It’s hard not to miss the amount of content being shared by agencies in the last few weeks as the pressure to engage increases. Insights and ideas, e-mail campaigns, webinars and online events abound. Sadly, as the volume increases the quality is declining. The high-quality pieces stand out, but the majority seem to be getting lost in the noise.
Brands and businesses are under pressure and are busy working out how they will adjust to new marketplace dynamics and different customer demands. But while in lockdown mode, the individuals you want to connect with are more accessible and they have more time to engage with both their existing and new agencies. So, there are certainly good opportunities to deepen client relationships and to open up new ones.
But while your targets are easier to reach, they are more discerning about what they engage with, partly because their need is heightened in the current environment and partly because of the volume of things they are receiving. They will only engage with the very best content. Anything that is bland, ill-informed or lacks insight is likely to create a negative impression.
And let’s not forget that your time is precious too. For many agencies, resources are stretched and budgets are tight. All your activities need to work harder than ever before. It’s no time for being a follower or just being average.
So, here are some practical suggestions to overcome these challenges.
It’s a basic requirement that you demonstrate an understanding of the client’s business and current situation. And you need to have genuine ideas that are relevant to the challenges that matter to them now and in the future. Your ideas need to be original and authentic, not just a re-hash of the same predictable things that everyone else is talking about. You should have strong points of view, which ladder up to your proposition. Draw on all your knowledge and creativity. Leverage your agency’s full experience and reject anything that’s not special.
Virtual has become the everyday reality and many agencies have jumped on the online events and webinar bandwagon. Not a problem if you know how to use these formats or you can get help from someone who does. But many agencies don’t – and consequently they have delivered poor experiences. Existing content needs to be adapted to work in different media, presenters need to be well practiced in the virtual environment and audiences need to be given the chance to interact. Everything should be produced to high quality, reflect your agency personality and be branded.
LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED
Commitment and preparation are key. Don’t leave anything to chance. Ensure that all the details of your content are correct. Check that none of your competitors are saying the same things. Think through all eventualities. Technology is never 100% fool proof in communication or presentation. If you’re trying to engage a live online audience, have a pre-recorded version in your back pocket. That way, if you have a technical glitch you can follow up immediately with the content, not days later when you are already old news.
CHANNEL AND AUDIENCE PLANNING
Doors may be closed but other channels are very much open. Email being the most obvious to reach clients. This is where it pays to have a system that is synced to your CMS and a well-built database. You don’t need to venture into fancy online events and podcasts if your written content is stunning. Remember that most content fails because it’s not properly tailored for the client. Don’t fall into this statistic. Be clear on your targeting and think hard about the different personas and roles in the client organisation. Be prepared to evolve, edit and tailor for different audiences, sectors and regions – and then distribute through all your channels.
Being the voice that remains is important but be careful not to alienate clients by bombarding them. The aim is to open up discussions, to engage and build relationships. It’s about nurturing not prospecting. Don’t rush to get content out for the sake of it. Pace is important but quality comes first. Build a programme which runs over time, with each piece (delivered in whatever format you decide) focused on a particular pain point. Make sure every impression you make is a good and lasting one.
The message is clear. Choose your audiences, subjects, opinions and tactics carefully. If you haven’t got anything good to say – don’t say anything until you have. You might just stand out because of it.
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