Are you a business owner trying to create an attractive online presence? Are you a bit lost in the world of SEO (don’t worry, we were!)? Or, are you wondering how to pitch your story to earn recognition on print and TV media? All of these questions (and many more) were answered at this year’s BizCom Summit, hosted by Construction to Style’s Morgan Molitor and Alta Events. The duo brought industry leaders together to Mercury Mosiac’s beautiful showroom for an evening of learning and networking with area business leaders, creators and innovators. We could write a short novel with all of the notes we took in three short hours, but we will spare you the endless scrolling and highlight an incredible presentation from Hook Agency and key insights from the PR/media panel. Want to learn more about building an online presence that converts and pitching your story to the media? This post is for YOU!
Breakout – Content that Converts with Tim and Bea from Hook Agency
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Tim and Bea Bonte’s work at Hook Agency, you are missing out! This power couple and co-owners of Hook Agency are incredibly knowledgeable in the world of digital marketing and are passionate about helping businesses create content that CONVERTS. Because, in the words of Tim himself, “I got sick of creating creating pretty websites that no one looked at.” Their engaging and witty personalities captivated the audience as they introduced six keys to content that converts. We don’t want to give away all of their secrets, but here are some key points to understand when creating and managing content in the online world:
Do Your Keyword Research
You create incredible content, but how does your audience find you? Researching what key terms your audience is searching as well as terms that your competitors are using is essential when deciding what type of content to create for your website. Type in a potential subject into Google’s search bar – what is coming up below in the related search section? This is a super simple way to get a feel for what your audience is looking for in relation to a topic you have in mind. There are also incredibly useful tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs that look at what key terms competitors and big markets are using as well as how many times certain terms are searched so you can choose topics related to those search-heavy terms.
Be ‘A Little Spicy’ with Your Content
Do you have a better solution to your audience’s problem? Don’t be afraid to create content that shows people how you’ve analyzed past solutions from competitors and are excited to introduce a new strategy or fresh perspective. As long as you present your information in a positive way, there is power in presenting consumers with a competitive solution to drive deeper thinking on the topic at hand. Want to incorporate a little humor into your content? Even better!
Call to ACT
Your audience found your post – awesome! But now what? Having clear call-to-action links via clickable photos or buttons are essential to all posts. There are a variety of places you can insert a CTA, including directly above the footer, in the middle of your post, or on the side bar and all options can include things like testimonials, results, or questions/answers that relate to the sell. Tip: do not let your CTAs embody your entire article – people will pick up quickly and refuse to read the rest of your post. The goal is to provide consumers with meaningful content so they continue to come back to your site and develop a loyalty to your brand and content.
Do you want, as Bea put it, “literally all of Hook’s SEO secrets”? You’re in luck! The agency put together a complete guide to SEO basics – and it’s FREE!
The Panel – Impactful Storytelling that Drives Business
Put together a well-recognized writer/editor, two hilarious television show hosts and a small business owner who has mastered live TV appearances, and you are bound to have an incredibly insightful (and humorous) discussion surrounding the media/public relations industry. Carmichael Lynch’s Social Engagement expert Aaron Komo moderated the conversation that covered topics ranging from storytelling to pitching to news stations and media outlets to dealing with life’s sometimes overwhelming expectations.
Connect and Relate
When asked to explain the elements of a good story, everyone agreed on two things: the need for connection and relatability. Elizabeth Ries, co-host on Twin Cities Live and the podcast “Best to the Nest” stressed that both components are equally important; your story needs to connect to the audience and you need to relate to that audience on a personal level. Multiple panelists explained that someone can have a unique story but if their personality fails to come through on camera, their story will fall flat. Don’t try to change your personality because you are on camera or in a magazine – be yourself and your story will tell itself.
Pitching the Story
Ok, you identified a story you want to pitch to the media, now what? WCCO-TV news anchor Jason DeRusha suggests writing the introduction to your proposed news story as an exercise to really dial into what you are wanting to share. “Too many people only think inward and identify the benefits for their business, resulting in a sales-y pitch that no one wants to run,” Jason explained. “Think outward: who are you talking to and who are you wanting to reach?”
Elizabeth and Kate Ryan Kegans, editor for the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Home and Design Magazine, stressed the importance of running through that pitch email with a fine tooth comb. “The amount of times I get emails with the wrong name or wrong TV station is embarrassing,” Elizabeth explained. Make sure you are specific to who you are pitching to (no national pitches, please), and be punchy from the top. Clearly state that you understand the audience of the media outlet and how you think your content would benefit them.
Pro Tip: Follow up emails are not annoying! The panelists explained due to their overwhelming email inboxes, they are bound to forget someone. Sending a follow up about one week after that initial pitch is a good way to remind the outlet of your unique story.
When Things Get to be Too Much
No matter how successful you are, everyone can admit that there are moments when the responsibilities of life and the expectations of work get to feel like too much. We feel isolated and defeated that we aren’t living up to those said responsibilities and expectations with ease. The panelists were the first to agree that it is necessary to have an outlet to deal with the stresses of these challenges and provided some advice for when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed.
“Go back to that one thing that fuels you, for me it’s cooking. When I am in the kitchen, I feel the most myself and at home.” – Elizabeth
“Make your time intentional with whoever you are with or whatever you are doing. I make an effort to try and be present wherever I am and whoever I am with.” – Jill Miller, owner – Projects in Person
“Take a solo trip by yourself!” – Kate
“Find your outlet, mine is biking. It’s the one thing in my day that is completely mine.” – Jason