Every business has a story. Whether it is rich in family tradition or a tale of blood, sweat, and tears, everyone likes to tell their company's story.
Recently, one of our clients, who was celebrating their ten year business anniversary, was approached by a local media outlet with an opportunity to feature their story. The sales rep from the local publication wisely leveraged the ten-year anniversary as a revenue opportunity for the magazine and proceeded to educate the business owner on the importance of putting their story in front of a loyal and engaged audience --their readers. Just as the sales representative built up the excitement level, she delicately mentioned the price tag associated with the story would be $3,000. Let this investment level sit with you for a second, and then ask yourself, "Do I really need traditional media to tell my company's story?".
Should I Invest Dollars in Telling My Company's Story?
Investing dollars in amplifying the story of your company is not a poor decision. It is particularly wise and understandable when centered around a monumental event like a ten-year business anniversary. Telling your company's story and exposing your brand to new people creates far too many positive waves for this to be a debatable topic. Supporting the company story with advertising dollars is also a logical approach.
How and where a company invests its resources in telling their story is the highly-debatable part. Fifteen years ago, this topic was a non-issue because of the limited options in the marketplace. If a local business wanted to tell its story, it was utterly dependent upon local media outlets. Local companies just did not have the means, the tools, or the platforms to magnify the story of their company on their own merit.
The rapid transformation of media consumption habits by the audience over the last decade has created a more competitive advertising environment for the local market. Companies that did not exist in the late nineties, like Google, Facebook, and Bing, are now significant competitors for local advertising dollars. As Terry Heaton mentions in his book, "Local Media in a Postmodern World," these companies are primarily not taking away the viewers, listeners, or readers away from local media. They are taking away something far more critical – advertising dollars.
These new advertising options have also provided local businesses with the most potent weapon of all -- a voice. The sooner local companies understand this fact, the more successful they will be. With the tools and technology in place today, every single business is a media company. As companies break free from the proverbial chains of traditional media and embrace the opportunities awaiting them in newer platforms, the quicker they will understand why investing $3,000 in a local publication to tell their company's story is a careless decision.
What Are the Alternatives to Using Traditional Media to Tell Our Business Story?
Technology provides many valuable and efficient options to tell your company's story today. While the list below is not a complete one, it does provide alternative insight into how to tell your company's story without being dependent upon local media.
- Publish Your Story on Your Website - Craft your story in your own words and optimize it around relevant terms searchers would use to find businesses like yours. This content can be created in a blog format or on an "About Us" page on your website. One of the many advantages of creating your story on your site is you earn the search equity for the traffic generated to your site. This equity will provide residual value to your company forever as opposed to a paid print piece.
- Use Google AdWords - Consider investing $300-$500 in promoting your story via Google AdWords. At $300, it is ten percent the investment of the local magazine. Plus, Google AdWords is flexible in spending parameters, can be adjusted in real-time, and is measurable.
- Facebook - Consider investing 300 dollars for the month in telling your company's story on Facebook. The native ad option places your company's story in the timeline of your current and prospective customers. Since the local magazine rep persisted on the power of their magazine's audience, you can target those who follow the respective publication on Facebook. In other words, reach her engaged and loyal audience for ten percent of the investment. Once again, the cherry on top is all of the Facebook efforts are measurable.
Local business owners must reformulate how they think about local media today because their current and prospective customers have already changed how they consume media. This disruption in the landscape of marketing and advertising has changed how businesses should approach marketing their businesses. In "Reinventing Local Media," Terry Heaton says, “The online world is almost entirely counter-intuitive to traditional media thinking, and nowhere is this reflected more than in the business practices of Google.” Traditional media outlets, like the local magazine example in this blog, still approach local media as a one to many, mass media model which results in plenty of waste in audience delivery and advertising dollars. On the flip side, companies like Google and Facebook, look at local media as a one to one connectivity medium; not a one to many. This horizontal one-to-one model favors quality over quantity which creates an ideal ad platform for effective audience targeting and eliminates wasteful advertising dollars.
Business owners must ask themselves, "Is spending $3,000 in a local publication the best way to tell my company's story?". Businesses are media companies today, and the sooner business owners start to think of themselves as media outlets, the clearer the answer to this question will become.
The majority of the team members at BlinkJar have a background in traditional media. We still place ads in traditional media when it makes sense for our clients, so we are not completely against advertising in these platforms. However, we are against wasteful spend when it comes to local advertising options, and with this particular client case, we are confident our client could create a stronger impact at a far lower cost by investing in content creation, Google Adwords, and Facebook advertising.
Making marketing easier is BlinkJar's slogan, so we hope this blog helps at least one local business owner decide how to tell their company's story.
Let us know if you have thoughts on this topic. We'd love to hear from you.