5 Minutes To: Getting Started with Digital Communications

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On Wednesday, we hosted our first webinar all about Getting Started with Digital Communications! Couldn’t join us for the session? This week’s 5 minutes to explains what you need to know. 

 

Marketers can have a rough deal. We’re often expected to hit huge KPIs and stay on top of the latest topics and trends, while also negotiating a small budget or limited resources. Adding new channels to your strategy can feel overwhelming, but the key is to be selective in what you bring in.

 

The Three Musketeers of Digital Comms

When we talk about Digital Comms as an agency, we’re specifically talking about three main disciplines:

  • SEO and Content Creation,
  • Social Media and Community Management
  • Paid Online Advertising

Other aspects that often get included here are branches like Email Marketing and Newsletters, Text-Based Marketing, or Videos but we’ll be leaving these for the time being.

In order to work out which channels are right for you, you need to have an understanding of each area and what you can do to help your performance.

 

SEO and Content Creation

SEO and Content Creation is all about making the most of your website so that potential customers can find you more easily. Included in this is Technical SEO, which mostly concerns itself with your site’s hygiene, Content, to solidify yourself as an expert in your field and a sage advisor to customers; and Keyword Strategy, which unites both Technical SEO and Content and focuses on the terms you want to appear in searches for. 

SEO can be more challenging for those with an older site that hasn’t been looked at in a while, than for a new brand with a newer site that has more regular maintenance. However, if you’re looking to tackle your technical SEO, it can be condensed to a one off job with lots of low-hanging fruit. Content creation on the other hand, requires more consistent efforts. You’ll want to be adding new blogs and videos frequently in order to see the biggest reward, so if you aren’t able to commit, you’ll want to consider a different route.

Getting started with content means using keywords. Start by thinking about the themes and overarching topics you want to be associated with. List them out – these are called “Content Buckets”. Then start breaking these down into the individual terms and questions you want to answer and appear for in a search engine. Work backwards: when someone comes to a particular page, what were they searching for in Google? What question did they want answered. Demonstrating how you can answer those questions is crucial to your SEO strategy.

 

Social Media and Community Management

Social Media and Community Management is an excellent option for brands that already have a strong community aspect, a product that looks great in situ, or a gorgeous design suite. As a strategy, it’s a great way to build engagement and get to know your audience in the corners of the internet where they spend the most of their time. 

When it comes to posting, you don’t want to fall into the trap of only posting about your products, pricing and sales. A well-rounded, multimedia approach will benefit you here; positioning you as a sage advisor to your customers that will keep them coming back. You don’t need to spread yourself across every social media platform: pick and choose the ones where your customers or potential customers already are. This will save you time and effort in the long run: helping you to be more effective with your strategy.

Community Management is the step beyond pure Social Media Marketing, and it’s a step I really recommend you make. Community management is the engagement part of a social strategy that sees you commenting, replying to, and generally having conversations with your followers and users. It allows you to evangelise those people who love what you do; turning them into brand advocates who will jump to your defence if you ever need it. They’re a handy audience to have around!

Getting started with Social Media and Community Management takes a lot of research and exploration. You need to have a really solid understanding of who your audience is on each channel you’re on, the kinds of content they’re expecting, where this channel sits in the buyer’s journey and so on. You’ll also need to know the restrictions and characteristics of this channel inside and out! However – never feel like you need to cover the whole social landscape. Start with one channel and build your reach up as you need to. This will prevent you from burning out trying to do too much work!

 

Paid Digital Advertising

Paid advertising is an incredibly powerful tool, but if you’re just getting to grips with Digital Communications it’s not the right place to use your resources. Your time is better spent building on the foundations of SEO or Social Media first, and using Paid Media when you have something to build on or boost. 

This being said, if you’re chomping at the bit to get started with Paid Media, there’s two things I recommend you do. The first is to cover off all your brand keywords in Paid Search so that you’re more likely to appear right at the top for any searches that are directly about you. Secondly, for those with physical products on offer, upload your feeds to Google Shopping to help beat out any competitors and, again, cement yourself at the top of the search results. Unless you are using a more advanced social media strategy, you can get away with leaving Paid Media alone for the time being.

 

Choosing your Weapon

Hopefully you have an idea of what each platform entails from these short breakdowns. You can use this information to help build on your marketing strategy by including elements of digital communications in a way that is sustainable and suits your workflow. Be sure to analyse your performance to see how your efforts impact your KPIs, and, most importantly, experiment and find out what works best for you.