Nowadays, technology gives us lots of tools to communicate with our constituents. Tools like email, social media, apps, the Web. This week I attended a Bisnow Event where the room was full of associations who were looking for guidance on how they should be using digital media tools. The event was called Digital Advocacy: Strategies for Associations (I couldn’t find anything on the Bisnow website for this event so I had to dig through my email to find this link – oops!). There was a great lineup of very reputable speakers including Jason Oxman from CEA, Michael Turk from Craft Media Digital (my favorite of the bunch) and Barry Jackson from AARP to name a few. There were also sponsors for this event including Arent Fox and Navigation Arts.
When the panel was asked how the organizations around the room should start, they agreed that an articulation of goals was the all important first step. It may take an expert to ground your goals in reality but nevertheless, defining goals is imperative. This goes a long way toward setting internal expectations, guiding creation of the digital media plan while teeing up measurements for success.
Different ideas were thrown around by the panel about the logical next step. My experience dictates that the next step is to map out your content assets. You’ll need to take inventory of ALL the assets available to you in order to execute a great digital media strategy. After all, you can’t successfully participate in digital media without something important and useful to say. What companies often don’t realize is that there are several things being documented by different departments within their organization that SHOULD become part of your content asset inventory. Minor modifications to those assets might be necessary before they are ready for use in digital media, but they should be inventoried and built upon. Examples might be:
1) Training documents
2) Employee/product/customer photos
3) Email newsletters
4) Events (take a note Bisnow!)
5) Social media commentary
6) PPT presentations
7) Positive email communication with customers
8) Customer feedback
9) Company conference materials
10) Shareholder communications
11) Web site content
Now comes the content mapping. This step outlines how content can be “repurposed” an integrated into a digital media program. For example training documents are initially created for training employees, but they can be repurposed as part of a customer education communication (e.g. Tip of the Week).
The final step is to decide upon the most appropriate channel of communication. Is it email, text message, Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, Digg, your website, Search Engine Marketing? Each channel has strengths and weaknesses and not all of them are appropriate for every business. Here’s where it will become necessary to refer back to the goals you established in step #1.
Now back to Bisnow’s opportunity to leverage the event. Wouldn’t it make sense, given all the effort expended on bringing this event together, to leverage it beyond the moment in a more prominent way? After all, a successful event took place at a great venue with reputable speakers and recognizable sponsors for the benefit of a roomful of attendees from interesting associations. The fabulous email invitation that I received convincing me to attend in the first place should have a prominent position on their website with some additional info about attendees. Sponsors deserve ongoing recognition of their contribution in bringing local companies out for this event. Potential subscribers to the Bisnow email publications would have more reason to subscribe to Bisnow’s publications. Event participants (especially those featured) would not only have a reference point for following up with event speakers but also be more likely to share/tweet/link to this event to their network. Include a link to future Bisnow events and you’ve got a viral marketing campaign!