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Whether it’s customers or stakeholders, the key to keeping them coming back to your organization is to give them what they want and a little more, enabling you to consistently exceed their expectations. Organizations do exactly that when they commit to delivering superior digital corporate communications and investor relations (IR) content for their constituent stakeholders.

 

By all standards and metrics, a digital-first approach empowers your corporate communications and IR functions to exceed user expectations like never before, ensuring they come back to you again and again. Here are some of the most relevant benefits for companies who embrace a robust digital corporate communications strategy.

Accessibility and scalability of digital content

Last year, for the first time ever, mobile use of the internet exceeded desktop use, which means that people are accessing online content across a variety of portals — smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. A digital-first approach requires content to be optimized for consumption and use across each of those platforms. For example, some may be surprised to know that 51 percent of all videos are now viewed on a mobile device.

 

That means there’s a lot of access overlap among viewers. So, digital content needs to address this diffused consumption, whether the content is for corporate communications or IR purposes. People want to access the information they want when they want it — and this is where digital content can deliver.

 Increased shareability and amplification

 There was a time when the corporate communications function relied almost exclusively on in-person press conferences, media releases faxed to newsrooms and letters to the editor, while the IR group depended on city-to-city analyst roadshows, quarterly earnings calls and published annual reports.

 

Nowadays, digital materials are infinitely scalable — a white paper, analyst report, press release, video snippet or any digitized collateral can instantly be shared globally with thousands or even millions of people across the world. All it takes is clicking “post” on social media or sending a message to an opt-in email list or an online news wire service. A multiplier effect can then occur, wherein individuals and influencers amplify the message across their own networks, which could result in content going viral.

 

Digital formats make it easier for stakeholders to share the content they want to share — where, when and how they want to. 

Enhanced conversations with stakeholders 

Before the internet facilitated the spread of digital content and social media engagement, stakeholders and customers had an arm’s-length relationship with companies. There was no intuitive mechanism in place for bidirectional information exchange. Of the companies that could afford call centers for customer inquiries, many ultimately offshored that function to cheaper labor pools or installed glitchy interactive voice response systems that often spurred resentment rather than relationship.

 

A digital-first approach today, however, ensures direct interaction with stakeholders via text/instant messaging, Skype or online chat services. These web-based options provide immediate real-time engagement with relevant individuals in an unprecedented manner. 

Improved search engine optimization (SEO) 

Make no mistake: Search is still king when it comes to navigating the internet and having users locate your content. While Google will continue to adjust its search algorithm, it still rewards sites that have quality backlinks with high search rankings while punishing those that try to game the system. Securing high-quality placements of digital content on relevant web pages boosts both SEO and organic traffic to your own site.

 

Analog and print content simply can’t do that. 

Sustainable, engaging content 

One of the beautiful things about digital content is its ability to be easily transformed and repurposed into a variety of different formats. Consider that an online webinar can be transcribed and converted into a series of blog posts or a byline article for a media publication. Or it can be repurposed into an infographic or an electronic detail aid. It can even be morphed into a brief animation and posted to YouTube.

 

The increasing importance of video content cannot be overstated. This is especially true when you consider that, according to a study by video creation site Animoto, four times as many consumers prefer watch a video about a product than read about it and that 25 percent of individuals actively lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video elements on its website. 

Direct measure of impact and results 

Department store magnate John Wanamaker is famously credited with saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

 

Unlike print materials, analog content or traditional marketing activities of the sort bemoaned by Wanamaker, digital materials provide precise and accurate metrics regarding their effectiveness. You can track the time spent on a particular web page, click-through rates for a blog post, an email’s open rate, the number of views a video receives, the previous page an individual viewed before clicking to your site, how many customers downloaded a report — and so on.

 

Digital drives measurable insights regarding impact — and that drives understanding of what’s important to your customers. Because knowing what your stakeholders prefer to consume enables you to give them what they want and then a bit more, to keep them coming back.

 

Repeat customers are the key to success, and a digital-first approach to corporate communications and IR content is a critical first step toward achieving that.

Tor Constantino is a former journalist, speaker, best-selling author and current public relations executive with an M.B.A. degree and more than 25 years experience as a communications professional. He’s worked for several large-cap, publicly traded companies including: Frontier Communications, Global Crossing, Bausch & Lomb, MedImmune and AstraZeneca with increasing roles and responsibilities. His core competencies include crisis management, corporate reputation curation and strategic communications counsel.

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