What’s better than landing your CEO a shining profile in the Wall Street Journal or securing a favorable product review by a blogger in your industry? This: consistent, shareable, sticky content produced by your organization’s employees and customers or members. Stroked egos are nice, but brand awareness and reach are even better.
Finding and developing content stars among a brand’s employees and customers is something Southwest Airlines knows a little bit about. Brooks Thomas, who plays a key role in Southwest's social content strategy, will be sharing how-to’s and some case study examples of his brand’s star-making process in his keynote presentation on June 6, 2016, at PR News’ Digital PR & Marketing Conference in Miami Beach.
He offers five quick Southwest-style tips here to help you develop your own cast of content stars.
- Get the message in before you get the message out. Focus your PR efforts internally and give your employees the exclusive. That can involve calls to action, advocacy, etc.
- Use employee and customer feedback to develop stories that match up with strategies and company goals.
- Make internal and external content work together to build brand affinity and advocacy.
- Choose the best storytellers by leaning into passion, presence and expertise.
- Turn your content engine into a recognition engine by connecting it with internal and external rewards.
“Content marketing efforts don’t stop after you’ve clicked publish,” Thomas says. “As communicators, it is more important than ever for us to extend our stories not only upwards, but also inwards and across. At Southwest, people are at the center of everything we do, and our customers and employees are the stars of our stories.”
Some examples of how Southwest finds and makes use of its content stars, via Thomas:
- A simple social media post about culture became a key component of training.
- An employee YouTube sensation became the main talent in a commercial.
- A comment on the company's intranet grew into a rallying cry around a petition for service to Cuba.
“Sparks of passion were harnessed into something bigger because of Southwest’s internal approach, infrastructure and unrelenting mission to follow the Golden Rule,” Thomas says.
While we won’t have a session dedicated to implementing the Golden Rule in your organization at PR News’ Digital PR & Marketing Conference, we will have sessions on digital content strategies, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, influencer relations, paid social and crisis communications featuring speakers from Dell, HSBC USA, IBM, the Miami Heat, Autodesk, Lockheed Martin, Western Union, the American Diabetes Association, Humana and others.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI