When it comes to corporate communications, the writing is on the wall. Companies and their top managers need to develop a top-down approach to their online business, including social media, or find themselves left in the dust. The data supports this suggestion.
IBM conducted a study of over 1,700 CEOs called "Leading Through Connections," which found that a growing number (57 percent) of executives planned to increase social media engagement over the next several years. It also concluded that engaging customers in more innovative ways, such as by publishing content, is one of the best ways to make meaningful connections.
Content is more important than ever in today's modern business world. A majority of American's own and access the internet from their smartphones. Content is how buyers make key choices, valued employees find their next job, and reporters source a new story. Some executives have already embraced blogging and writing articles, while others may just need a little inspiration to get started.
The benefits that experts receive from writing articles could be just the motivation you need to sit down in front that keyboard and start making a few notes.
Boost Your Bottom Line Results
Raise your hand if you'd like for your business to make more money. Who wouldn't jump at this opportunity? The truth is that online content helps drive traffic to your website and your business in the best way possible.
Assuming you are already trying to drive traffic to your website, you may be using paid ads, which are expensive, or just relying on the hope that consumers will find you if they have a need. In the second instance, this means that you are relying on the quality of your online presence, which might suffer if you are not consistently updating your website.
One solution to this is to publish content! When you publish articles, you add them to your own website first, which gives the search engines (Google) a signal that you are active and updating your information frequently. This will help improve your rankings and bring in more organic (free) traffic.
Free traffic is all well and good, but your articles can also help convert that traffic into leads. Well-placed calls-to-actions within your articles will let readers know what they can do to access things like a free consultation, white paper, or fact sheet - anything that someone would like to get their hands on in exchange for handing over their basic contact information.
Establish and Strengthen Your Brand
Still want to make more money? HubSpot reports that ROI increases across the board among brands that blog. When you write articles, you have the opportunity to establish both your company's and your personal brand.
What does this mean? In short, you can communicate what makes you unique as well as your vision and purpose. For example, instead of discussing conversions, maybe you want to train others to do what you do or help clients find more joy in their work by solving business challenges.
One famous business blogger is Sir Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of Virgin Group, who has launched dozens of successful businesses. Not only does Branson share business strategies, but also personal stories to connect with readers. His recent post about Recovering from Hurricane Irma was shared over 85k times.
When an executive writes, it also puts a human face to the brand. This can work in your favor when there are sensitive issues that must be addressed. For example, former Target CMO Jeff Jones wrote a piece several years ago that discussed a rough patch for the company and emphasized the organization's strong culture.
Set Yourself up as an Authority
You may or may not think of yourself as an authority in your field, but you haven't gotten to where you are in your industry without some valuable knowledge and experience. Whether it's your passion for innovation or the meticulous way that you approach solving problems, you have something that others can learn from and are waiting to read about.
What this means precisely is that you are often addressing a need or answering a question for a confused customer, without them having to send a message or pick up the phone. Your name in print may also be all it takes to move someone from a prospect to a sale. When it comes to establishing yourself as an authority, you can learn from others who have had similar success. Check out Matt Mullenweg's blog. He is the CEO of Wordpress.com and has been writing about life and the platform for over 15 years.
Increased leads are well and good but becoming an authority in your field has other benefits. Expect that your opinion will now be in high demand and you may begin to receive offers of speaking engagements as well as requests for interviews by major news outlets.
Interaction and Engagement
Content produced by a top-level manager should never be a one-way conversation. First, the articles should be shareable on social media so that they have as much exposure as possible. Next, both clients and internal staff are expecting more social interaction with managers these days, and this content can facilitate those connections.
Articles create a starting point for discussions, which can also produce even more ideas for additional content. When you write articles and blog posts, be prepared to respond to comments. These actions can not only bring in new business but also impact your company's internal culture.
Southwest Airlines is known for its positive culture that promotes the customer experience. The company has a blog called "Nuts about Southwest" that features employees from every level and location telling stories about the airline's business.
Be a Catalyst for Change
If you have some opinions about the way things ought to be in your industry, or in the world, you can express these thoughts through the written word. The only caution in doing this is that some may not agree with you, so be ready to defend your ideas. Otherwise, writing articles is an excellent way to drive change.
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, has produced some intellectual thought pieces such as "Building the Next Economy," and "Disrupting the Diploma." Billionaire Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban offers his opinions on his blog about politics, business, technology, and other current events.
Improve Your Knowledge and Business
It would be a mistake to believe that you are at the pinnacle of your skill level or that your company's products and services are as good as they'll ever get. This may be true, but wouldn't it be nice to have a way to improve? Writing and engaging more with others can provide you with opportunities for improvement.
Writing is a proven way to engage the brain, and it also helps with vocabulary maintenance and expansion. Beyond that, your engagement with others could be a catalyst for key changes to your business, as well as some new ideas for products or services that will allow your company to prosper and achieve its goals.
How to Get Started With Content
If you're convinced that you should be creating content but don't know where to start, the good news is that you can ask for help. Not everyone is comfortable researching relevant stats for hours on end or has the patience to consistently churn out formidable content.
The idea is to start small and be authentic. It's always a good idea to avoid being controversial unless you believe that this is going to help you achieve a goal. The best source of ideas for articles? Think about the most common questions and concerns that you receive from clients. Keep a running list and begin building content for your audience around those topics.
Instead of viewing content creating as a tedious chore, corporate leaders ought to instead look at it as an opportunity. This is the new normal for today's top managers, and the more these activities are embraced, the faster your organization will begin to reap the benefits we've just described.
If you are ready to transform your business and chart new avenues for growth, we welcome a conversation with you about how we can help. Contact us here.