Thanks to the never-ending, always-evolving information revolution, our collective attention spans can now be counted in nanoseconds while our collective “bovine excrement” detectors are highly sensitive. The Internet has leveled the playing field, leaving us in a world Darwin could appreciate, where only the strong survive.
No longer dependent on what news editors deem “newsworthy,” we can reach our audiences directly. And they can reach us. The filters are now gone and we are solely responsible for telling our story. The question “Should we respond?” is now seldom asked, having been replaced by “How do we respond?”
Now more than ever, the premium on your ability to tell your story has never been higher. Because of this, here are a few simple rules to follow that can help you stand out…
• Know your audience. Like the Golden Rule, this rule is timeless. But now, the issue is that we no longer have just one audience. We have several audiences that require us to employ a number of different messages in order to reach as many people as possible. Still, you must always make sure that your overall message is not lost. So be certain that your other points tie into and complement your overall message.
• Give it to us straight. This seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many professionals still sugarcoat and spin. Don’t be one of them! Always be straight with your audience even if you have to acknowledge the unpleasant. In the long run, you will gain more leverage by being up front than you ever will by trying to obfuscate. Today’s society suffers from a candor deficit, so when people see it they are even more impressed.
• Be authentic. Your parents were right – Be yourself. Authenticity means more than keeping your brand image consistent – it mandates that you back up what you say. It also requires you to make sure your organization’s personality is always evident.
• Be conversational. Consumers no longer want to be fed information; they want to be part of the conversation. Whenever possible, include a testimonial from a consumer or visitor. Be mindful that the more the reader or listener can relate to your story, the more likely they will remember it. Also, be sure to use social media and encourage a dialogue.
Some rules are meant to be broken. But these rules are not. Put them to good use. Repeat them often. And enjoy the attention that will follow.
Jason Matthews is the P.R. Director for KK BOLD.