The content marketing boom has made the role of PR even more vital to brands. If content marketing is about elevating brand perception and awareness through value-driven content and the subsequent positive engagement, then it sounds an awful lot like a natural extension of PR.
Yet in a number of ways, content marketing is having a transformational effect on PR. Here are four guiding principles that can make your efforts more effective.
1. Don’t Underestimate Owned Media
We hear constantly that brands are becoming publishers and in fact need to be in order to cultivate an engaging digital presence. PR’s importance to a brand’s owned content is growing thanks to content marketing. With a number of tools and tactics available to promote owned content, PR may need to assume more responsibility for assets like the client’s blog — both in the sourcing of the content (to make sure it’s always up to date) and increasing its reach among qualified audiences to better establish the client’s position in the marketplace as a thought-leader.
2. Think like a publisher
One of the governing principles of content marketing is thinking like a consumer — is this something I would click on? Is this content I would share? Similarly, PR departments and agencies should think like their media counterparts in publishing.
Just as consumers know a sales pitch when they see one, so do journalists and editors. Switching gears from self-serving press releases to pitching more compelling stories with real insight and value for audiences can increase the success rate of your placements, as well as build meaningful and lasting media relationships that can be leveraged for future occasions.
3. Push vs. pull
Traditionally, PR is wired to a push mentality — making a “push” to launch a new product, a new market or some other initiative.
The goals of content marketing are instead to create a “pull” through the steady force (and volume) of content about or involving your client.
For this reason, amplifying earned media is effort well-spent. Thanks to a number of content marketing tools and tactics, one media story intended for a particular publisher can reach even more engaged audiences, increasing the opportunity for organic amplification like sharing or an even better media placement. The more your client’s name pops up in third party placements, the more valuable it becomes as currency to your media contacts.
4. Engagement matters
The increasing popularity of newer tactics like social media releases demonstrates the vitality of engaging content to effective PR. While the format may vary from agency to agency, the following elements of social media releases are exemplary of content marketing and give them a leg-up on the more traditional press release:
- They’re often textual with a mix of multimedia assets
- Include hyperlinks to relevant content — not product pages or home pages
- Incorporate elements of design to help guide the reader’s eye and make for a more pleasant reading experience
- They’re primed for sharing, with embedded social sharing cues and buttons
The combination of these considerations make the social media release a far more engaging experience than the traditional press release — and like any other asset, promoting engagement over indifference can only yield positives.
Alternately, pitching successfully on Twitter is greatly helped if your client is an engaged (there’s that word again) member of the Twitterverse who is visible in relevant conversations.
One of the most effective ways to elevate your client’s profile in the community is to establish them as a reliable source of content, as well as a more human representation of the brand. Whether curating links from around the web or promoting your client’s earned and owned media, the more quality content — and demonstrated influence via followers — at your disposal, the more likely you are to get the attention of an editor when pitching time comes.
As for the pitch itself, with only 140 characters to play with, best to let the content do the talking.