Stories make the social web go round. Did you know that the human brain is wired to remember stories? In fact we are 22 times more likely to remember a story than facts and figures alone, that’s according to Stanford University Professor, Jennifer Aker.
Without digital stories (otherwise known as content) we wouldn’t have engagement, interaction or conversation. Therefore, a robust content marketing strategy is crucial to enthuse your online community – whether they are following you on social media, clicking through your website or subscribing to your blog posts.
Content marketing for law enforcement should help you achieve the following objectives.
- Encouraging citizens to sign up to your e-zine for emergency or other public interest updates.
- Encouraging your online community to re-share your social media content.
- Generating feedback and possible crime investigation information as a result of public call-outs, for example, missing persons, burglaries or witness reports of road traffic accidents.
- Raising the profile of your agency, its people and your work.
- Managing your online reputation.
- Communicating and interacting with the media.
- Raising awareness of public information campaigns, for example, drug driving testing.
Here are my top five content marketing tips for law enforcement.
#1 - Content Planning
As a former broadcast journalist I know how important it is to prepare your content. Arriving in to do the early shift (7am-3pm) to a blank sheet and zero minutes, I know what's involved in creating great content.
My job was to fill 20 minutes of a main lunchtime bulletin at 1pm and fill 4-minute hourly bulletins around it over an 8-hour shift. But we had tactics to deliver on this. We had a content plan.
In fact the first thing I did when I arrived in to work at 7am was to ring each of the five District Garda (police) Stations in the county to find out if there were any major incidents to report such as road traffic accidents or break-ins.
Now that I am working exclusively in the digital communications world, I bring that experience to bear on my and my clients’ social media strategies. But when planning your content you need to firstly research what your community are searching online and what they are interested in.
SEMrush - This tool allows you to track keywords across both paid and organic search campaigns and will influence your content calendar. There’s no point in writing content that nobody wants to read.
#2 - Online PR
Don’t forget the world of online media when marketing your content. Online PR is a very important part of your content marketing strategy. Extend your traditional PR activities to the social web by issuing online press release with rich media content such as videos, photos and infographics, which online media love.
PR Web - Use this syndication platform to send SEO optimized press releases about your most valuable content to 30,000 journalists, 250,000 opt-in news subscribers and to the 3 million monthly visitors on PRWeb.com. The platform is easy to use and allows many effective tools to create your press release, distribute it and monitor its success.
#3 - Video
By 2018 80% of content accessed on our mobile phones will be video. Are you prepared for the increase in video storytelling? You better be. It’s no longer necessary to hire in a video production company to create videos. Smartphones provide with us HD footage that we can upload directly onto the social web.
Powtoon – This is a great tool that lets you easily create animated, professional videos. It has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that guides you through each step of the video making process. You can also export your video to YouTube in just a couple of clicks. Powtoon report its users have experienced an astounding 300% increase in engagement by using the tool.
#4 - Content Promotion
After all your hard work in researching keywords, working on story telling, creating graphics and perhaps even video, don’t keep your content to yourself. It’s vital to promote it. Here are some great ways to promote content:
- Share on all your social networking sites, and design a featured image (correct dimensions) to go with it.
- Consider social advertising. Facebook has unrivalled persona profiling data which can vastly extend the reach of your content but also serving it to the right people at the right time, in the right place with the right interests.
- Use a trending hashtag to go with your content (but it has to be relevant).
- Link social media updates to a dedicated website landing page where people can read more information.
Buffer - Use Buffer to schedule your content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for posting at the best times optimized for your account or at the times of your choosing. Buffer helps streamline the process of distributing content to each channel quickly and effectively.
#5 - Data Collection
The ‘business’ of law enforcement is all about community – the community you live, work, patrol, but also the online community where your citizens are engaging with you. With that in mind, are you capturing the data of your citizens to keep them informed on what’s happening in your law enforcement agency that is in the public interest? Email marketing is alive and well and in fact I would argue is making resurgence since the explosion of social media marketing.
Mailchimp – It’s one of the easiest email marketing platforms to use to market your content to your email list. Don’t have an email list? The exclusive content your agency will create and distribute using this platform will help fuel new subscribers to your email list.
Law enforcement agencies must raise the content bar and produce more engaging content to have greater impact on your social media efforts. Simply, just get more creative.