For today’s business owners, one thing is certain: You need to wholeheartedly embrace digital communications to not only thrive, but also to simply survive.

Don’t take that to be gloom-and-doom if you haven’t yet integrated this sort of communication into your business plan.

PR News Digital PR 2015

I had the opportunity to share some blogging strategies at the 2015 Digital PR Conference. Above all: Your blog is about people and their stories. Photo credit: PR News

Instead, see it as an opportunity to implement some digital tactics into your overall strategy and take your business to the next level.

Top digital communicators and public relations experts shared their knowledge and insight at the recent PR News Digital PR Conference in Miami.

Over the course of three days, hundreds of pieces of actionable items were delivered by more than two dozen presenters.

Here are five takeaways that resonated with me, and I hope you’re able to start building them into your business.

1. Build a Strong Storyline

Jeremy Miller, author of “Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers, and Grow an Incredible Brand,” emphasized that “sticky” brands—companies that draw people to them—work to build meaningful relationships with their customers.

Even more, they are determined to tell a strong story by implementing the following formula:

  • Demonstrate expertise (without it, you’re simply ranting)
  • Offer strong opinions (without them, you’re boring)
  • Create a point of sharing (without that, you’re talking to yourself)

If you do that, chances are you’ll hear the five magical words you want to hear: “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

2. People are Powerful

Several presenters (including me) emphasized the importance of making connections with real-life people in today’s business landscape. We’re more connected than ever, but in some ways we’ve become more distant.

Brush up on your interpersonal communication skills (even online) and remember to show what your brand represents (#USANAlifestyle, anyone?), rather than telling your audience what you’re selling.

3. Look at Missteps as Opportunities

Chevrolet’s nationally televised “technology and stuff” blunder following the 2014 World Series could have been disastrous.

 

An obviously nervous and less-than-TV-ready representative fumbled his way through an award presentation for the Series’ MVP. Instead of distancing itself from the individual or biding its time until the story fizzled, Chevrolet (and its PR team) jumped into action quickly and decided to own it.

The result, as explained by Jody Sunna, executive vice president of Havas PR North America, became a case study for how an organization’s departments can come together to produce digital magic.


4. Become a Student of Surprisology

If you follow me on Twitter, this is the part of the program in which Pop Rocks were introduced to the room. The delightful candy that explodes in your mouth, not in your hands was used as a prop so a dignified group of communications professionals could create the world’s first (as far as we could tell) Pop Rocks Orchestra. The deeper meaning: Never underestimate the value of surprising and delighting an audience. There’s a reason Tania Luna‘s exercise stuck with me.

5. Tell Your Story Visually

Ekaterina Walter calls it the age of “infobesity”—so much information that it’s difficult to cut through the noise (especially when the average adult attention span is lower than that of a goldfish).

One way to set yourself apart is by exploring the art of visual storytelling, which is more tactile and has the potential to be more meaningful.

“People never forget how you made them feel,” she says.

Exactly.

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