Stop fighting it and leave your footprint on the digital landscape
You would think most of our B2B clients were (digital) environmental warriors the way they behave; careful not to leave anything but the slightest trace of themselves in cyberspace.
Paradoxically, if I offered the opportunity for their views or expertise to be promoted editorially within, say the Australian Financial Review, they would jump at the chance. I don’t get it. Not in today’s hyper-connected world.
“Why?” I ask. “Why do you insist on remaining invisible in this digital age, depending on the editorial slant of a particular story to publicise your expert opinion? Why not own your own opinion?”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a company or an individual; you need a digital footprint if you want to be- and stay – a thought leader. After all, as the advertising industry keeps telling us – today, everyone is a brand.
When we work with our clients to build their public and industry profiles through editorial media coverage, we learn about their industry and areas of expertise. We then seek out opportunities to present the brand, key messages and unique industry knowledge and experience to new audiences receptive to these stories.
Amongst the many components that make up the strategic, tactical and creative aspects of any given campaign, media creation (the right message) and outreach (seeded to the right publications) are amongst the most important. The end result – getting a run for your story in a magazine, newspaper, T.V. program or on a website, for example – is that we have EARNED publicity for your brand.
And an increasingly important part of our job is to work with you to capitalise fully on your OWNED media – your website and social media channels. This is where you tell your story your way, as well as providing compelling content to keep your audiences coming back for more.
Putting the two together online; what you OWN and can directly control (aka your digital presence) as well as what you EARN through exposure (aka your digital activity)… together make up your company’s digital (SEO) footprint. It’s what you get when you do a Google Search.
Most of us can agree that it’s a no-brainer that as a brand, you need to cultivate a substantial digital footprint. If you want to be respected as a modern, forward thinking company with a vision for the future and a plan of action for capitalising on the best opportunities today, you need to be visible in the digital space letting your clients and potential customers know what you’re doing.
So what about individuals?
We’re probably all familiar with the idea of personal branding. Unfortunately it seems to come more naturally to digital natives… Gen Y and the younger crowds who have grown up with social media are much happier trading privacy for exposure and enjoy carefully cultivating their ‘digital selves’ through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For the rest of us, particularly for senior business people, these skills do not come naturally and the time needed to cultivate a digital footprint is scarce at best.
Unfortunately more and more clients and potential leads seem to expect the same from senior consultants as they would expect of brands – they want to know that you, as an individual, have the credibility and experience they expect. They want to confirm your credentials and the proof is ‘in the search’.
We recently saw this in action. During a meeting, a client of ours, a major transnational consultancy, found it confronting when a potential client remarked that an online search of the senior partner revealed nothing.- both in terms of presence (website/ LinkedIn profile) and activity (blogs/tweets/posts). The client considered this a breach of business protocol, by not having the decency to provide enough information in advance for the client to be fully prepared for the meeting.
Heed the call- today’s (and especially tomorrow’s) digital savvy executives not only expect businesses to have an online presence and activity, they’re starting to expect the same from individuals within firms.
With the experience we’ve had working with clients to refine their digital presence and develop programs of activity to connect with both B2B and B2C audiences, we’re ready for these new opportunities. Are you?
If you need help putting yourself forward online, give us a call.