When it comes to promoting your startup to your target audiences, finding a balance is a key ingredient in the recipe for success.
You need to know how to allocate your time and energy spent on Marketing, all while handling your other responsibilities.
You can look at this balance as a trio of actions:
3) Creating content
Let’s start with the importance of social listening: effectively monitoring what is going on around you.
We now live in the ‘Notifications’ era: automation is simplifying our lives.
Thanks to drastic advances in technology, in regards to monitoring international media outlets and social media content, effective media monitoring can now be done in a passive way.
What I mean by that is instead of spending a huge amount of time glued to the internet, hitting F5 like a maniac (F5 is the Refresh key, for those who are wondering!), you can receive an email update or look at a dashboard that summarizes all that you need to know about online content discussing topics relevant to your startup and your sector.
- Take for example the various media monitoring options provided by the startup Mention. The superb Mention Blog features my two Californian Creativity Event Marketing guides which reached Page 1 of Google and its online media monitoring platform searches all over the web to find mentions of keywords you want to focus on, in many languages.
I shared advice on how use to Mention for social media monitoring in Mention’s “Become a Media Monitoring expert” webinar available below and on YouTube .
- If you are looking for media monitoring solutions for social media content in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, the good news is several startups have created monitoring platforms that can understand various dialects of the Arabic language. These include a platform created in Saudi Arabia that specializes in Saudi dialects (Lucidya, a startup that is an alum of the renowned Wadi Makkah accelerator) and one built in Egypt that can understand the Egyptian dialect (Crowd Analyzer).
- You can also monitor what your network is doing on Twitter in real-time at any moment, as well as examine tweets containing keywords that are relevant to you, by using TweetDeck (see photo above). TweetDeck also lets you create vertical Timelines containing specific tweets you select: for an example, see my Californian Creativity timeline at twitter.com/Elias213/timelines/767690998189268992.
This timeline can even be embedded into your website thanks to Twitter providing its HTML code: this is important because it helps you quickly showcase what you offer to journalists and people who may be interested in using your product (a topic I will discuss later in this article).
Thanks to a Google platform combined with a few other tools, you can also create custom notifications to alert you about discussions going on online (including across several social networks), delivered to you via your email inbox or a mobile app! This is a huge time-saver and a textbook example of PR in the Digital era: I will share this secret recipe for custom media monitoring success at AstroLabs during my Californian Creativity Course on April 8.
After you have observed your environment and found conversations relevant to you, the next step is to get involved by responding in the right way.
There are several possibilities created thanks to social media: the types of conversations you need to get involved in to create your marketing success. If you don’t react to them, think of it as leaving money on the table.
Here are a few:
- When current customers of your competitor complain on social media about the mediocre service or experience they are having: this is your chance to discover your potential future customer and enlighten them about why your product is better.
- When people comment on social media about how they want a particular service or product, especially if they are based in a city where you offer it locally. Make their day: reply to them to let them know that their wish is your command.
- When event organizers publicly announce (again, on social media) that they need to find someone with your background to speak at their event.
- When journalists publicly announce (on social networks like Twitter) that they are looking to interview someone with the expertise that you have: this is a chance for you to have free promotion in the media instead of having to pay for it through advertising.
Conversations create cash. Social media is one of the ultimate conversation starters.
LinkedIn’s official slogan is “Relationships Matter” for a reason: it is thanks to human connections that the groundwork is put in place for our daily interactions and business transactions. I will share my own example of how a conversation created cash for me.
The moment in the photo above, recorded in Paris by Digital Business News Editor-In-Chief Bertrand Lenotre, epitomizes why participating in online conversations is important. These conversations are opportunities to engage and offer value in a way only* you can.
In the photo above, I was the only American and native English speaker attending a special HUB Day event held by France’s leading digital think tank (HUB Institute), so I translated it from French to English and live-tweeted it on Twitter while using their hashtag.
The result: several Parisians recognized my translation skills on Twitter and spoke with me at the event. This opened doors for me to have new clients and various large French-to-English translation projects to work on.
Sometimes, you can ‘Reverse Engineer’ your success. Conversations create cash.
*Important Note: In regards to the topic of defining what only you bring to the table, I highly recommend you explore the “Onlyness” concept created by one of my mentors back home in California, Silicon Valley icon and best-selling author Nilofer Merchant. Her book exploring this further, The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Ideas Mighty Enough To Dent The World, will be published on August 29 and is available for pre-order here.
3) Creating Content
Writing high-quality content about your area of expertise can help you reach global audiences through Page 1 of Google and social media networks: this is what I learned when I wrote my Californian Creativity guides about one of my specialties (Event Marketing via the creative use of California-made digital platforms) that reached Page 1 and were shared online by industry leaders around the world, like Social Media Examiner.
Most importantly, high-quality writing that demonstrates your expertise is a conversation-starter.
As I mentioned earlier, conversations create cash: these two guides have been instrumental in helping me secure contracts for opportunities in both Event Marketing and Copywriting.
This is the essence of Inbound Marketing, which you can learn more about in one of my articles, inspired by the top-notch Content Curation platform Scoop.it, by visiting bitly.com/InboundMarketingTips.
Inbound Marketing is the direction to go in.
Blogging is one form of content marketing that can bring traffic to your website and get more people interested in you and the products you offer.
For those wondering where to start with their blog strategy, I’ve got one word for you: WordPress.
27% of the internet’s websites are running on WordPress, including none other than the AstroLabs website.
I have enjoyed using WordPress since 2011 and was asked by a leading digital marketing company (SEMrush), to share some thoughts about it during WordPess Appreciation Week. You can read my WordPress insights here.
However, publishing blogs isn’t all that matters. The type of content that journalists need to find is not available on the websites of many startups and larger companies when they look for it. I have heard this comment from journalists many times, even now in 2017, including in the UAE.
You need to make the details about your company readily available to journalists on your website to increase the chances of them writing about you and reaching out to you.
What I have learned as a journalist and PR professional back home in the US, in Europe and in the Middle East is that if you can provide information to journalists quickly enough, meeting their deadlines, you will have your fair share of opportunities to tell your story through the media.
The above is a press feature included in a story about the Dubai Press Club’s annual Arab Media Forum that was referenced on the front page of Al Ittihad newspaper last year. Al Ittihad is the first newspaper ever published in the UAE’s history and is one of the nation’s most influential media outlets.
Nowadays there are Tech platforms that help connect startups with journalists from around the world, even if they don’t speak the same language: I will share some of them on April 8 at AstroLabs during my Californian Creativity Course.
Best of luck with reaching your Marketing goals this year.
Elías Jabbe (Elias213.com) is a Dubai-based, award-winning American writer and Digital Marketing professional from Los Ángeles, California whose Copywriting portfolio is available at Elias213.Contently.com.