As previously mentioned, the worms that turned, otherwise known as customer critic/advocates, mean today the most valuable reputation management for tech companies is often done at the grass roots (user) level. Your brand is being discussed in blogs, tweets, wikis at work and at home – even between prospects and customers meeting at weekend barbeques.
Unsupervised, your present and future customers are reading, digesting and passing judgement on your market positioning verbally as well as online. Very few of these people have your media materials to hand when they discuss it. Just like Amazon customers, they ‘peer review’ your marketing efforts, modifying its content and story-telling. So does this make the distribution of timely positively-slanted news a waste of time?
Quite the reverse. As our uber-upside American friends say it is an ‘opportunity’. No, it really is.
Ask yourself, how many times you hear the phrase ‘”Did you read the story about..?” and its more modern equivalent “I’ll send you the YouTube link”? An example from last week, was this amusing YouTube link sent to me by a client, I passed this on to a US-based CMO whose comment, passed on to his colleagues, was “If this works, it would be genius. We spend all our time taking photos of whiteboards.” That sounds like a buying signal to me.
Of course, producing content like this costs money, but the distribution does not cost the earth these days. YouTube is free and even sending out a social media release ‘on the wire’ with embedded video to hundreds of UK influencers costs $250 or less. Shamefully though, if you let them, some providers will gladly take money just to send out your message. For instance, before working with Positive Marketing, one of our clients was charged several thousand dollars per release by US-based ‘international services’ (happy to name and shame, so if you really want to know, just email)
So, here’s our first Tip, rather than paying overly to send mediocre content, always spend more time, effort and cash on creating hot content than distributing it. Then spend the savings monitoring the blogosphere with free tools such as Google News Alerts, or even the frankly-still-too-pricey, services such as Radian6, Meltwater, or ScoutLabs. Despite being a recurring cost (except for Google) this is a better investment because a quick correction in strategy and content will save throwing good distribution money after bad. Let’s remember content is king and couriers are plentiful in this brave new world.