PR encompasses any activity, online or offline, designed to improve communications and build relationships with audiences that matter to your business. Unfortunately, it has gotten a bad rap at times because professionals have historically relied on "soft" metrics such as placements, impressions, and ad equivalency to create the perception of value. They have failed to connect actions to outcomes, and clearly demonstrate how PR activities impact key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to the C-suite.
But, times are changing, and modern PR pros are becoming adept at building strategies that have an undeniable impact on expanding reach, driving website traffic, generating leads, increasing sales conversions, and enhancing customer loyalty. Here are seven ways an integrated PR strategy can accelerate your content marketing success.
First, build a media database. Start with a media database that includes business publications, blogs, and trade publications in relevant vertical markets. At minimum, the information you track should include: outlet name, organization, phone, email, social profile links, areas of interest/beat, and notes. Ideally these contacts will be uploaded and managed in your marketing team’s CRM system. Journalists and bloggers are in the business of telling stories that matter to their readers. If your content isn’t relevant to their audiences, don’t waste their time (or yours) blasting pitches and press releases.
Next, pull editorial calendar information. Traditional print publications often publish editorial calendars that show the topics they plan to cover throughout the year. Research the calendars of your target media outlets, and look for topics that align with the content in your campaigns.
Third, pitch story ideas to relevant media contacts: Once your media database and editorial calendar list are complete, seek opportunities for customised pitches. For example, your eBook, How to Organize, Strategize, and Measure Your Content Marketing, may have been a good asset to pitch to PRWeek editors for their February issue on content creation.
Conduct influencer outreach. Does your eBook feature insight from industry influencers? Is the content highly relevant to influential bloggers? If so, take a strategic approach to get the information in front of them — and (hopefully) their audiences.
Consider partnerships. Evaluate the associations and organizations in your network that have expansive reach. Consider ways to collaborate and distribute your content through their events, emails, and websites.
Publications and blogs often accept contributions from outside writers. Bylined articles and guest blog posts from your executives and marketers are a great way to expand reach, build quality inbound links, and drive referring visits to your website. You should also pursue speaking engagements: Identify opportunities for your company’s leaders to speak at industry events. This will give you a platform to discuss relevant topics and concepts from your content marketing with members of your target audience, as well as a way to use your content to showcase your company’s credibility, thought leadership, and expertise.
Submit your content for industry awards. Look for programs, such as the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards (AMES) that recognize excellence in marketing. Award programs are a great way to extend the life of a content marketing program, and expand your reach to new audiences.
By pairing content marketing with PR, you can drive added brand awareness, leads, sales, and loyalty. Commit to an integrated approach, and exceed your expectations for success.