Engaging Hearts and Minds

Digital analyst, Brian Solis, captured my attention with his blog post, “Attention is a Gift: Once you have my attention, why should I care?” His focus with this blog post is to encourage his audience to create content that engages and adds value. When the audience feels that connection to the message, it helps develop relevance and reciprocity. Numbers can also raise awareness of your post, but does that really say something about the content that you’re disseminating? The engagement and discussions occurring within a post are important because they reveal who is paying attention and wants to be involved.

In an eBook Solis worked on called “Attention is a Currency,” with LinkedIn’s Jason Miller and GapingVoid’s Hugh MacLeod, they developed a content marketing campaign that helps content strategists and marketers rethink their approach to content and community engagement. Posts that capture attention are usually culturally relevant, meaningful and shareable. Solis is talking about the type of posts that bond people together and help enhance audience engagement. When we have the opportunity to tell a story, we ignore it, and instead broadcast our message across social media without really embracing or getting to know our audience.

This blog post reminded me of our Aug 25th lecture in class, which was coincidentally the same day Solis posted on his blog. We discussed the Edelman model “From Public Relations to Public Engagement.” Two principles adopted by the company are, “from promoting to informing” and “from campaigns to continuing conversation.” This is relevant to what Solis was saying in capturing the attention of your audience. Solis gave an interesting example that we’ll sometimes create for those people who approve our work rather than create for our audience by not getting to know and understand them.

I want to know what all of you think about this topic. Is audience engagement more important than the numbers? Or do you think it’s just as important or less important?

I’ll leave you with a quote from the eBook: “True engagement isn’t something you sell, it’s something you feel.”

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2 Responses to Engaging Hearts and Minds

  1. Morgan Rath says:

    Engagement is absolutely more important than numbers. It’s one thing to get people to notice content, but it’s a whole other thing to get them to engage with it. Engaging is the way we are actually able to gauge people’s opinions about messages, campaigns, new strategies, etc. Through stakeholder engagement, we can enhance and tailor our campaigns and messaging for optimal outreach and success.

  2. Siera Whitten says:

    Engagement is key to success in the public relations field. For instance, when you are conducting research- sending out emails, making a post on Facebook, asking someone to participate in a survey- they could be interested in the topic, they could view your website or your email and rack up your viewership or numbers, but if they aren’t actually engaging on your website, answering your email, or participating in your survey, then there is no real results. Engagement can be a measure of how successful and valuable a campaign is to your audience. With that being said, I am not saying numbers and viewership is not important, but it is only part of the puzzle. Your client needs your PR expertise to know who their audience is, and without engagement you would be missing a huge piece to the puzzle.

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