Thursday 15 March 2018

Digital media has quickly propelled to the top of corporate to-do lists with huge expansions in the social media sphere and interest in online content.

The challenges of digital media were discussed by Michelle Daniels, founder of Extended Thinking Marketing Consultancy, at the inaugural Guildford PM Forum event on 15 March 2018. The well-attended and animated session, held at Stevens & Bolton’s office, drew in professional services peers from Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex.

So how do we write better for a digital audience? What can we do that is ‘thumb-stopping’, or click-worthy? As we’re consuming more information online with 24/7 availability, it’s an online battle where ‘survival of the fittest’ has made its way onto our laptops, phones and tablets.

Michelle explained that it’s all about the right message at the right time, to the right people, in the right format. We value our time and have developed a brutal, but effective screening process of the information provided to us. We’re reading quickly on our commutes to pass the time. Listening to the increasingly popular 20-30 minute podcasts. We’re flicking through our trusted blogs, social media platforms or websites – hoping something will seize our interest but not take up a huge amount of our time. It’s not just our screens that are getting smaller; our attention span now rivals that of a goldfish.

What can we do?

Focusing on strategy, she asks us to question our digital content and evaluate why a reader would want to engage with it and how it will benefit them. Putting emphasis on common mistakes, Michelle provided dos and don’ts for digital media.

Headlining

The first hurdle, Michelle explained, is the headline. Is it attention grabbing? She says great headlines include:

  • numbers (if referencing statistics);
  • dramatic verbs (to entice the reader);
  • the use of ‘why, how, when’ (for detail);
  • are wary of cultural translations (ie humour or words with double meanings); and
  • avoid acronyms.

She asks us to look at our headlines and question how it will stand out. Is it a current trend? Michelle advises that we take a new angle, be different, or at least be a hybrid between trend and a new take on the topic.

Content

How do we make sure we’re holding the reader’s attention whilst maximising the capabilities of the online platforms out there? Michelle explained the acronym ‘SOAR’. Situation, Objective/Obstacle, Action, Result – explaining that readers like a story, a beginning, middle and end. A journey. Human interest drives engagement so it’s up to the writer, proofer and editor to achieve content that’s genuine and memorable.

Michelle concluded that ultimately, we want ROI on our time spent on digital media. However, with so much competition, we need to focus on how to stand out from the - very active- crowd. We need to focus our efforts on measuring digital efforts, making sure we know what is working for our audiences, understanding it and then responding to it.

Let this be the first of many Guildford based PM Forum events.

Christine Cook
Penningtons Manches LLP