PR as a driver for content

Our role as publicists has been in a state of flux over the past few years.

Our role as publicists has been in a state of flux over the past few years. As I've said in my earlier posts, the lines between paid, owned, and earned media are blurring across the board.

For many brands, content marketing, namely branded content, is going to be a large focus in 2014. By the numbers, 78% of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing (Hanley Wood) and 79% of marketers report that their organizations are shifting to branded content (Forrester).

Why is content so attractive to brands? It's because content is what consumers expect and say that they want. Sixty-one percent say they have a more positive perception of a company that delivers custom content and that they are more likely to buy from that company (Custom Content Council).

Not to fear, my fellow publicists, PR isn't being replaced by content marketing. In fact, we're some of the original contributors when it comes to branded content for our clients – press releases, blog posts, case studies, interviews, and content curated from events are all encompassed in the scope of content marketing.

By including content marketing alongside your traditional efforts, you become an even bigger asset to the brands and clients you work with. With that in mind, here are some tips for taking your content marketing efforts to the next level:

  • If you have a content marketing team, let them know in advance about announcements and campaigns so they can work to create complementary content to boost effectiveness of the news.
  • Visual content is king. There's a reason Pinterest and Instagram are the stars of social media. Visual content is shareable and digestible. Keep this in mind when working with your marketing teams and share visual assets you already have that can be used to boost your brand story.
  • Share stats about products, services, or the company in general. Stats are fodder for infographics. Infographics are content gold. Any interesting numbers that tell a story have potential when it comes to content marketing.
  • Share results from campaigns. Case study, anyone?
  • Share quotes from senior executives. Inspiring or insightful quotes tend to be shared and liked when published on social media and can serve to boost the profile of the executive.
  • Share expert commentary on industry trends. What is the big trend in your client's industry in 2014? How is your client meeting demand for that trend? What is their expert opinion on what to look forward to in the future?

Consumers are not the only people looking for great, shareable content. With fewer traditional journalists than in the past, many of our media counterparts are working harder and faster with fewer resources. It's important to pitch content that is timely and likely to be shared. Pitching shareable content offers a major opportunity to shape more of our brand or clients' messages while solidifying our reputation as a resource with our media contacts.

Content marketing has become a primary vehicle for enhancing awareness, generating leads, and increasing search rankings for the modern marketer. By integrating it into our daily routine, we will become more effective as publicists.

AJ Gerritson is founding partner of 451 Marketing.

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