Time not thyme

By Mathew Chandler

The rules of media engagement have changed in the past decade. If you’ve failed to notice, chances are you’re tearing down the walls of trust you are trying to build.

If your strategy is still focused on the long lunch or leisurely coffee catch up and some thyme infused hipster bikkies, it might be time to reconsider.

Just like you, journalists are increasingly time poor. As you labour over your menu decisions and notice your lunch partner fidget restlessly when you place an order for wine and the long trifecta — entrée, main and dessert, rest assured it’s just dawned on them that your lunchtime intention is to eat and make small talk, not fill the afternoon online edition or tomorrow’s column.

Disaster.

Instead of building media relations, your seemingly archaic method of relationship building has effectively deprived a journalist of what they need most—information and time.

So what to do?

The lunch here isn’t the sin; it’s your lack of value that’s letting you down. If you want to lunch, go right ahead, but follow these few simple rules:

  1. Plan ahead – Ask the journalist in advance how much time they have and what day of the week has them most clear of deadlines. Some journalists will accept your lunch invitation out of politeness and regret it the moment they sit down.
  2. Be flexible – Coffee, lunch or phone interview? Find out what would make life easiest for the journalist, not your boss. Sometimes a breakfast catch-up before normal working hours will work best for everyone. You can start your day with good conversation, and theirs without unwanted interruption.
  3. Don’t order the degustation – Unless the journalist has specifically said they have an afternoon clear, plan to eat somewhere that you know is high in quality but quick on service.
  4. Be transparent – If your plan is to catch up without any intention of contributing to a story idea, tell them in advance. The journalist can then decide whether to go ahead with lunch or whether to reschedule to a less busy time in their calendar. They’ll appreciate your honesty.
  5. Know your worth – The value you (or your boss) bring to the table is not your dazzling ability for conversation. It’s the newsworthiness of what you have to say, be it about your own company or what’s trending in your industry. Plan ahead and have something of news value to contribute. If you can’t think of anything, refer to rule 4 or reconsider catching up at a later date when you have something to say.

Mathew Chandler is the Managing Director of Acumentum Communications, a Sydney-based content marketing agency that specialises in building content that resonates.

A better way to explosive content

By Mathew Chandler

Every website needs a content plan but most web managers suffer from content exhaustion.  What to write next? We’ve covered that topic. I’m out of ideas.

The wonderful thing about the internet, the very place where your website lives, is that the answers are already right in front of you.

Say you’re in the property industry and specialise in office leasing. You’re tired of just writing about the space you have available – you’re desperate to add value and write about what’s important to your customers. You want them knocking on your door; an improvement in your website search engine rankings wouldn’t go astray, either. But how do you know what your customers are looking for?

Do you guess? Survey your customers? Ask your colleagues? Workshop ideas?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re probably working harder than you should. Why guess when someone else has done the thinking for you?

Here’s that one simple tip.

Go to your favourite search engine. For the sake of this blog, let’s say it’s Google.

Going with the example above, type in to the search engine: office leasing. Don’t hit return. Just wait for the pre-loaded suggestions to come up. You should get something that looks like this:

searches-related-to-office-leasing-acumentum-communications-1.jpg

So, your search engine is now telling you the things that people most search for when they are looking for office space. If you take your cues from here, you could now blog about cheap rents, sublet office space or creative office spaces.

Is that it, I hear you ask? But wait, there’s more. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. You should see something like this:

Searches related to office leasing - Acumentum Communications
Google search – Office leasing – Acumentum Communications

More gold awaits in Google’s suggested searches. This is not guesswork – Google’s algorithm is giving you the answers you need. When people search for office space, this is what they’re typing in.

Want to dive deeper? Click on any of the suggested related search strings, and repeat the process from the beginning. The deeper you dive, the more story ideas you can develop. Just remember, when you’re briefing your copywriter to give them the exact phrases from the search strings. If these are included in the copy, and repeated if possible, your blog content will rank higher in searches.

You can do this exercise for each and every product or service you offer, or hot topic you wish to cover, taking the hard work out of content planning.

Mathew Chandler is the Managing Director of Acumentum Communications, a Sydney-based content marketing agency that specialises in building content that resonates. Contact him on 0458 110 042.