Arment Dietrich

The Two Missing Links in Your Content Strategy

By: Arment Dietrich | March 7, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

I’ve had a very challenging week leaving me with only one thing on my mind I can write about: My dog Jackson.

Jackson is very big and grew fast so he has bad joints causing him a lot of pain. When the bones don’t grow at the right pace compared to each other, they don’t meet well in the elbows and knees and all sorts of problems ensue.

Things have come to a head lately and our local vet just wasn’t able to help us. So I did what anyone very concerned fur mom would do. I turned to the Internet for research.

In the course of my very targeted, long tail search, I came across an article in the Seattle Times titled “An Ailing Pup’s Owner Goes the Distance to Get Help.”

If you have a pet you love, you’ll understand the ambiguity in the article title – is it the pup or the owner who is ailing?

The story immediately tugged at me. It told how Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital came to the rescue for this man and his dog’s issues. The “Mayo Clinic” for animals, it said, is only four hours from me and I had no idea.

I called in the morning and made an appointment for the following week. Three days of visits, radiographs, CT scans, and arthroscopic surgery later, the ROI on that one Seattle Times story was <cough> more than decent.

The article was dated 2003.

No one asked me how I heard about them. And because the nature of their business is for me to pick up the phone and call, they have no digital path with which to record my conversion from that one story.

Stories do work. We know that.

We fight the battle of justifying the expense of PR. John-Henry Scherck blogged for us recently explaining the SEO value of PR links declines over time. But the storytelling value does not.

The Two Missing Links in Your Content:

  1. Be the super hero. Don’t just make a human connection. Solve your customers’ problems in way that makes them feel like you are coming to their rescue. Each and every organization should be in existence for that purpose. And therefore, each every organization has that story(ies) to share.
  2. Don’t rely on technology alone to track it for you. Please, for the love of all things good in your storytelling, integrate your traditional with your digital tactics. Keep an inventory of your stories on the web, and make sure your point of sale and front line people are asking the right tracking questions. Don’t just say “internet.” Ask them which story. I know a majority of people don’t know how they found you, but for those people to whom you “came to their rescue?” They will remember, and you can then assign ROI to that piece of content.

One article from 2003. Can you imagine how much revenue that has brought in for them in the past nine years? And yet, they say PR is just a bunch of fluff. We have to do the extra work to do our own PR.

Thanks to the Seattle Times for helping me find the solution to my problems, and for letting me borrow the photo from the article that stole my heart. Jackson is recovering nicely and will be a much happier dog for it. 

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

24 responses to “The Two Missing Links in Your Content Strategy”

  1. KenMueller says:

    Great story. I can only imagine what their story could be like if they captured their stories and used them more effectively. Interesting perspective you brought to this. Thanks, Lisa. 

  2. Those are two very great points, Lisa. Point No. 2 really resonates. If we asked the right tracking questions all of the time I can only imagine where PR would be at, instead of where it is. I’ll be referring back to these tips several times and sense I’ll be much better for it.

  3. Shonali says:

    First of all, I’m so glad Jackson is doing ok. When you told me you were in Washington, I was really worried about him (weirdly enough, we’ve been going through our own issues with two of our three dogs). Second, what a terrific way to teach a quintessential PR lesson, Lisa. I honestly don’t know if anyone but you could have written this. Bravo to you, WSUVTH and Jackson!

    • Lisa Gerber says:

      @Shonali Honestly, I wasn’t in a frame of mind to write about anything else! I kept thinking about it and thought oh wow: There’s a story right there in front of my face. 🙂

  4. ginidietrich says:

    Poor Bubby. I was telling Mr. D that Pepper had to get the cone of shame, too, because she kept grooming him. 
    I love the lesson about not relying on technology to track it for you. Sometimes all it takes is a simple, “How’d you hear about us?” when you check in.

  5. John_Trader1 says:

    Great post Lisa, and sorry to hear about the pup. It’s always amazed me at the number of paid events and functions I attend where absolutely no one asks me where I heard about the event in the absence of a digital way to track where I came from. Perplexing.
    The one thing I want to reiterate and emphasize that you brought up is making sure that your front line and point of sale folks are asking the right questions. Sometimes this is a lot harder than just telling them or writing it in an email. You have to remind them. Again. And again. And again. What I have found that works is hold the accountable and make them track this information and log it, and once a week (or whenever appropriate), discuss it with them in a sales meeting, etc. to brainstorm on ideas how to improve traffic. Who knows what might turn up.

    • Lisa Gerber says:

      @John_Trader1 The thing is, it’s a lot of extra work. So finding ways to make it matter and motivate staff to really do it is the trick. Its amazing when we think about how much we don’t know.

  6. lisagerber says:

    @WhitneyPunchak this made me smile. Thank you!! @ginidietrich

  7. lisagerber says:

    @CraigMcBreen hi there! I haven’t spoken to you in ages. My fault but hi! 🙂

  8. ginidietrich says:

    @bdorman264 You crack me up!

  9. SpinSucks says:

    @glenn_ferrell thanks for sharing and I like your new avatar!

  10. lisagerber says:

    @elabuzz Thanks, Elaina!

  11. […] Gerber shares a compelling story on how an article published in 2003 helped her find the services she needed. And why companies […]

  12. lisagerber says:

    @nicolebestard Thanks Nicole! 🙂

  13. lisagerber says:

    @patstrader @notashortstory @joeldon thanks you guys!

  14. […] Good PR lasts. Our friends over at Spin Sucks recently posted about how one story, placed online, managed to make a difference in a dog’s life, as well as that of his companions and the staff who oversaw (and profited) from his care—NINE years later. […]

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