Catch the Buzz

by Thomas Bourneville
buzzCorporate Communications Companies regularly send out newsletters in print or online providing information of interest—or not—to their members, customers, stakeholders or employees.

It is a very common marketing strategy, which can be very beneficial to the organization, but having researched hundreds of newsletters from large and small companies in various industries, we found all lacked a very basic component—“Buzz.”

What is buzz and why is it so important?

Marketing buzz—or simply buzz—is a term used in word-of-mouth marketing. The interaction of consumers and users of a product or service serve to amplify the original marketing message.

Simply put, buzz is a conversation starter, something that grips the attention of readers and is entertaining, fascinating or funny, but most importantly it gives people—in this case the target audience of your newsletter—something to talk about and remember.

By creating buzz, you give your reader something to share, something to take back to friends, colleagues and family, who may in turn share it with others; this gives your brand, product or service a rare currency “buzz.”

Corporate newsletters and marketing collateral are often heavy enough in the details that no matter what you do to create visually appealing content it will still be a heavy read. So why not spice it up? Why not give your readers something to look forward to every issue?

You may wonder how this could be done within your own corporate guidelines and principles. Companies with the editorial, illustration and design prowess—such as that of Custom Media have creative teams “buzzing” around drawing boards dreaming up catchy content to suit our clients’ needs, without crossing the lines.

By consulting with your corporate communications and marketing teams we bring to the table original, creative concepts and content ideas that will capture your audience with buzz. For example, if your newsletter target audience is your staff then why not create an Employee of the Month column? Not your regular average column, but something amusing or interesting. Include a cartoon/caricature of the selected employee and ask him or her to share a funny story or personal anecdote. Colleagues will learn something humorous or interesting about the individual, who basks in the spotlight as you have created a sense of belonging and something to look forward to. The next thing you know, a buzz circulates around the office water cooler and everyone wants to know who will be featured next.

You may say, “Well, we don’t want it because all we need is just a formal communication tool to our stakeholders. That’s fine, but what percentage of these stakeholders actually pay attention to what you send them? And how could you more effectively grab their attention?