Most people will tell you that first impressions matter a great deal. When you’re interviewing for a new job, you want to be dressed nicely, groomed appropriately, and come in with your back pocket full of knowledge related to the company, the industry and where you would fit in. Sorry to tell you though, even if you nail all that, it’s not the first impression.
First impressions are often made before face-to-face meetings ever happen. If you sent the company a resume, that’s its first impression of you. The language you used to describe yourself, your experience, your goals. The care you took (or didn’t take) to make sure there were no spelling or grammatical mistakes. The style you chose, be it a sleek and clean take on a modern resume or a creative, outside-the-box infographic or video resume. Did you include a portfolio of your previous work? How did you package it?
Your content choices make that critical first impression before you even set foot in a face-to-face interview, much like the content a brand creates can often make a first impression before prospects ever speak with you.
The Real First Impression
In the modern digital age, no one goes into these kinds of meetings blind. Prospects have done their research. They’ve read your blog posts, evaluated your website’s design and functionality, searched for contributed content and media coverage featuring members of your executive team, watched videos you’ve produced and shared online, etc. They take snapshots of your social media activity to see how you interact with customers, journalists, other prospects and more. In truth, first impressions in the B2B world are often made before there is ever any formal contact between two organizations. That’s why the content decisions you make today have significant implications for your business tomorrow — and the next day.
It used to be that public relations operated almost on a time delay. Agencies would secure coverage or speaking opportunities or make major press announcements and then dive into proactive pitching in the hopes of generating some traction. And while this is still done to this day, the Internet, social media and content marketing have drastically altered the timeline we operate on.
The New PR Timeline
With a few taps of the keyboard, prospects can research content featuring your brand from five minutes ago or five years ago. Every press release, every blog post, every video uploaded to YouTube, every award your brand has ever won can be accessed in the time it takes to execute a Google search (i.e., really, really fast). An article that’s two years old could influence a potential customer’s opinion of your brand. Ten or 20 years ago, finding that article would have been a much more time-consuming process than it is today, which means prospects are much more likely to search for and find that content, shaping that first impression before you get a chance to speak with them.
Marrying the mainstay principles of public relations with the high-volume, high-speed nature of content marketing and striking a balance between the two — that’s what the best PR agencies the world over are striving for. It means that brand identities can be built over the long term, and that successes from the past can always be leveraged in the present if utilized properly. Now, the converse of that is true as well, which is why content and PR campaign strategies are so critical. Never has the nature of PR been more proactive than it is today, and that’s very good news for brands everywhere, particularly for B2B technology firms whose worlds are driven by rapid-fire innovation.
Want to learn more? Check out our free eBook!
In The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging, we cover:
- The ongoing changes in the world of PR
- The principles of content marketing for tech companies
- Important blogging strategies
- How to use press releases for more than just brand-building