Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don’t Just Earn Media. Earn Attention.

Back in the day, your target audiences’ main sources of information were dominated by traditional and trade media. It made sense to focus on gaining coverage, or “earned media,” in those outlets.

But in the increasingly interconnected world of social media, the middle man is disappearing. Your customers and prospects go to Twitter and Facebook for news, reviews, suggestions and promotions.

The good news is that you can connect directly with them in these realms. But that doesn’t mean they’ll pay attention – too many choices, too little time. That’s why building brands is no longer just about earned media, but about “earned attention.”

In “Why ‘Earned Attention’ is a Social Media Objective,” (subscription needed) author Deborah Budd highlights the need to tap into target audiences’ emotions, grabbing their attention and generating conversations. The key is to consider what you can contribute to your audiences – customers, partners, employees, industry members – via social media:
  • Share content and commentary about industry trends and best practices.
  • Highlight what your business offers in the context of these conversations.
  • Provide thoughtful updates, such as customer successes, that include a call to action.
  • Show your lighter side, which helps to strengthen connections and build loyalty.
In the process, you’ll build trust, demonstrate thought leadership, and position yourself as a valuable partner in an increasingly crowded marketplace. And the attention you earn will flourish, as your audiences become your advocates, disseminating your messages throughout their networks.

What do you think are challenges faced by B2B marketers seeking earned attention, and what advice would you have to achieve this important new objective?

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