On one day every year, millions of people around the globe stay glued to their TV sets, waiting for the commercial breaks—not to run to the bathroom, but to actually watch them.
I remember being in Denver with friends during the Super Bowl several years ago.
We spent the day on the slopes, with the goal of being back in our hotel room—with snacks—in time to tweet our thoughts on the commercials.
It was both funny and sad.
We didn’t speak to one another during the commercials. We only knew what the others were thinking if we read their tweets.
It was the early days of Twitter and we were all obsessed. I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t do that today.
The ads, though, have become so popular, some start-ups spend most of their year’s marketing budget for a 30-second slot.
This is in the hopes their clever ad will build instant brand fans and catapult them into profitability.
Most brands don’t have five million dollars to spend on a 30 second slot (not to mention what it costs to create said ad).
But that’s OK!
If you take a smart approach with your communications activities, you don’t need it.
Here are four things you can start right now, to build loyal brand fans and the same kind of success you might gain from one very expensive Super Bowl ad.
Publish a Company Blog
Though many are calling the blog dead, there is an argument to be made (this very blog, for instance) that blogging is still extraordinarily effective.
When you publish engaging, authoritative content on a platform you own, such as your website, it is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to improve your website’s SEO and domain authority.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a traditional blog.
It could be consistently updated with frequently asked questions, media room, or resources.
Publish content that speaks to the unique challenges your ideal customer faces.
Talk to your brand fans and ask them for content input.
This not only speaks directly to those who buy from you, it helps build your thought leadership profile.
This comes in handy when pitching your company and its content to the media.
A journalist is more likely to take a chance on an unknown source who has a number of well-written pieces of content on a topic they can review before agreeing to the interview.
Because the journalist has a limited amount of time and that article gives them a good sense of your point-of-view and ability to provide articulate commentary on the topic.
Build Influencer Relationships Before You Need Them
If you wait to reach out to journalists and other industry influencers until you have something to pitch them, you’re unlikely to be happy with the results.
Instead, identify and prioritize the journalists, industry analysts, bloggers, and other influencers who your customers turn to when making a buying decision.
These are the folks whose content you should read, share, and comment upon.
Get to know your influencers over time so, when you do finally reach out to them, it’s with a tailored pitch that shows you’ve done your homework.
Or, even better, have already built a relationship with and they know who you are.
Engage with Your Community
Too often, brands forget about the social part of social media.
Social media channels aren’t there for you to use as a broadcast channel.
Use social listening to uncover opportunities to converse with your biggest brand fans.
Thank them for their brand shout-outs.
Share their brand-love and user-generated content.
Word-of-mouth continues to grow in its importance in consumer purchase decisions.
Cultivating a vibrant community of engaged brand fans pays off by building your brand reputation far beyond your current customers and your existing advertising efforts.
Not to mention…journalists are often rewarded by pageviews.
Which means, if you have an engaged community who shares your stuff, the more willing they are to work with you.
If you can help them drive pageviews, you will be their hero.
Amplify Your Media Coverage
When you finally get that big media hit, what do you do about?
Yes, you should absolutely share it with your internal team and your customers.
Yes, you absolutely should post it on your website.
Include the publication’s logo on your homepage (just make sure you link to the original article).
But that’s only the starting point of making the most of it.
You can translate that piece of coverage into new social media followers.
It can drive click-throughs to your website if you boost it with small paid social buys.
Allocate as little as $50 per social media channel to share the content where most of your website referral traffic comes from.
If you want more ideas on how to amplify—or repurpose—your content, Moz had a handy little article on it earlier this week.
I recommend reading it and putting it to good use.
Build Brand Fans with Long-Lasting Appeal
Though a Super Bowl ad is over with in 30 seconds, the above outlined activities have longer lasting power.
They do take time. You are, after all, building relationships with human beings.
And, even though the relationships are mostly online, it still takes time to build trust and loyalty.
They also serve the purpose of remaining top-of-mind, longer, in someone’s brain.
For instance, I can remember the Danika Patrick GoDaddy ad, not because I want to buy from them, but because it offended me.
I also remember the puppymonkeybaby because it was super creepy, but I can’t remember who it was for.
(Mountain Dew—I had to look it up.)
Wouldn’t you far prefer to have a strategy that lasts longer, builds loyalty, and creates sustainable revenue than have 30 seconds to show off to the world?