How can small businesses, nonprofits and national brands garner attention from media and target audiences when opportunity isn’t knocking at their door? For some, the answer may be to wait until the right opportunity presents itself. For others, the answer is to create their own marketing opportunities.
In the best of circumstances, opportunities to insert oneself and/or one’s organization into the news cycle (which David Meerman Scott refers to as ‘newsjacking’), timely reasons to follow-up with leads and ways to market products and services in response to an existing need are obvious. Unfortunately, as news cycles become shorter and an increasing number of individuals and organizations alike create online marketing content, the competition to become THE top-of-mind source during these key times gets stiffer and stiffer. Facing an increasing amount of competition to tie oneself or one’s brand to existing opportunities, organizations need to make their own news.
How does it work?
Find a better angle that isn’t obvious. While one’s competitors are lining up to sell themselves for the obvious, it’s time to create a unique opportunity that shines the spotlight on your organization while providing clear and relevant value to your target audience – be it prospects, current clients or media.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2012 PRSA International Conference in San Francisco where presenter Michael Smart shared a great self-made media opportunity of his own. While working as a public relations consultant for Brigham Young University, Smart was tasked with garnering media attention for the top math student in the nation. Unfortunately, math wasn’t the media hook that sports had been in prior years. What did Smart do? He created a Brigham Young Mathletes video, posted it to YouTube and shared it with the right reporters. The hook? ‘What if star students were treated like athletes.’ Did it work? You bet.
Sometimes, the less than obvious is more valuable than the obvious. In part because there aren’t twenty companies trying to sell the same reporter on a similar story.
As opening keynote presenter Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter, said in his remarks, “opportunity can be manufactured.” The question is: How does one start manufacturing their own marketing opportunities?
To quote Biz Stone, “prearrange opportunities and take advantage of them.”
The root of this process is figuring out what the best possible circumstances would be for garnering attention from media and other target audiences and then developing a plan for making those ideal circumstances a reality. In Smart’s example above, it was to create the enthusiasm that surrounds a sporting match around an academic story. While creativity was key in the above (and is in most circumstances), other ‘can’t miss’ components of the plan include timing, messages, and strategies that can be adapted in real-time to achieve the end goal.
While each and every one of the above components is important, timeliness is worthy of extra attention. Businesses and nonprofits alike need to ensure they are equipped with adequate resources – be they internal or external – to seize optimal value from these self-generated marketing opportunities. Just as one needs to be timely when attempting to piggyback on a news story, the same can be said for self-generated marketing opportunities.
As businesses and nonprofits refine their 2013 communication plans, special attention should be paid to generating one’s own marketing opportunities. As more organizations look to put themselves on the map by inserting themselves into the news cycle, the need for unique, relevant opportunities that shine the spotlight on your own brand or cause are critical. Is your company ready to experience the success of Michael Smart’s Brigham Young Mathletes?