PR Professional’s Guide to Content Marketing

Digital PR
content-marketing-guide 09.10.14

Developing and maintaining a blog is an excellent way for executives to establish relationships and engage with industry thought leaders. In this article, 5W PR CEO Ronn Torossian and others share tips on how executives can use a blog and other social media avenues to spark conversations and conversions, establishing themselves as a leader within their industry. Content marketing is not a novel phenomenon and has been used as a marketing tool by PR executives for years. Unfortunately, the results have not always been positive.

Following is a guide which will eliminate the disconnected messages, bewildering tones, and general chaos of PR marketing content produced by a business. 

Content Factors

The goal of PR is to promote attention in a short amount of time. The results are often a sharp increase in audience response on the day or week of the PR push, followed by a sharp decrease. Businesses can build a devoted following using content marketing that is informative and compelling. Audiences will come to a website after a PR push, but they will stay with a company because of the information supplied by the content marketing. For this reason, PR professionals are converting their media publications into blogs and e-newsletters.

A recent Nielsen study found that expert content is “the most effective source of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories.” For this reason, experts recommend that businesses use a mixed approach to their content marketing strategy.

  • Content should begin, if possible, with trusted information from convincing, third-party experts. These are the experts who will establish trust between your brand and the customer.
  • Connect, involve, and establish your brand by sharing your story.
  • Continually reinforce your content by encouraging user reviews and placing additional trusted content.
  • Media outreach, using credible, third-party experts, achieves higher consumer engagement and conversion numbers. The greater the understanding of the content marketing continuum, the greater the success factor.

Creating Content

A research effort between Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that while 93% of marketing publishers use content marketing, less than 42% feel they are good at it. Almost 70% of content marketers indicated that they were challenged by the amount of time needed to produce enough content. Some sources found to be valuable for generating content marketing ideas, include:

  • Document customer’s responses and questions and respond to their posts or write e-books responding to their questions.
  • Construct different content applicable to each stage of the consumer’s purchase decision process. Include questions a buyer would ask and supply the information necessary to help buyers come to a decision.
  • Create video tutorials.
  • Research the most-discussed subjects and frequently asked questions involved in your brand niche. Write content in response.

More Content is not Always Better

Corporate blogs and social media mediums are where PR messages can be communicated rapidly, tactically, and effectively. PR personnel often struggle with just how to determine what content will increase traffic, enhance brand recognition, create an exclusive brand characteristic, and edge up conversion numbers. Not all content is good content; they should impart valuable information. It is important to realize that PR and content marketing have exactly the same goals. Content designed to inform the target audience about the business and its products must be interesting, compelling, captivating, and shareworthy. Having too much content will weaken your fundamental points and sidetrack your reading public. Avoid writing too much about numerous things. Think about just what you are trying to say in the article. Thoughtful articles, placed strategically, work best to direct and distribute your brand message. Audiences will respond to content that has substance, that they can’t find anywhere else, and that they can’t construct on their own. Be relevant, timely, and concise.

To determine if your content is right on target, take the following easy five question quiz developed by Torossian:

  • Have you identified and narrowed down exactly what information you are trying to present?
  • Have you determined your readership and modified your language and phraseology accordingly?
  • Do you know what your information your audience is expecting?
  • Have you conveyed clearly what you needed to?
  • Have you told your audience just enough to keep them coming back?

Frequent Content in Different Forms

To keep the audience’s attention, produce new content frequently. Torossian recommends amplifying your message by placing it in front of them, where they can view it and absorb it. Professionals recommend generating and publishing new information, no less than once a week, on at least one of your social media avenues. Weekly publishing is a strategy that works well, as regular readers will return for new insights and new readers will be exposed to new information. Average content marketers use thirteen different content marketing outlets. The number one outlet is social media followed by informative pieces on websites, blogs, and e-newsletters. White papers, webinars, infographics, and case studies are also widely used.

Many successful content article publishers use new and old media at the same time to find audiences and initiate personal, significant material that is tailored exclusively for them. For blog publishers, stick to the following best practices.

  • Make a detailed plan
  • Monitor “unsubscribe” visitors which could indicate the audience’s disinterest or inability to assimilate the information provided
  • Test out different post frequencies and post lengths to reveal the epitome of reader response
  • Blogs, videos, infographics, and ebooks should demonstrate to your potential customers that you know how to assist them and that you want to help them work out their problems. Let readers know how you have aided others by including positive testimonials from current buyers. New buyers will come to know, like, and trust you, and come back repeatedly.

Analyze Customer Response

Marketing is ultimately driven by self-educated buyers looking for relevant, goal oriented, and useful information. Publishers need to investigate customer responses, identify new leads, review increased number of followers, social media comments, and what visitors are sharing with others. Determine what is working well and what isn’t. Marketing automation produces metrics which allow publishers to fine-tune, enhance, and target their content to information that consistently engages the audience. Tell your fans and potential customers that you value their input and feedback.

Investing in content marketing activities is essential in today’s market. Most experts suggest businesses should keep investing in their content marketing strategy, while moving up on the content marketing curve. Following these strategies, current diminishing returns could yield large incremental returns in the future.

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