Since 2001, communications agency Edelman has commissioned its annual Trust Barometer study. The global study tracks opinions of an “informed public,” identified as college-educated adults who report significant media consumption and engagement with news.
The bottom line of the recently released 2018 study is sadly predictable. The public’s trust in the veracity of the four entities studied – news media, government, NGOs and business – is at an 18-year low. Trust in news media is at rock bottom. The era of “fake news” has eroded our confidence in even knowing how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods.
However, out of the bad news comes some good news for business. While taking a trust plunge with the other groups, business is still the most trusted of the four entities studied. That’s hopeful. And it confirms that businesses must have strategic plans for publishing their own content, thereby exerting more control over their public narratives and credibility. It’s an urgent matter of reputation management.
There are important prerequisites:
- Have a strategic content plan with measurable KPIs
- Maintain professional editorial standards
- Craft meaningful—and interesting—stories
- Multi-media matters (video!)
- Leverage tools to manage and amplify your messages
Below are examples of content that is ownable, sharable and appropriate for public consumption, plus some useful tools.
1. News releases on your website.
Write like a journalist and stick to AP style while keeping your keyword strategy in mind. New content will be scanned by Google and could positively affect your search results.
Post on a schedule so there is something new published at least every other week. Share and amplify on social media platforms.
2. News releases for distribution via a wire service (and to pitch to media).
Company news like quarterly and annual results require this investment; other news is also worthy. Distribution services like PRNewswire, BusinessWire and others provide broad distribution to media sites contracted with the service. Reporting immediately identifies those sites that have published and posted your release.
Share and amplify on social media platforms; pitch legitimate “new news” to reporters and editors in your category.
CBD and our clients use blogs in a variety of ways – to demonstrate thought leadership, provide a forum for SMEs and executives or distribute industry news of value to prospects and customers.
Attach a blog to your website. Share posts on social media platforms. Solicit guest blogs for back links and additional amplification.
4. Special reports and white papers.
A great white paper is a gift that keeps on giving. Offer content of value that goes beyond promoting your products and services. A solid, research-based white paper can get its own news release, be part of a pitch to key reporters, be promoted as foundational content for articles and webinars, and be the hook to get prospects to offer their information on a web form.
5. Videos and infographics.
These are especially valuable as content for websites, social media platforms and as vlogs. Motion-graphic videos are great ways to tell compelling stories with still images if video is not available. When you do have video, it’s easy to edit into bite-size content for social media postings.
Infographics still get great engagement when they illuminate facts in a new and creative way.
6. A social media presence.
Virtually all businesses benefit from a strategic social media presence, most notably on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Follow the best practice 80/20 rule and make your platforms valued resources for sharing information that is useful, educates and entertains your audience – not just content about your company’s products and services.
Everyone has favorites. Here are a few to consider:
- Collaborate with other content creators and publishers within your company using tools like Slack, Travitor, Monday.com, Airtable, Asana, Trello
- Use social media tools like Buffer, Social Oomph, Social Pilot, Post Planner, Zoho Social; publish via Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Meltwater, Social Studio
- Distribute news releases via PRNewswire, Business Wire, PR Web, eReleases, newswire.com
- Use blog platforms wix.com, web.cm, Go Daddy, hibu, WordPress, Site 123
- Use blog tools like Google Key Word Planner, Buzz Sumo, Canva, Yoast
In this age of disinformation, misinformation and a general distrust of news sources and motives, it’s critical for businesses to tell their own stories and own the process to publish and distribute them. It only makes sense.