Increasingly, brands are being told that they need to tap into the limitless potentials of content marketing. However, some confusion remains in terms of what kinds of stories your brand can tell, and how they should be told.
Storytelling is an ancient practice, and the fundamental principles of a good story have remained virtually intact throughout history. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that not every great story or great content your brand can share will lead to the kind of brand appeal that affects the bottom line.
Amanda Mahan, digital creative director at The Clorox Company, will be speaking to the challenges of content marketing at PR News’ Next Practices PR Conference on August 6 in San Francisco. But in the meantime she offers the following advice to PR pros who want to learn how to think more like a publisher and media producer.
PR News: What's the biggest challenge in creating content for a brand that may not endemically lend itself to rich narratives?
Amanda Mahan: I think you need two things: One, you need to find the brand’s point of view (i.e., what does the brand stands for?). And two, what are your consumers interested in that your brand can credibly talk about? If you can determine these two things—not an easy task—then you’ll know what kinds of topics to create content around as well as how the brand is going to talk about them. That’s where you usually get interesting and distinctive storytelling.
PR News: How do you ensure that your content maintains an authentic connection to the brand?
Mahan: It starts with a content strategy. We’ve developed a methodology at Clorox that uses search, listening, social and other inputs to help us determine content areas that are both of interest to our consumers and authentic to our brand. It’s very difficult to tell what’s in and what’s out without having a content strategy to guide you. Otherwise you could be developing volumes of content that are on trend but not necessarily relevant to your brand or category.
PR News: If you could offer one critical tip for tapping into the power of content marketing for our Next Practices PR Conference attendees, what would it be?
Mahan: Creating a strong content strategy and developing the right content are such huge accomplishments, but that’s really just the beginning. You have to create cross-functional teams to focus on making your content work hard for you. That means developing an eco-system that both leverages all of your digital, mobile and social properties as well as getting PR and media involved to help syndicate and promote it. Make sure to save some of your budget for getting your content out there.
Learn more about Amanda Mahan's content strategy for brands such as Clorox Liquid Bleach, Hidden Valley Ranch, Kingsford, Glad and Greenworks at PR News' Next Practices PR Conference on Aug. 6 in San Francisco.
Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW