people included in the acquisition. Pick one or two critical spokespeople and focus the quotes around their unique perspective.

4. Provide valuable background information on the subject.

In this last paragraph, keep in mind that the reader should already have key details they need regarding your announcement.

Offer details here that strengthen your narrative, like creative or noteworthy ways your company developed the project or announcement at hand. Or, when applicable, comment on the future implications of your announcement.

Another good way to add value to your press release is by using newsjacking. A process of relating your press release to something currently going on to make it more valuable to the journalist and reader.

5. Summarize the “who” and the “what” in a boilerplate.

Twitter is chock-full of reporters lamenting press releases or pitches that don’t clearly explain what the company does or what the announcement is actually about.

Describe what your company does in clear, plain language and include a link to your company’s website early on.

If you cite data, include a reference link for the data source, and make sure every name in the release has an associated title and company as well.

To keep yourself honest on this front, ask a colleague to read the release without context and ask them to relay the information back to you. If they can’t recall the who, what, or why get back to the drawing board.

Press Release Template

This template includes press release templates based on the type of announcement your company wants to make, whether it’s a new product, a partnership, or a change within your organization.

press release template offer from hubspot

Download This Press Release Template for Free

This template also offers creative replacements for the traditional press release and a guide on how to create a comprehensive promotional plan. You’ll have exactly what you need to drive brand awareness and stand out among your competitors.

Press Release Examples

Many people think press releases have to be chock full of buzzwords and branded terms.

“Big data,” anyone? Five-syllable words you have to look up on Thesaurus.com? Quotes from every executive on the planet that go on for pages? We’ve seen it all. Unfortunately, so have reporters – and they are not fans.

Instead of stuffing your next release with industry jargon, take a page out of our book (OK fine, ebook), The Newsworthy Guide to Inbound Public Relations, and brainstorm some creative approaches for your next announcement.

Can you include new data? A remarkable graphic or video? A shareable SlideShare? If so, a creative angle can help carry your content and increase the likelihood of social sharing.

Now, to get you thinking on the right track, take a look at some creative press release examples below, the type of news each one is reporting on, and what makes the release unique:

1. Microsoft

Type of press release: Acquisition

snapshot of press release example from microsoft

Image Source

The first thing that stands out in this press release is the headline. It tells a full story without being too long: It covers who’s involved (Microsoft and Activision), what’s happening (an acquisition), and why it matters (to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone).

Throughout the press release, you get quotes from leaders in both organizations, helping explain the benefit of this acquisition and how it will move the industry forward.

Toward the bottom of the press release, you get additional context surrounding each company’s market share and how this acquisition will impact the industry.

2. Flourish

Type of press release: Team and office expansion

snapshot of press release example from flourish

Image Source

Organizational changes can seem relatively boring. One way to generate some interest is to include visual elements to add more dimension to the story.

In this press release announcing a team and office expansion, venture capital firm Flourish shares photos of some new hires right at the top, immediately drawing readers in.

The release dives into the reason behind the expansion and the key areas of focus moving forward. Then, we get a quick bio for each hire featured in the image, which can help build excitement surrounding the brand’s future.

The key takeaway here is: Don’t be afraid to use visual elements in your press release, as they can help draw readers in.

3. SuperCom

Type of press release: Event

snapshot of press release example from supercom

Image Source

As the shortest press release in the bunch, SuperCom shows that less is often more.

In this release, security solutions company SuperCom announced its participation in an upcoming conference.

When it comes to events, the most important details are date and location. As long as you have those key pieces, everything else is a bonus.

One thing that would’ve elevated this release is a quote on who can benefit from attending this event and why, as a way to reel in potential attendees.

4. HubSpot

Type of press release: Program launch

snapshot of press release example from hubspot

Image Source

We’ve also crafted this comprehensive, easy-to-follow press release template complete with a promotional plan and considerations for your next announcement. We use these same guidelines when writing and formatting our releases here at HubSpot, and created a faux, sample release to illustrate what content goes where and why.

Tips for Publishing Press Releases

Writing a press release is really only half the battle. Once you’re finished with production, it’ll be time to focus on distribution.

Of course, we’re all familiar with the traditional distribution levers we can pull, which include publishing the press release on our website/blog as well as sharing the press release with our followers/subscribers via social media and email.

To get the maximum amount of distribution possible, here are some tips you can follow.

1. Reach out to specific journalists.

Instead of blasting a press release out to every journalist you can find an email address for, focus on a few journalists who have experience covering your industry (and company, hopefully) and send them personalized messages.

Connect the dots. Show why what you wrote connects to what they write.

2. Send the release to top journalists the day before.

Give journalists some time to craft a story around your press release by sending it to them — under embargo — the day before it officially goes live.

“Under embargo” just means they aren’t allowed to share the information in the press release until the time you specify.

3. To avoid competition, don’t publish your release on the hour.

If you’re publishing your press release on a distribution service like PR Newswire or Business Wire, avoid publishing it on the hour (e.g., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m., or 5 p.m.).

The reason? Most companies schedule their releases to go out on the hour, which means if your release goes out on the hour too, it’s more likely to get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, try going with a more distinct time (e.g., 1:12 p.m., or 3:18 p.m., or 5:22 p.m.).

4. Share your media coverage.

If all goes according to plan, and your press release gets picked up by the media, your job still isn’t finished.

To keep the buzz going, you can release a “second wave” of distribution by sharing the specific stories that news outlets write based on your press release.

You can also share the news on your digital channels, like social media and email, to bring awareness to your announcement.

How To Stand Out In The News

The key to keeping your PR strategy new school is forgetting preconceived notions of what public relations is and instead focusing on creating highly remarkable content. Traditional press releases can still be really valuable when executed well.

Instead of ditching releases as a tactic, give them a modern makeover to make them more useful for your marketing.

Think about how you’ve used inbound methods to transform your marketing strategies to be more personalized, approachable, and build relationships. Those same principles apply to your PR strategy: Create content to craft your own story and use tactful outreach to get the media familiar with (and excited about) your brand.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

1716522964 432 Top 3 Strategies for Success

In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

1716522964 713 Top 3 Strategies for Success

If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

Did you follow the Apple iPad Pro content debacle?

Here’s a quick recap. A recent online ad for the new iPad Pro showed a large hydraulic press slowly crushing various symbols of creativity. A metronome, a piano, a record player, a video game, paints, books, and other creative tools splinter and smash as the Sonny and Cher song All I Ever Need Is You plays.

The ad’s title? “Crush!”

The point of the commercial — I think — is to show that Apple managed to smush (that’s the technical term) all this heretofore analog creativity into its new, very thin iPad Pro.  

To say the ad received bad reviews is underselling the response. Judgment was swift and unrelenting. The creative world freaked out.

On X, actor Hugh Grant shared Tim Cook’s post featuring the ad and added this comment: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

When fellow actor Justine Bateman shared the Tim Cook post, she simply wrote, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” Other critiques ranged from tone-challenged to wasteful to many worse things.

Actor Justine Bateman shared Tim Cook’s post on X, which featured the ad, and added this comment: "Truly, what is wrong with you?".

A couple of days later, Apple apologized and canceled plans to air the ad on television.

How not-so-great content ideas come to life

The level of anger surprises me. Look, the ad does show the eyeballs on an emoji-faced squishy ball popping under the plates’ pressure, but still. Calling the ad “actually psychotic” might be a skosh over the top.

Yes, the ad missed the mark. And the company’s subsequent decision to apologize makes sense.

But anyone who’s participated in creating a content misfire knows this truth: Mistakes look much more obvious in hindsight.

On paper, I bet this concept sounded great. The brainstorming meeting probably started with something like this: “We want to show how the iPad Pro metaphorically contains this huge mass of creative tools in a thin and cool package.”

Maybe someone suggested representing that exact thing with CGI (maybe a colorful tornado rising from the screen). Then someone else suggested showing the actual physical objects getting condensed would be more powerful.

Here’s my imagined version of the conversation that might have happened after someone pointed out the popular internet meme of things getting crushed in a hydraulic press.

“People love that!”

“If we add buckets of paint, it will be super colorful and cool.”

“It’ll be a cooler version of that LG ad that ran in 2008.”

“Exactly!”

“It’ll be just like that ad where a bus driver kidnaps and subsequently crushes all the cute little Pokémon characters in a bus!” (Believe it or not, that was actually a thing.)

The resulting commercial suffers from the perfect creative storm: A not-great (copycat) idea at the absolutely wrong time.

None of us know what constraints Apple’s creative team worked under. How much time did they have to come up with a concept? Did they have time to test it with audiences? Maybe crushing physical objects fit into the budget better than CGI. All these factors affect the creative process and options (even at a giant company like Apple).

That’s not an excuse — it’s just reality.

Content failure or content mistake?

Many ad campaigns provoke a “What the hell were they thinking?” response (think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad or those cringy brand tributes that follow celebrity deaths).

Does that mean they’re failures? Or are they mistakes? And what’s the difference?

As I wrote after Peloton’s holiday ad debacle (remember that?), people learn to fear mistakes early on. Most of us hear cautionary messages almost from day one.

Some are necessary and helpful (“Don’t stick a knife in a live toaster” or “Look both ways before you cross the street.”) Some aren’t (“Make that essay perfect” or “Don’t miss that goal.”)

As a result, many people grow up afraid to take risks — and that hampers creativity. The problem arises from conflating failure and mistakes. It helps to know the difference.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to become a rock ‘n’ roll musician. I failed. But it wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t wrong to try. My attempt just didn’t work.

Labeling a failed attempt a “mistake” feeds the fears that keep people from attempting anything creative.

The conflation of failure and mistakes happens all too often in creative marketing. Sure, people create content pieces (and let’s not forget that there are always people behind those ideas) that genuinely count as mistakes.

They also create content that simply fails.

Don’t let extreme reactions make you fear failures

Here’s the thing about failed content. You can do all the work to research your audience and take the time to develop and polish your ideas — and the content still might fail. The story, the platform, or the format might not resonate, or the audience simply might not care for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.

Was the Apple ad a mistake? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Was it a failure? The vitriolic response indicates yes.

Still, the commercial generated an impressive amount of awareness (53 million views of the Tim Cook post on X, per Variety.) And, despite the apology, the company hasn’t taken the ad down from its YouTube page where it’s earned more than 1 million views.

The fictional Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That is life.” The Apple ad turns that statement on its head — Apple made many mistakes and still won a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t criticize creative work. Constructive critiques help us learn from our own and others’ failures. You can even have a good laugh about content fails.

Just acknowledge, as the Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “Not every mistake is a foolish one.” 

Creative teams take risks. They try things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes they fail (sometimes spectacularly).

But don’t let others’ expressions of anger over failures inhibit your willingness to try creative things.

Wouldn’t you love to get the whole world talking about the content you create? To get there, you have to risk that level of failure.

And taking that risk isn’t a mistake.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 



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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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