Marshall McLuhan’s well-worn phrase, “the medium is the message,” coined in 1964, needs to be amplified to fit this era of myriad media opportunities — especially when it comes to disseminating ideas across broad subject areas such as environmental, social and governance matters. ESG, and like practice areas, envelop wide-ranging content within each vertical. So how to best message in order to garner the right target audience?
There are 12 commonly used media platforms—wire services; newspapers; magazines; radio; television; blogs; digital/web videos; books; infographics; and social media, including LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook—each of which has different applications.
Each of these distribution points should be leveraged for maximum impact, depending on the content. This is an area where many companies fall down. They batch all their research and proprietary content together into a white paper and hang it on their website. Or maybe they offer it via a trade publication as a way to attract readers and, in turn, new clients. This might be easy, but it’s the wrong way to accomplish your goal.
Short Messages Are Better
A modular approach to messaging is far more effective than a text-thick document. Open rates prove short works best. (The exception to this is radio, where 20 minutes or so garners more listeners than shorter pieces of programming.)
To practice what I am preaching, here is a rundown of media and messaging utilization suggestions:
This should be the terrain of press releases.
Thought leadership essays and Op/Eds get the best traction in daily newspapers these days.
Profiles work the best here for both companies overall and individuals.
Try using radio for analysis and keen observations.
Since this is often the toughest earned media opportunity, when you are successful, use it as a marketing tool and awareness generator.
This is cheap and easily managed content, so use it to reflect your personality or to reflect the character of your company.
By far, this platform generates the most traction. Use it as a market differentiator and tool to coax interaction.
A very underutilized medium, books can imbue credibility and offer a solid leave-behind for clients and prospects.
I have an affinity for information graphically displayed. Data can be made eye-catching, and it is great “cut and paste” content.
Think of this as a virtual version of a coffee break at a conference. Friendly “did you know” or “did you hear” remarks work well.
Another platform that should be used more by the business community but isn’t. Capture those “best employee” moments and use Insta as the face of your internal communications.
Are you community minded? FB is a good way to show the world how much you care about something and to enlist fans (not so much new customers).
Start with Your Goal and Work Backwards
As with all media-driven content, the first question that should be asked before posting or sharing anything is “what’s the goal of this piece of content?” After that, think through which medium serves that goal best.
ESG messages can be data heavy, tell a human story, or be a call to action, but don’t fool yourself into believing all content can be all things to all mediums. Strategize before posting to get the maximum benefit.
Download our Lead Generation Guide for more ways you can reach your audience with the right content flow: