Speaking Sustainably

3 digital strategies to make your sustainability story pop

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Americans increasingly want to hear your company’s sustainability story:

  • Every month there are over 110,000 searches for the term "green" in the U.S.
  • In Shelton Group's Pulse studies, we see that two-thirds of the American population claims to be searching for greener products.

In an age where storefronts and consumer goods appear overnight, differentiation has become key in encouraging consumers to make specific purchases. Simultaneously, the challenge to be seen at all is growing daily. As more social media channels and websites appear, the first page of results in search engines is becoming more competitive.

That’s why a well-thought-out digital marketing strategy is key for telling  and leveraging  your sustainability story. Here are three strategies to attract buyers looking for greener options.

Fueling the content machine

We’ve all heard the clichés: "content is king," "feeding the content beast," "the content machine." When rolling out any campaign, it must be supported by good content. To even think about ranking in a search engine, you must have a strong content plan in place. But where do you start? How do you keep a consistent flow of new ideas and new content?

Fueling the content machine can appear daunting or even unrealistic at first. However, taking the time to understand your buyer and their motivations will give you key insights into the content you should create.

For example, say you’re selling a new organic potting soil. Explore why people would buy your product — do they want to avoid non-organic fertilizers for the food they grow; are they looking to make the "right" choice for the planet; is there a benefit to your soil that no other brand offers?

Explore each reason in the content you create and test to see what does well. You never truly can know what will resonate with your audience until you put your content live. Don’t be afraid to test, because the unexpected often leads to great results.

Maintaining the blog funnel

When it comes to blogging, there must be regular curation of new ideas. Creating a platform for members of your team to contribute to is a challenge. People are often uncomfortable with their writing or are unsure of whether their ideas are actually "blog worthy" ideas.

The key is to eliminate barriers for folks to contribute and create an environment for ideas to flourish. Writing and submitting ideas shouldn’t be a burden on your team. However, not every idea will be a gem. To balance quality control of ideas and give each author the leeway to have her own voice goes back to your audience.

Leverage the work you’ve done in creating your content strategy — for those unsure where to start, encourage them to dive deeper into the problems your buyers are trying to solve. There is always a new angle to explore or a best practice to explain, each with the writer’s own experience shaping the piece.

Not everyone on your team is a writer or wants to be. However, they are still an invaluable resource for topics. Whether you use digital tools such as Google Docs to curate ideas or go the route of meetings, capturing those "oh, what about this idea" moments is key.

Staying social

Social media is the platform for your brand. It is the place where you can reach your influencers, share your beliefs and connect with your buyers. When your social strategy (what you say online through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter) aligns with your content strategy (your blogs, white papers and infographics), they amplify each other for greater results.

First and foremost, you must reach your buyers where they are and provide the information they need. If you’re aiming for baby boomers, Facebook is their platform of choice; however, baby boomers want other ways to contact your company, preferably via phone. While millennials engage across a wider range of social platforms, they will still check Facebook for reviews and information, rather than starting at your website.

Your social media platforms are the places where you will share all the content you’ve been creating to not only drive site visits and engagement but to (hopefully) truly help solve their problems.

On the flip side, social isn’t just about sharing your own content — dialog is key. If a customer has a valid problem and complains about it on social media, empathize with them and address the problem as much as possible before having them contact you privately. When you have part of your conversation in the open, it cultivates trust in your brand and demonstrates that you aren’t trying to brush a problem under the rug.

Infuse your brand’s personality into your interaction.

Take Tesla, for example:

Most brands would ignore this humorous, albeit irrelevant comment, but Elon Musk’s response showcases his and Tesla’s approachability. It brings him to a level that feels relatable and not removed from his audience.

NRG Energy, on the other hand, provides insightful videos about their programs and has a fully built out Facebook page with contact means through phone and Facebook Messenger.

How will you use digital media to tell your sustainability story?

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