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NOT YA MAMA’S MARKETING: HOW TO CREATE BUZZ & MAKE NEWS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

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Businesses have had to shift the way they think about marketing and public relations amid seismic changes from the rise of social media as a news source and an onslaught of millennials entering the workforce.

“Everybody’s using digital tools to communicate, and what’s really interesting, especially in the world of PR, is that everybody’s getting their news from these digital channels,” says Blair Broussard, senior vice president of AR|PR, a public relations and marketing firm. “The way we reach these people has had to change. The way we serve our clients, even five years ago when we started this business, is not how we’re servicing them today.”

Broussard used a recent Tech Park Academy session at the Louisiana Technology Park to discuss the 360-degree approach she uses to create buzz and drive leads for her clients through digital channels. Here are some of the key takeaways from her presentation.


Define the Goals and Objectives


The best digital marketing starts with your overall business goals. All too often, people will think, ‘I want to get in TechCrunch.’  And while this would be an exciting win, Broussard says, what they should be thinking about is how their PR and marketing connect with those bigger goals for the next quarter or year.

She gave an example of a company that wants to increase sales by a given percentage. To get there, it should first break down the specificindustries in which it wants to see sales increase, then determine what channels buyers in that industry pay attention to.

Broussard says the company should then try to understand these potential customers. Who are they? How do they know your company? What are their interests? Once you think you’ve identified who them, you can develop a strategy to communicate with them, Broussard says — and then you can develop a plan that helps you achieve your organization’s goals.


Get to Know Your SEO


Next you should gain an understanding of your SEO before moving forward, Broussard says. “You don’t have to be an SEO/SEM expert,” but having someone on your team who at least knows the basics is “incredibly important to everything you’re going to do digitally,” she says.

“You’re going to need to know what your top keywords are,” Broussard says. For this you may need to spend some time understanding what words a customer would type in a search engine to organically find you or one of your competitors.

She recommends using Google’s free keyword tool to see top keywords and how frequently they are used in searches. Broussard says a good keyword is one with high volume of search and low competition.


Understand the Inbound Process


“Whoever your target audience is, you need to attract them with compelling, educational content that addresses their needs,” Broussard says. This is the first step in the inbound process. What you’re really trying to do here is offer solutions to a problem you know your audience will likely have. The content is not meant to be self-promotional; you’re not using it to directly sell a product, but instead to display your expertise.

Using calls-to-action in videos, white papers, blog posts and other content can transform website traffic from unknown visitors into trackable leads. Again the idea here is to use informative but persuasive content to demonstrate your expertise and build interest from your audience.

Now that you’ve captured leads with content, you’ll need to nurture those leads with targeted, personalized content, she says. Here you can reach out with special offers and try to set up a sales call.

Broussard says it’s also important to identify promoters as the last step of the inbound marketing process. These are champions of your brand. “Those are the people who love your product so much, they’ve started to tweet about it,” Broussard says. “You want to identify these people and continue to nurture them to champion you. Those are your best customers.”

Stephen Loy