Out of Great Crises Comes Great Innovation

In a world that turned upside down virtually overnight, it seems like a good idea to look for some positive news when it can be found.

This article from MSN Money provides that encouragement for those of us working in the world of quantum computing PR and startups: World-changing innovations that came out of global crises.

The article shows that past crises as disruptive and disconcerting as the current global COVID-19 pandemic often spur technology breakthroughs.

Case in point is the world’s first programmable, electronic, digital computer, built to break the coded messages of Nazi communications in World War II.

The Colossus Mark was mostly designed by a post office engineer in London and successfully decrypted messages sent and received by German High Command, speeding an end to the war and the Allied victory.

That’s some kind of innovation.

Other breakthroughs from WWII included jet engines, microwave ovens, aerosol spray cans and mass-produced antibiotics. The latter medical innovation is of obvious interest for today, as the medical research community works diligently to develop a viable vaccine for COVID-19.

The article goes on to say the tense U.S.-USSR standoff of the Cold War led to the development of the first microchip, satellites, human space flight and the internet, all of which helped to create the world we live in today.

The lesson to be learned is that innovation doesn’t stop for crises, and in fact, is sometimes accelerated.

For example, the unfortunate tensions between China and the U.S. over COVID-19, in addition to the ongoing trade war, has led to the U.S. government to redouble its efforts to beat China to the “quantum advantage” – creating the first quantum computer that delivers a real-world benefit that no computer on Earth could ever duplicate.

In addition, today’s early quantum computers are being enlisted in the fight against COVID-19. And the fervent hope is that, someday, quantum computers would be extremely useful in halting a similar pandemic in the future by speeding the process of drug discovery.

It appears venture capital firms have agreed that the pandemic will not slow quantum computing research and innovation as they continue to seek startups with potentially game-changing quantum technologies.

All this is to say that society will hopefully respond to this current crisis in a way that prevents it from ever happening again, saving countless lives in the future. Our educated guess is that the quantum computing startups of today will play a key role in that endeavor.

An Invaluable Resource for Quantum Computing Startups

For quantum computing startup founders and CEOs, or researchers considering making the leap, as well as venture capital firms and established tech brands, there is no better global resource to stay abreast of this fascinating industry than the Quantum Computing Report (QCR), the world’s most popular site dedicated to covering the business of quantum computing.

Founded in 2016 by publisher and editor Doug Finke, QCR delivers insightful commentary and analysis on the latest developments in the industry ecosystem, including startups, enterprises, venture capital firms, academic research and government entities. QCR also features up-to-date listings of industry resources, including companies, conferences, training and education, and employment opportunities as well as links to software development tools.

A member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Quantum Computing, Doug is an in-demand expert and consultant on quantum computing, providing counsel to investors and companies entering the field.

Doug’s background is impressive, with more than four decades of technology industry experience, including stints at Intel and IBM during pivotal moments in their histories. He had the foresight to see another pivotal technology moment on the horizon and established QCR to serve quantum computing companies and researchers around the world.

For an agency focused on quantum computing PR and marketing communications, QCR is invaluable to us as well. And we are proud to say that Doug is an HKA client.

Through a random series of events that rivals that found in quantum physics, HKA Technology PR director Mike Kilroy was researching emerging technology topics to cover for the agency’s EmergingTechPR blog and came across QCR. He discovered that Doug was located in the same city as HKA’s offices here in Southern California.

Mike met Doug for coffee one day in the spring of 2019. During their chat, Doug patiently explained the basics of quantum computing. While Mike didn’t understand everything, he found it all incredibly fascinating.

Doug and Mike kept in touch. In the meantime, quantum computing exploded onto the world’s stage when Google announced it had achieved ‘quantum supremacy,’ meaning its quantum computer had solved a problem that no computer on Earth could accomplish. It didn’t matter that the answer wasn’t particularly useful – many consider it the Kitty Hawk or Sputnik moment of the quantum computing age.

Doug’s website started seeing unprecedented traffic and his consulting practice was gaining traction as well, while HKA secured a quantum computing client with U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles.

HKA and QCR had too many synergies to ignore. Fast forward to today, where HKA is using its expertise in technology PR to help promote QCR as well as Doug himself as a trusted industry authority.

Doug also runs the Southern California Quantum Computing Meetup Group, offering presentations from experts on recent research and technical discussions for developers and enthusiasts. We will keep you updated on future meetups as the Southern California tech industry embraces quantum computing.

Totally Caffeinated by Quantum

You never know where a friendly cup of coffee can lead. Sometimes it’s to a subatomic world where unprecedented opportunities await.

It was April 2019 when I was searching for compelling topics to cover as part of HKA’s relaunch of its pioneering EmergingTechPR blog. During my research, I came across a website called the Quantum Computing Report (QCR). To my surprise, Doug Finke, the site’s founder, was based just a couple miles from our office. Intrigued by just the sound of ‘quantum computing,’ I asked if we could talk.

Doug and I met for coffee. His background was impressive with more than four decades of technology industry experience, including stints at Intel and IBM during pivotal moments in their histories. Doug somehow had the foresight to see another pivotal moment on the horizon and established QCR in 2016 to provide informed commentary and analysis on the still nascent quantum computing industry.

During our chat, Doug did his level best to explain quantum computing to this layman. And while I didn’t understand everything – if not most things – he told me, it sure was fascinating. So I wrote this post – A Quantum Leap in Computing Is Coming.

Doug and I kept in touch. And in the meantime, the world of quantum computing exploded onto the scene with Google announcing it had achieved ‘quantum supremacy,’ meaning its quantum computer had solved a problem that no computer on Earth could accomplish. It didn’t matter that the answer wasn’t useful – many considered it the Kitty Hawk or Sputnik moment of our age. Doug was right! What he saw coming had arrived!

Doug’s website was seeing unprecedented traffic and his consulting practice was gaining traction, while HKA had secured a quantum computing client with U.S. headquarters soon opening in Los Angeles.

We talked again. HKA and QCR had too many synergies to ignore! Fast forward to today, where HKA now is using its media relations expertise and other marketing communications services to help promote QCR, the world’s most trafficked news and analysis site dedicated to the business of quantum computing, as well as Doug himself as the publisher and trusted industry authority.

Using the parlance of quantum physics, HKA and QCR are now entangled. And just like entangled particles in the subatomic realm, we both share the ability to enable game-changing opportunities for businesses.

See the press release here to learn more about Doug and QCR. Also, consider joining us at the next Southern California Quantum Computing Meetup, which Doug manages, offering presentations from experts on recent research and technical discussions for developers and enthusiasts. The MeetUp is set for Feb. 24, 2020, at the Ayres Hotel in Anaheim. We’d love to see you there!

Racking up the Miles

In summing up my experience leading the revitalization of HKA’s technology practice, an iconic Johnny Cash lyric comes to mind – “I’ve been everywhere, man.” Looking to spread the word about the revival of HKA tech PR, I’ve had the good fortune of attending many top emerging tech events throughout Southern California these past few months.

My stopovers saw me mingling with startup founders at UCI’s The Cove several times, including the 1 Million Cups morning mixers, lunch and learn programs, the Digital Innovators event at the Center for Digital Transformation and the School of Applied Innovation awards program. I also went to Pasadena for a MeetUp on quantum computing, to Playa Vista to hear a panel discussion about in women in spacetech and I got a sneak peek at the plans for the new LA sports and entertainment complex for the Rams, Chargers and others.

I also attended events hosted by Eureka, Google Startups, OCTANe, EvoNexus, OC Startups and more, not to mention holding many coffees and lunches with people I had met along the way who wanted to talk more. Besides affirming my decision to drive a hybrid vehicle, what else did I learn from my constant travels?

I learned that the Southern California technology ecosystem is a healthy and growing network of innovation, energy and entrepreneurship that’s often overshadowed by its better-known Northern California cousin.

I learned that Southern California graduates more engineers and computer scientists than any region in the country. Yes, that’s right. As far as the best university system for technology, Southern California is No. 1, the Bay Area is No. 2.

I learned the average Southern California entrepreneur is a bit older and more experienced than the classic Silicon Valley 20-something wunderkind and seeks to leverage the practical lessons of their industry in starting their own business.

I learned that local entrepreneurs are looking to revolutionize their industries through a variety of digital transformation technologies in inventory and logistics, medical offices, package deliveries, nonprofits and much, much more.

I learned that these entrepreneurs are supported by a broad network of academic and nonprofit organizations ready to counsel, inspire and enable a path to growth and ultimate success.

I also learned that the successful tech entrepreneur can be identified by two traits: conviction and effective storytelling. Demonstrating conviction is required in how entrepreneurs tell their story to investors, customers and partners – with a passion and confidence that produces the same in others. Good storytelling is required to communicate the emotional elements of their value proposition – how it will help people, whether it will save lives or just keep customers from pulling their hair out.

One final lesson I already knew but will share anyway – HKA can help you deliver that story to the people that matter most to your business.

The Tech Industry Needs Heart

Most friends and fans of HKA know the firm’s longstanding reputation as a generalist agency serving nonprofits, professional services firms and a host of other people-focused industries. But HKA has a long legacy of serving clients in the technology industry as well.

Perhaps you’re an executive at a tech startup, or the head of a new digital transformation venture at an established brand or know someone seeking a tech PR firm. If so, you may wonder why a generalist agency such as HKA would be a wise choice when it comes to marketing communications support.

The answer is threefold: 1) HKA’s 35-year history of integrity and commitment to client service, 2) the team’s demonstrated capabilities serving the tech industry, and 3) our expertise in telling the human side of a client story. The first two reasons are self-explanatory. But why is the ability to explain the human side of the tech equation so important in an agency these days?

Because the tech industry needs to show some heart.

Recently, the tech industry’s reputation has taken numerous hits with the public. Data privacy failures and social media manipulations, as well as the toll of digital addiction on children, have combined to make some question technology’s ubiquitous role in our lives. This wariness will likely increase as advanced technologies such as robotics, drones and AI-enabled services become more visible in everyday life.

That’s why companies in these emerging markets need to communicate the overall benefits of their technology to a broad audience. If you’re in tech, your audience is not just the few hundred or so early adopters you may think it is. It’s the CEOs, CFOs and other executives of your potential customers, or the investors who need to easily grasp the potential of your organization. It may be government regulators, or college grads seeking a job, or potential partners in a non-tech industry or even your local community.

The public also needs to see the human face of the company offering these technologies and understand who the people are bringing them to market. Technology brands telling their technology story in a human-focused way is important so that all audiences – not just the tech savvy few – understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.

HKA is staffed with former journalists who know how to find the core of your company’s story and relay it in a simple, compelling fashion across traditional and social media. We understand the importance of the human touch in communications.

The promise of innovation has never been greater but will require meaningful connections with all audiences to achieve ultimate success.

PResolutions for the New Year

As the media universe continues to significantly impact lives, business success in the new year ahead means accepting – no, embracing and leveraging – modern marketing practices designed to elevate visibility and increase engagement. These three PR trends are shaping the PR landscape by helping companies to effectively communicate with their audiences.

Content That Performs

By now, the most effective PR plans include smart content marketing – the delivery of interesting, valuable and potentially viral information through unique channels, including social media, podcasts and blogs. Savvy marketers know the best strategies blend content creation with content performance. That is, it’s not enough to simply provide audiences with information that may pique their interest. When done right, the information ideally spreads. Newspapers, for example, are increasingly becoming aware of articles that appeal to subscribers – but also have the ability to increase web traffic, social shares and page views. Editors still want to satisfy their primary objective, which is to deliver newsworthy content. But, they are increasingly striving to address another primary objective – improving their own performance metrics. Editors used to wonder if a story would get read. They now are also concerned with its ability to pull in other readers, spawn comments and generate engagement. Effective content marketing plans will account for this evolution.

Micro-Influencers: Small but Mighty

Micro-influencers do not have the largest social followings. However, what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. A powerful subset of the influencer marketing category, micro-influencers generally have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. They are small, but they pack an authentic punch. They are more niche than they are mainstream. Their followers may have shunned big-name brands to be more selective, finding trust and credibility in an undersized voice. The result is a highly engaged audience capable of mass brand enthusiasm. Companies opting to partner with micro-influencers likely will find them easier and more cost-effective to work with than social giants, but the results can be just as eye-opening.

Trust in the Fake News Era

Whether or not you believe that fake news is rising, or even real, the term itself is now ubiquitous and trust in media is nearing an all-time low. Some polls have claimed that media is one of the least-trusted institutions. As such, communication strategies that once safely assumed trust as a given must now account for changing perceptions. Successful communication plans must focus on establishing a foundation of believability. As the PR industry works to craft public images, the skepticism brought on by the fake news era cannot be overlooked. Credibility and authenticity are paramount. Interestingly, while trust in the media may be compromised, the public desire to trust is still strong. In fact, some studies suggest that trust in technical experts is on the rise. More than ever, readers, viewers and listeners want to hear from experienced CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, and proven industry leaders. Creating, honing and sharing expertise is an excellent strategy to help build public trust and boost engagement with audiences, especially as they seek a voice to believe in and embrace.

Human Touch

In traditional B2B public relations, the general objective is to publicize the business benefits one company receives when it opts in with another. Many PR companies represent B2B organizations who want to promote these business benefits and win more clients as a result. For the agencies that do, the established PR play is to focus communications activities around raising awareness for the considerable return on investment individuals and businesses can realize if they elect to receive services from the company or person being showcased.

Among a host of outstanding professionals, HKA represents many prominent and successful wealth managers, CPAs and real estate developers under its B2B umbrella. Each of these HKA clients offers tremendous value to their own clients – established, financial value. And, as the PR firm, HKA is responsible for building and maintaining awareness that partnering with these professionals can help increase the bottom line for those who do. We do this because it helps our B2B clients with earned media coverage, new business leads and because, well, it’s true.

However, in telling client economic stories, HKA also ensures that the characters – often the real heroes of the story – aren’t forgotten. The humanity of client narratives can get lost along the way if there’s too much focus on abstract concepts like absorption rates, pass-through entities and yield curves.

Personal stories must be told, too. The flesh and blood anecdotes that drive any business success can’t be overlooked, especially as they often resonate so meaningfully with target audiences. Several examples of personal storytelling initiatives HKA recently deployed artfully mix facts and figures with faces and feeling:

  • Apriem Generations: A new content series for Irvine-based wealth managers, Apriem Advisors, lets the employees tell in their own words what motivates them professionally. Apriem Generations looks at their upbringing and often compares today’s economic challenges with those of previous generations. Whether the topic is immigration, retirement or paying for college, there is a human protagonist in each tale, and the story arcs are as heartwarming as they are informative.
  • Civic 50: Beyond providing high-quality business service to clients, constituents and other stakeholders, when an organization is socially conscious, community-minded and philanthropic, it is important to communicate this sense of give-back. Orange County Business Journal’s annual Civic 50 list recognizes companies who go above and beyond their corporate responsibilities, and HKA is proud to represent and support the interests of two of this year’s honorees, Haskell & White LLP and Companion Home Health and Hospice.
  • In Living Color: While illustrating the recent business successes of affordable housing developers Community Preservation Partners (CPP) and the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) with compelling charts and graphs, HKA also has focused on human successes to complement communications surrounding each organization’s real estate deals. The agency put residents on camera to explain in their own words how their lives have been dramatically improved by the respective landlords. A CPP tenant in Richmond, Virginia, was interviewed by a local television station about how happy she is with the improvements in her community, and an Irvine family discussed in a promotional video the wonderful lifestyle afforded to them by ICLT.

Of course, no one is suddenly going to stop caring about the bottom line. So, creating interpersonal bridges among companies, the people that comprise them, the communities they serve and the lives they change is paramount – and will go a long way toward humanizing the corporate client through PR. HKA is proud of its longstanding communications expertise as a bridge-builder.

Window Chopping

The days of window shopping at the local mall are numbered. The global, internet-driven marketplace features thousands of businesses that live online. Their customers live there, too. Websites have become modern-day storefronts – mannequins and all – and must be striking, relevant and current to entice today’s customers. A well-designed website can attract and convert window shoppers into buyers. A poorly designed website can turn people away and drive them to competitors. Is your website working for – or against you? If you have a website, consider trying on this fashionable questionnaire.

  1. Do visitors enjoy spending time on your website?In the brick-and-mortar world, the most successful retail shops and thriving business offices are the ones that appear clean and inviting. The same holds true for websites. This is likely the first – possibly the only – physical part of your business your customer will see, so it needs to make a great first impression. If the colors are too jarring, or if too many stock images are used, it’s time for an overhaul. If it’s too hard to read and find information, spend some time cleaning it up. The first impression usually comes down to how someone feels after using your website. Eliminate user frustrations at all cost and encourage positive vibes.
  2. Does your website work on a mobile device?Look at your website on a smartphone. If it doesn’t automatically scale to the size of the screen, forcing you to pinch and zoom up, down and sideways, it’s not made for mobile viewing. The average person spends 4+ hours on a phone every day, so the likelihood that someone is viewing your website on their phone or other mobile device is high. Plus, with the rise of the smart tablet as a primary computer, many people rarely even touch a desktop computer or laptop.

    If your website is not adapted for mobile viewing, you’re losing a huge chunk of the market right off the bat. At best, people are spending a few minutes on your site – enough to painfully search for the information they need. At worst, they write off your website (and possibly your company) because it’s too hard to navigate. And surely a competitor will be there to fill the void.

    Additionally, Google’s algorithms favor mobile friendly websites, so if you don’t want to get buried in the depths of Google Search, you’ll want a website that works across all devices.

  3. When searching your business, product or service, where does it rank on Google?Speaking of Google search results, if your website shows up on page two (or worse), it’s unlikely your audience will find it. Gone are the days of looking up the local salon in the yellow pages. Google is today’s business directory, and if customers can’t find you online, chances are they don’t know you exist.

    The first three websites to show up in a search receive up to 54 percent of user traffic. Viewership after that drops exponentially, with results on the second page only receiving 4 percent of click-throughs.

    This can be fixed by focusing on updating keywords used on your website, providing valuable content your audience is looking for and making it easy to navigate.

  4. Do you have dated information on your site, including people who no longer work there or services you no longer provide?Nothing turns off a prospective customer quicker than old, irrelevant information. Would you continue frequenting a restaurant with an outdated menu, or a retail store with the wrong pricing posted online? The same holds true for your website.

    People are coming to your site to learn something new or find a service they need. Customers have so many options these days. If they can’t find the information they need on your site, they can – and will – find it somewhere else. You don’t want to jeopardize your credibility by not reflecting current/accurate information.

  5. Does your URL have “https” in front of it?This means your site is not encrypted and therefore is not a secure site for users. Anything transmitted over an unencrypted site is easy for hackers to steal. It’d be like setting out a box of goods and just letting people use the honor system to pay. People want assurance that the sites they visit have protection measures, especially those taking personal/financial information.

    Moreover, Google penalizes websites that are not encrypted, pushing them further down on search results or not allowing people to access them at all. To fix this, check your web hosting and update to an SSL certificate. This is usually a quick and cheap fix, so there’s no reason to not update today.

  6. Could you brew a cup of coffee before you site finishes loading?Average users wait three seconds for a page to load, after that they’ll move on — maybe never to return. You don’t want to turn off visitors before they even open the door. Use a free online tool like Google Developer or Pingdom.com to check site speed and load issues. If it’s more than three seconds, you’ll want to optimize the coding, images and files on your page to get it loading quicker.

    This list can feel daunting, but with a little time and care, your website can be working for you to attract new customers and keep your current ones happy.

Big Data…Small World

These days, it seems there’s always a breaking news story pitting big data versus privacy. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook occupied the most recent spotlight in this trend – dominating the headlines and even forcing a Silicon Valley titan in front of Congress. While the debate about how best to protect personal privacy in a data-driven digital world continues, we can’t help but wonder: Has big data made our individual worlds smaller?

The dot-com boom and early days of the web unlocked a treasure trove of information. As digital infrastructure increased, so, too, did our access to information. With a few keystrokes, we were transported to new places. As technology advanced, photos gave way to videos. Skype and FaceTime visits replaced letter-writing. Social media connected us to friends and loved ones around the globe in an instant, and advertisers took notice, capitalizing on the newfound connectivity.

Despite the current controversy over how data is collected, shared and used in digital advertising, global citizens continue to live online every day, sharing more information about their behavior and their preferences with unnamed data-miners. And the data-miners continue to use the information they gather to feed us more content based on prior online behaviors. It’s all quite digitally cyclical.

Clearly, our online behavior labels us. Analytics can identify us as parents, pet owners, home-owners and renters. It can detect political affiliations, travel aspirations and fashion choices. The boxes we are placed into help control the content pushed out to us. In many ways, this can be extremely helpful, pointing out useful new products or experiences. However, there also is a somewhat unfortunate, limiting effect not often considered. What new content do we miss out on when so much information pushed to us is tailored to our existing interests?

As we catch up to the many algorithms that dictate the content we’re sent, we often attempt to regain some content control by filtering what we consume. We may purposefully follow (or block) brands on social media. We may even subconsciously visit the same websites constantly for information. Between our own filtering habits and the data-driven content being presented to us, we limit ourselves to just a few topics of interest, thereby restricting our access to new and exciting information on topics we don’t usually entertain.

Despite having unprecedented access to information, we continue to consume the same content, read news from the same sources and send our e-commerce business to the same retailers.

Our individual worlds have shrunk dramatically from the days of flipping through magazines or newspapers and discovering interesting, off-the-beaten-path stories. While government and private business argue over data-sharing policies, maybe we should exit our everyday browser and visit a new website. Better yet, pick up a newspaper or magazine and turn the pages. There might be a whole new world of untapped, thought-provoking topics for your digital feed.

Winning with Content Marketing

Want to know more about content marketing? You’ve come to the right place. For starters, imagine you’re in a room full of people. You’re networking – and attempting to make meaningful connections.

You strike up a conversation with someone who tells you how important he is. In his words, he makes lots of big decisions that change the world and looks good doing it. He tells you about all his friends. They are prominent and successful friends who think he’s cool. Before pushing his business card on you, he reminds you that you’d be wise to keep in touch – because he’s going places. You’re going places, too. You’re going far away from him.

Later, you spot the familiar face of someone you’ve heard great things about and want to meet. You go over to say hello and are greeted warmly. She is as interested in you as you are in her. Questions and answers flow easily. Compliments and affirmations fly. The conversation is laced with authentic, mutual admiration. You tell her about a close friend that would benefit greatly from her services and offer to make an introduction. She accepts, and you make plans to meet again for coffee.

Still with me? Good, because content marketing, which isn’t new, follows the basic rules of networking. Successful content marketers will tell you content marketing is the business of building relationships. They also will tell you (accurately) that as the digital media universe continues to expand, producing countless marketing options and complexities, content marketing is one of the most important communication strategies to engage and grow target audiences. And don’t be surprised when the experts remind you that mastering content marketing doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming, as you likely already know the basics, which take their shape from effective networking principles.

Recognizing that consumers control which brands they want to engage with, 89 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing to increase leads and drive brand awareness, according to Content Marketing Institute. Increasingly, brands that provide genuine value, listen and deliver on the needs of their consumers are the ones poised for successful consumer engagement. A recent survey by OneSpot found that 87 percent of consumers say personally relevant content positively influences how they feel about a brand.

If the world is a room filled with millions of consumers and brands, the best consumer-brand conversations are laced with authentic, mutual admiration. The questions and answers flow easily. There’s follow-up and follow-through. Compliments and affirmations fly. Sound familiar?

Here are a handful of networking reminders that also can also be applied to your content marketing strategies this year (and beyond).

  1. Get to the party on timeIt’s tempting to wait until just the right moment, but the perfect moment may never arrive. Maybe you aren’t sure how to start a blog or what part of your business story needs telling. Preparation is always advisable, but waiting too long means others will get there before you, and it’s much harder to make an impression when the market is overcrowded. Don’t be afraid to dive in. Create a few realistic goals and set deadlines to achieve them. Then, figure out how you will execute by identifying your resources, including an online course, tapping an employee’s underused skills or even hiring a PR agency.
  2. Ditch the sales pitchNobody likes a showboat. Businesses can’t just proclaim what makes them special. They must add authentic value to the conversation. The most successful networkers make other people feel special, and the same goes for successful content marketing practices where the content identifies solutions, connects like-minded people and demonstrates why a product or service really is invaluable.
  3. Ask questions AND pay attention to the answersYou ditched the sales pitch, now what? Be an active, interested conversationalist. Content marketing should be a dialogue between companies and consumers. Brands must ask insightful questions and collect data to better understand consumer needs, likes/dislikes, feelings about marketing efforts and preferences for receiving information. But, they shouldn’t stop there. They must act! Real engagement is achieved when companies listen AND respond. These days, everyone seems willing to share an opinion. Companies should deliver action when they reach and connect with audiences on a personal level.
  4. Share your passionBuilding relationships means finding your tribe and connecting with members on similar levels. What makes you passionate about your industry? Why did you get into the business? Why is your product or service important to you personally? Speak up! Chances are, others share your same passion and want to engage. These are your people, your audience. Make it easy for them to find you by talking about your passion loud and often.
  5. SmilePeople respond to positivity. The best stories tell an intriguing narrative and leave listeners with a warm feeling, a chuckle, a deeper understanding of an issue or a move toward action. Humor goes a long way, but messages don’t always have to be funny to elicit a smile and make a lasting impression. The goal with any content should be to leave your audience in a better place than before they engaged with you.
  6. Follow upKeep in touch – whether to make a new connection or respond to a question from someone you already know. Nothing kills a relationship faster than communication darkness. Respond in a timely manner, and if your communication isn’t constant, at least make it regular. Identify your targets’ preferred method of communication and send updates, reminders, suggestions or just say hello. Vary your approach with email, newsletters and social media to help you stay connected while giving audiences the opportunity to engage on their terms.