How you say it is just as important as what you say. The good news: reaching your target audience used to be a lot more difficult before the days of social media and online news. The bad news: getting attention used to be a lot easier.
If you long for the good old days of reading the morning paper over a cup of coffee and coming home to the evening news, still wondering what happened in the world today, I have bad news. Now we have RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Flipboard, Google News, Yahoo News, and every blog and media site out there, not to mention thousands of cable TV channels all bombarding your audience with information. I found out about the Japan tsunami before I turned on a computer or a TV because #Japan was trending on Twitter.
Breaking through this clutter of messages and channels is PR’s job. The how involves a great many tactics that I won’t get into here. However, it starts with two must-haves. First, you must have a unique point of view that is anchored in something more authoritative than your own whims. Then you have to tell it in a way that is compelling.
A unique point of view. Your point of view is not about your product. It should lead back to your product or service, but it has to be about something bigger and more meaningful to your audience than you. This viewpoint must be relevant enough to be part of your industry’s conversations, yet differentiated enough to emerge into full view. It’s not enough to have a compelling point of view though. Just thinking something will only get your friends and family to listen (maybe). It must be rooted in authority – third party research, proprietary data, or unique expertise.
Telling it well. How you communicate your point of view is just as important as the viewpoint itself. For example, NPR aired a piece recently that looked at the issue of humor in politics. It cited an example in which President Obama, who you’d think would get attention for virtually anything he says, has been talking about how his views on immigration differ from Republicans’ for quite some time. However, what broke through was this quote:
“They said we needed to triple border control,” said Obama. “Well now they’re gonna say we need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat!”
The alligator joke was the tipping point that finally drove full-blown media coverage. And in a less high profile example, Larry Greenemeier, technology editor for Scientific American, tweeted this press release headline:
It usually begins with the written word though – a press release, blog post, Web copy, you name it. I don’t want you to change your company culture to get headlines. You must be yourself. Authenticity is the secret handshake for entrance into social circles. But make sure that you are unique and authoritative. Above all, if you’re not a natural comedian, make sure you’re something other than “best in breed,” “next generation” or “leading edge.” If you need help, check out Samantha McGarry’s (@samanthamcgarry) post on words we recommend retiring.
As part of an industry that counts written and verbal communications as an art, I think about concise, clear and compelling communications often. Back in 1995, I was taking a required English literature course at Syracuse University. In the first class, the professor looked up from his yellowed and tattered teaching notes that clung together with the help of scotch tape, and said, “Women use more punctuation in their writing because they cannot express themselves as well as men.”
I dropped the class. However, annoyingly, his words creep back to me every time I am motivated to employ a smiley face in an email or social media update to better convey my meaning. I regularly make resolutions to eliminate emoticons and extraneous exclamation marks from my communications, yet find myself reaching for them nonetheless.
What should we do? As in most things, I think a careful balance is in order. Yes, emoticons can become a crutch, but only if we let them. A smiley face is often warranted in an age of rampant sarcasm that isn’t clear in written communications. However, maybe we just need to try harder.
Leslie Lee wrote a great piece, “Punctuation, Social Media, and Evolving Rules of Communication,” that examined this issue and how Twitter could actually make us better writers. I believe it can. Personally, I love Creative Nonfiction’s #cnftweet contest that seeks tiny truths in 120 characters each day (check out @cnfonline for details). It’s a great way to force the creative process – in brief.
So if we find ourselves slipping away from the lovely art of crafting brief yet compelling communications in favor of silly faces, perhaps we should pause and think twice. I am first in line. And if that doesn’t work, I will happily give up the smiley face in favor of the snark (also known as the “Percontation Point” and the “Irony Mark”), which is a lost punctuation mark that conveys sarcasm.
BuzzFeed has a handy link to 14 Punctuation Marks That You Never Knew Existed. I am committed to finding the right words to convey my meaning, and will think again each time I type a smiley face in place of words. But I won’t object to bringing these cool punctuation marks into common usage either.
A few months ago I wrote a post about the 33 Signs You Work in PR. Thinking more seriously about the traits that make PR people successful, and setting aside the requisite multitasking, to-do-list-junkie characteristics, two come to the forefront: confidence and empathy.
A venture capitalist I know once jokingly said that, “It’s more important to be convincing than right.” Unfortunately, this is true in many circumstances in life and at work. Think of it this way—if you see a woman in a dress so low-cut that it requires fashion tape, and so short that you’re nervous for her every time she leans forward, coupled with stiletto heels that have a 99 percent chance of causing an ankle break—you will think one of two things. If she’s moving about the room as if she wears that every day, you will perhaps think, “Good for her if she can pull that off.” On the other hand, if she is hunched over, crossing her arms to cover the low neckline and wobbling on her heels, you will probably think, “That woman has no business wearing that ridiculous outfit.” The difference is the woman’s confidence, whether the attire was the right choice or not. Or as Coco Channel put it, “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.”
So what does confidence give you in PR? Mark Ragan did a video interview with The New York Times’ David Pogue about good and bad PR pitches. In it, Pogue recounted a pitch that stood out (and he responded to) because it lacked the desperation that can seep into pitches under high pressure. Pogue noted that the PR person was simply offering up his best pitch for consideration.
The pitch went like this, “My client has a laptop that you can drop from six feet to concrete, you can run it through the dishwasher, and you can bake it in the oven at 400 degrees and it comes out smiling. Would you be interested?”
Confidence breeds a slew of qualities that are critical to PR:
Good first impressions. We have 30 seconds on the phone, or two sentences in a written pitch to get a reporter interested. Confidence oozes from verbal and written words alike, and works best when combined with creativity and research. Likewise, the PR business is made and broken by relationships with our clients.
Thick skin. Knowing when to take something to heart and when to let it go is essential for sanity in the PR world. We sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.
Authenticity. As I wrote in The Art of Pitching the Media, if you’re not yourself, you lose. Confidence provides the foundation for a comfort level with who you are, and makes it possible to use your own assets to fuel success.
Courage. In a desire to be liked and maintain agreeable client relationships, it can be easier to say yes than to have the courage to say no when you know a proposed strategy won’t work, and to stand behind recommendations in the face of tough scrutiny. Courage provides the power to stand by our strategies when we know they will produce the best results.
Honesty. Finally, a lack of confidence has a bad habit of leading to dishonesty. As all PR people know, the defining tenet of crisis communications is to tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. Confidence enables PR people to practice this in smaller ways every day—by owning their mistakes so they can move on before they balloon into something much larger.
In his novel, By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham writes of his main character: “You are guilty not of the epic transgressions but the tiny crimes. You have failed in the most base and human of ways—you have not imagined the lives of others.”
Why do PR people need to imagine the lives of others? Our careers will be short-lived if we don’t. Success in media relations is contingent on a compelling story, delivered in the right way. The delivery must be informed by imagining what it would be like to be the reporters on the receiving end. What do they write about? Which angles have they covered in the past? How is mine different? What are their days like? Is it best to reach them in the morning or afternoon?
In the PR agency world, it’s the same with clients. Doing good work is table stakes. If we don’t do good work, we should be fired. However, when good work is not coupled with good people skills, agency-client relationships often fail. It is the agency team’s job to imagine what it is like to be each client. What pressures do they face internally, from the board, from competitors, others? What else do they have going on? Is PR central to their role or tangential? And how can we adjust our procedures to map them to each client?
However, I believe that confidence and empathy cannot exist in silos—they work best in combination. Without empathy, confidence often leaps toward cockiness. And without confidence, empathy wants to slide into meekness.
However, unless you are a member of the very small Apple/Google/Facebook/Amazon club, the big-bang product launch as marker for future success is quickly being written into the history books. Often, the product launch in and of itself it not news. What comes afterward is the fuel that drives user interest, and therefore media interest. The launch is simply the first step in a long journey to broad adoption that rarely, if ever, happens on launch day.
Consider Pinterest. Unless you’ve been living on a remote island without access to the Internet, you have heard of it. In fact, it’s been the predominant topic in my Twitter stream for the past two weeks. But did you know that Pinterest launched in closed beta in March 2010? And that it had one piece of media coverage (in the Gather Celebs News Channel), for the entire year? It was the same story for most of 2011 as well.
Then, in August, Harry McCracken at Time Magazine named Pinterest as one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011.” That same month, Pinterest’s iPhone app launched. These two events seem to have kicked off a mild media interest in Pinterest – a Google news search turned up roughly 40 articles between July and November 2011.
In December 2011, more than a year and a half after its initial launch, Pinterest found its watershed moment. Still an invitation-only site, Pinterest was the lucky beneficiary of a report from Hitwise. The VentureBeat story on this news noted that, “…Pinterest saw 31,788,893 total visits in November, according to Hitwise data shared with VentureBeat. Better still, that figure puts the site ahead of Google+ (31,748,905) and Tumblr (25,716,031) in terms of total web visitors.” Also in December, Pinterest won the “New Startup of 2011” Crunchie award.
What happened next? In January 2012 Pinterest catapulted into the minds of consumers everywhere, seemingly overnight, with 2,200 Google news results in that month, and so far in February, they are at 2,260 (as of 2/11 at 8:55 a.m.).
The interesting thing about Pinterest is that it does not appear to be trying to get media attention. Could they have received more media coverage in 2010 and 2011 prior to December? Absolutely! Perhaps their watershed moment could have come more quickly, but we will never know. The point is that the watershed was NOT the product launch. Far from it.
A successful product launch is merely the first step in a long journey to broad adoption. You might get great media coverage on your launch, and you might not. The odds are more likely that your product launch will not be a major news maker. Instead, you must use it as a launching pad for a lot of hard work that creates regular awareness, both on the product side and the communications side. So what comes after the launch?
Making the product better. It must be addictive. Media coverage and social chatter alone can only bring people to your offering. You must give them a reason to come back, and a reason to share it.
Points of interest. Tell your audience what is interesting. Do you have some interesting data coming out of your offering? Do you have some interesting users? Humanize the story and show why it’s different and interesting.
Third-party validation. Other leaders must validate what you are doing. It’s not enough that you think it’s cool – Pinterest’s inclusion in the January Facebook app announcement is a great example of how to let someone else (someone with authority) say you are cool.
Demonstrate traction. This is the hardest piece, of course. To demonstrate traction, you must have traction. Hitting 100k visitors is not interesting; 1 million is getting boring for the press, too. So what to do? Create a benchmark in your space. You might not be the next Pinterest, but you might be the leader in your space with the most traffic, users, etc. Numbers only mean something when you can provide a point of reference, so do the work for the press and show them why your numbers matter.
Now, you just have to keep beating the drum until you reach the watershed moment.
Last month, I contributed an article to PR News titled, “How PR Can Feed the Data Journalism Pipeline,” which is an important topic that can lead to huge PR success. Following are a few key takeaways from the piece (click on the link above to read it in its entirety):
Data journalism from a PR perspective is mining a company’s proprietary data, or conducting third party research, to illuminate a unique insight into its market. It has the potential to fuel the entire PR pipeline. However, not every piece of data is going to catapult a company to “The Today Show” or USA Today. The keys to success lie in the data itself and the creative presentation of that data. A successful data journalism initiative hinges on the following:
Valid data. The data must come from a company’s proprietary data set, or from a respected third party data provider.
Unique insight. If it’s already been done, your data may fall flat.
Broad implications. If you want to broaden your story to the business and or consumer press, think about what data points will resonate. USA Today will not care about the percentage of server failures last year. They will care about how many people lost access to their mobile devices.
Repeatable model. To sustain interest, your data must be repeatable and show change over time.
Some examples of InkHouse client campaigns that have worked well include and have garnered broad coverage in outlets ranging from TechCrunch, to “The Today Show,” Huffington Post, and USA Today (just to name a few!):
Given the choice between helping a client compose messages about reports of his private equity work or his infidelity, I would choose private equity every time.
Occupy Wall Street and tepid improvements in the unemployment figures ushered in this very strange Republican Primary season. In this kind of tumultuous environment, swings of passion and loyalty are more than possible given the right message delivered to the right audience.
Enter South Carolina. In the days leading up to the Republican Primary this past Saturday, two things happened: Mitt Romney refused to disclose his tax returns (he is now planning to release them tomorrow), and Marianne Romney, Gingrich’s second wife, appeared on ABC claiming that he asked for an “open marriage.” I thought Gingrich was done.
On the contrary, Romney appears to be losing ground due in large part to a successful wielding of the class warfare weapon by the Gingrich campaign. How did this happen? It is primarily a game of who can retrofit his message to appeal to a passionate, yet unconvinced Republican electorate.
In this strange turn of events that has unseated Romney as the inevitable nominee, private equity (along with the elite 1%) is on trial. Private equity is a complicated industry that requires a long-term view of job creation — something that Romney does not have the luxury of explaining in media sound bites. In a highly simplified nutshell, the goal of many private equity transactions is to restructure a company to make it more profitable, which often means layoffs in the near-term, but more jobs in the long-term once the company becomes profitable. Without an easy way to explain this evolution, the industry has been positioned as one led by wealthy bankers and greedy CEOs (all part of the 1%) who are engaged in an elitist game of greed.
The problem? The electorate wants jobs NOW. Therefore, Romney is left to higher-level notions of defending “free enterprise,” such as this quote from an ABC News report on his concession speech in South Carolina:
“When my opponents attack success and free enterprise, they’re not only attacking me, they’re attacking every person who dreams of a better future, he’s attacking you. I will support you. I will help you have a better future.” This phrase is fairly meaningless unless you understand the role of private equity to begin with.
On the other hand, Gingrich’s answers about his infidelity, while punctuated by angry barbs targeted at the news media, are pitch-perfect and capitalize on a growing distrust of the media. The quote I’ve read and heard most often in the past few days is this one:
“Callista and I have a wonderful relationship. We knew we’d get beaten up. We knew we’d get lied about. We knew we’d get smeared. We knew there would be nasty attack ads. And we decided the country was worth the pain.”
As we look toward Florida, Romney is refining his Gingrich attack rhetoric. According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, he told FOX News on Sunday:
“I don’t think that the people of this country are going to choose as the next president of the United States a person who spent 40 years in Washington as a congressman and a lobbyist.”
I am not a political strategist, but this is a fascinating exercise in real-time message development that will be studied for years to come. I’ll be watching to see how the unique electorate of Florida changes both campaigns in the coming week.
I was thrilled to see Sarah Lacy launch PandoDaily today. We, at InkHouse, have been following Sarah from the business journals of the Valley to BusinessWeek to TechCrunch (as well as her book writing along the way) and are thrilled to see her launching her own venture. Since I read the rumors last month, I’ve been eager to see the official launch. Read Lacy’s post about why she started PandoDaily for the full story, but here are the important takeaways for PR people:
The focus is startups. Lacy’s goal is “To be the site-of-record for that startup root-system and everything that springs up from it, cycle-after-cycle.”
There will be three full-time writers. Two are yet-to-be-named, and the other is Trevor Gilbert.
Lacy is banning writers from investing in startups. I’ve written about the issue of conflicts of interest and recommend that you always consider the source. I believe that Lacy’s approach is the right one. As she wrote, “I won’t be investing directly in startups, nor will the staff-writers of PandoDaily. But we have plenty of contributors and opinion columnists who do, because frequently those people are informed enough to write the best stuff.”
Embargoes have become the bane of PR and journalists’ lives alike. It’s been a sticky subject, beginning back in 2008 when Michael Arrington famously announced that TechCrunch would not honor embargoes. We are thrilled to see that Lacy is taking another route. On how PandoDaily will operate:
They will honor embargoes. An important note about coverage from Lacy: “We’ll honor any embargo to put a piece of relevant news in the PandoTicker. But if you want your news in the main blog, you have to give us something exclusive.”
Each post will be one paragraph long, reserving in-depth coverage for “Exclusives, edgy opinion posts, stellar product analysis, insightful people and culture stories and *real* breaking news, which we define as something someone doesn’t want you to write, not re-writing a press release faster than anyone else.”
At a time when the technology blogsphere was shrinking, it’s great to see a new site, led by one of the industry’s most respected authors (and a big cheers to a fellow entrepreneurial mom!) We’d love to see more blogs launching and certainly see room for competition. While I was watching the Patriots/Broncos game on Saturday, I saw a tweet from Ben Parr, which might signal another? Read into it what you will:
Of course, PR can be stressful. We are at the mercy of forces outside of our control, for the most part. The right pitch has to edge up against the right timing and the right reporter for any great placement to happen.
It takes a certain kind of personality to thrive in PR. Read any PR job listing and you’ll see requirements such as: detailed oriented, excellent writing skills, multi-tasker, organized, energetic, blah blah blah. Yes, PR people must embody these traits, but excelling at PR requires a number of intangibles. It’s the gut feeling we’re looking for when we interview candidates that cannot be quantified in a job posting.
I owe credit to Jason Keath (@jasonkeath) at Social Fresh who inspired this post when he penned the 54 Warning Signs That You Work In Social Media. It’s a hilarious read and all true. Aside from Jason’s list, I have some to add into the mix for those of us who work in social media and PR that will give you a better sense for those intangibles that I mentioned above:
The five scariest words you fear all day are, “Why aren’t we in this?” (from the hilarious @lmokaba)
In grade school, your teachers noted that you were a “social butterfly” on your report cards (not in a good way).
You’ve disabled all of your notifications on your mobile devices and your computer. You don’t need them. You know you have at least 50 emails, five DMs, and 10 texts.
When you see a great story in the press, your first thought is, “Who placed that story?”
You scrutinize every single word you write. Yes, there is a difference between “over” and “more than!” (Just ask Steve).
You’d never buy a gift for a reporter, but you would retweet him or her to show that you are paying attention.
You’re surprised to hear that people still use desktops.
When the iPhone first came out you sacrificed function for image (yes, you had to figure out a new way to manage your tasks since they no longer synced like they did on your BlackBerry, but it was worth it).
You are perfectly capable of writing a press release while tweeting, updating Facebook and watching Mad Men at the same time.
You justify new clothing and accessories by telling yourself and others that you are “in the image business.”
You believe that all customer service reps will give you what you want if you approach the conversation the proper way. If that doesn’t work, there’s always Twitter (Meg could give you some good advice).
You use Google+ because it increases the SEO for your content and all of the reporters you work with are on there, not because you like it (at least not yet).
If you cannot find a piece of information, it’s not findable.
You take pride in finding typos in the novels you read (and contemplate notifying the publisher).
2011 was a good year for PR. It’s growing and changing for the better, as I wrote back in June. While it’s harder to break through the streams of tweets and updates that fly at us each day, PR has an unprecedented opportunity to tell stories through new vehicles. The stakes are higher though, so we have to be smarter and more creative. I used to tell clients not to worry too much about negative coverage because Google’s memory is short. Well, it’s gotten a lot longer this year with archive searches, so you can Google this post next December and call me prescient or just plain wrong.
Infographic Saturation. Like all shiny new toys, infographics are suffering from an abundance of enthusiasm. Data visualization is an important piece of content marketing, and one that isn’t going away. However, in the next year we’ll see a bit of a contraction in infographics as the market tires of the onslaught and demands quality design work that is based on great data and equally interesting insights.
PR Skills Move Well Beyond Media Relations. Recruiting is a challenge for the PR industry overall, which is enjoying a nice period of growth (a November 30 Forbes article cited the PR industry’s growth at 11% in the past 12 months). At InkHouse, we call this a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. A successful PR professional today must have a wide array of skills. Gone are the days of cranking out press releases and simply excelling at selling stories to the press. PR pros have to be good at both of those today, but they also have to understand the fast-changing social media and content marketing world and be able to write like never before. It’s one thing to write a formulaic press release, but an entirely other writing challenge to ghost author a blog post for a CEO in her tone and style.
The Phone Matters…Again. We had a few years during the blog explosion when some PR professionals slid into the keyboard, choosing to type their media correspondence behind the safety shield of their monitors. Email and social networks are important tools of the trade. However, to have good relationships, you need real conversations. PR people who pick up the phone get better coverage, period. In the late 90s, we used to send FedEx packages to reporters to convey importance because they stood out from the regular mail and daily barrage of faxes. Today, the phone is worthy of a resurgence since very few people use it anymore.
Social Chaos Comes into (better) Focus. When clients object to Twitter, the first concern is the sheer exposure to followers they probably don’t know. The second concern is due to intimidation by the Twitter fire hose. Those of us in the industry have found ways of filtering and focusing social content. I am the first to admit that it took quite a long time for me to get my system to a place where it really works for me though. It’s a manual process. I chose Tweetdeck because it helps me filter by list, search term, Twitter handle, etc. This year, LinkedIn Today launched, and it is one of the few places I look each day outside of Tweetdeck. The content is dead on and I always see something I missed elsewhere. Facebook and Google+ have both added new functionality to make content streams more customized and to enable people to group their contacts by topic and share selectively. This will only improve in 2012 and I, for one, am thrilled.
The Influence Bubble Deflates. Influence metrics like Klout work because they play to our narcissism. And they are addictive. People get attached to their influence scores, and some check them every day. As Klout discovered, people become so attached that changes to the algorithms can create a lot of frustration (see The Next Web’s Klout’s scoring changes incite a riot of complaints). Aside from personal frustration, these changes also have an impact on social media measurement. We used to use metrics such as Klout in our social media reports, but the ever-changing metrics make it impossible to benchmark and often make it appear as though our clients have lost ground in the social sphere, when they have actually gained ground. My prediction: it’s becoming clear that no influence metric is truly accurate, yet. Until we can benchmark and show real influence (what of the figures of major influence who are not involved in social media?), influence metrics may be relegated to points of interest, not points of real value.
Content is Critical. Content, content, content. Good, creative content. This has always been the basis for good PR, but now it’s more critical than ever. Blogging and social channels have opened up an opportunity to have direct and meaningful conversations with your target audiences. To do this, you must begin with great content, told through the right lens. 2012 will bring more of this, and to prepare, check out our piece in PR News on the tenets of good storytelling and this one on what to blog about. Then check out this infographic on MarketingProfs about content marketing.
Tech Product Launches Take a Back Seat. Remember the days of big bang technology product launches? If you happen to work at Apple, you only have to think back to the iPhone 4S. However, for the rest of us, product launches have lost their luster for the press. A product launch tells a reporter that 20 other reporters are going to be doing the same story, which is a major deterrent today. Product news is important though. Unless you have a product launch that will change the shape of a market, you might consider casting a smaller, and more focused net on the few reporters who will write longer, more in-depth stories. Good PR people know how to couple this kind of launch with quality content – demo videos, infographics, Slideshare, etc. – to populate the launch through social channels and directly to the target customer base.
RSS Feeds Lose More Ground. From a content syndication standpoint, we use RSS feeds every day at InkHouse. However, from a consumer’s perspective, as Twitter lists, Google+, Facebook and others provide new ways of filtering content, RSS feeds will lose more ground. My personal favorite tools are Twitter Lists and NetVibes.
Measurement Gets Measured. PR and social media measurement is a big market (Salesforce acquired Radian6 this year for $326 million). Measurement is critical, but it can also be very pricey. Tools like Radian6 and Sysomos are fantastic, but I have yet to find a tool that gives us everything we need. Good PR needs access to listening tools to find hot topics and competitor information, but we also need a platform for acting on that information. PR measurement is certainly growing up and I see more on the horizon in 2012 as the industry defines what is required in much clearer terms. Until then, my trusty Google Analytics, NetVibes (the free version) and a cadre of other free social media monitor tools will get us by.
Transparency Trumps Spin. Yes, it is the job of the PR professional to position a company’s story in the best possible light. This will always be the case. Transparency, though, has gained in importance as social media has taken off. It’s no longer about talking at your audience, but about communicating with them. The coming year will only bring this need into sharper focus. This is one of the nice side effects of social media – it keeps everyone honest!
If you run a business page on Facebook, have you updated its status today? If so, you may not have had the social networking site’s Edgerank algorithm in mind. And you should. According to B. Bonin Bough, the global head of digital for PepsiCo, only 1 percent of what you post is seen – abysmal if you are a business trying to raise your visibility and engage with your audience.
Here are a few tips -- collected at yesterday’s PRNews Facebook conference -- for how to improve your results.
1.Focus on the feed. Facebook’s controversial news feed may annoy some but this feature is important because it is the primary place where branded content appears, more so than on a company’s profile page. One new tweak from Facebook enables users to highlight stories that they like. Edgerank uses that information to select what should appear in the feed. So if you are a business, and want to stay in front of your audience, pushing out relevant and interesting content is the best way to achieve this. Users can also game their feed by sorting for news that is recent, which means that not only do you need to push out relevant and interesting content, but you need to do it twice a day.
2.Engagement counts. Literally. Edgerank tallies how many likes, comments and links are connected to your updates and your visibility is based on those results.
3.Post and tag images. Photos and videos get more traction on the news feed than any other content. Facebook hates embedded video and you don’t get algorithm points for it. But tagging someone in a photo or encouraging friends to post photos on your page is one of the most effective ways to not only to game Edgerank but to create engagement. Bissell asked people to post pet pictures and likes increased immediately. People also love behind-the-scenes access. Hershey’s did a successful video showing how a Kiss is made.
4.Ask your friends to “share.” It’s OK to do this (not every time) and it works. Shares are the most important gesture, as opposed to likes or comments, because they indicate that friends see the content as valuable and can make it go viral. Strong statements are more likely to get shared. People share information because it makes them look smart or because they think their friends will find it interesting. In other words, it improves their own status. There are other reasons, too.
5.Know when to post: Updates on Thursday and Friday have an 18 percent higher engagement rate (though this varies a bit by industry). Experiment with this. Also, early morning and late at night had better engagement. Surprisingly, weekends are busy times for b-to-b engagement. Luckily, Edgerank is no longer penalizing for those using a third-party application to post during these non-work hours.
6.Keep it short. While you can now have a status update as long as 60,000 characters -- don’t. Eighty characters or less have a 27 percent higher engagement rate and posts between 100 and 250 characters get 60 percent more likes.
7. Links should have commentary. I have no further comment on this.
8.Ask questions in your update. This elicits responses, especially if asked the right way: “where,” “when,” “would” and “should” are better than “why” or “did” because they are easier to respond to. An Oreo example: “Are you a dunker or a twister?”Quizzes and polls and interactive ideas also drive engagement.
9.Use fill-in-the-blanks. These work well for engagement. Coke + ____=J
10.Create a holiday calendar. If you’re really out of ideas for content, keep track of notable or interesting holidays so you can use those as a touch stone to prepare content. This is one of our favorites.