For a few hours today, the eyes (and camera phones) of the nation were cast upward in anticipation of the solar eclipse. For the rest of the day, many of those eyes were on computer and cell phone screens, and there’s a good chance they were looking at content from NASA. When daylight was at its dimmest, NASA’s communications team made sure they were ready for the spotlight. From expert commentary in news stories to a live-streamed webcast, the space agency was everywhere today.
While your company or its clients’ industry may not get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shine in its field of business, there will be opportunities for its leaders to demonstrate their expertise when people are paying attention. Here are a few tips we can all learn from NASA on how to strike while the iron is hot.
Get your experts out there early and often.
While the best part of the moon’s shadow didn’t make landfall in the Oregon until around 10:15 a.m. PT, NASA and its experts have been cited or quoted regularly in news stories for the past week. From tips on the best places and times to see the eclipse in its totality to information on the types of glasses and lenses that allow safe viewing, the agency was the go-to source for a variety of news media in the week leading up to the celestial event. While it’s important to put your best foot forward when attention is at its peak, it’s equally important to own your moment from start to finish.
Provide relevant, compelling content.
NASA had multiple social media accounts cranking out content today. They provided graphics that showed the path of the moon’s shadow, offered a how-to video for making a DIY pinhole projector using foil and a cereal box and, of course, shared tons of great photos and video from the eclipse. If your goal is to attract clicks and encourage shares, content is king.
Let social media lead the way.
With millions of people joining the conversation via social media, NASA leveraged its content in a steady stream of posts throughout the day. Not only did it make great use of the images and video the agency created, they also earned thousands of retweets with playful interaction between their @NASASun and @NASAMoon accounts. Putting a human voice behind what can otherwise be pretty dry scientific information drew a lot of attention. Whether you’re communicating with your audience or just having some fun with members of your own team, social media is a two-way street and the best way to lead the conversation during a live event.
It’ll only be another seven years or so before the next visible solar eclipse in the U.S., but chances are your company or organization will have an opportunity to position itself in your industry’s spotlight much sooner. NASA proved this week that they’re experts in a lot more than just outer space and provided lessons we from which we can all benefit.