Content marketing is a lot like social media—it's got power and reach across all digital platforms, and it's tailor-made for the skills and inclinations of PR pros. At PR News' Feb. 27 Digital PR Summit, three PR/content marketing professionals stressed that the onus is on communicators to enhance thier content marketing efforts. Here's how:
1. Start with the audience: "There are no boring subjects, just poorly told stories, disinterested audiences and lame content," said David Patton, VP and editor in chief, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. “With social platforms, we’ve now got a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Start with the audience and listen and find out what they need."
2. Work like the pros: Take a page from the folks who are really good at this—news organizations. ”It's about finding best practices: reporting, curating and pulling things out," Patton said.
3. Tell a story: Patton said that every good story has the following elements: people, tension, action, resolution and meaning (some kind of context).
4. Start with the content you have: Chad Melton, manager of digital marketing and user experience at Ingersoll Rand, said that it's important to start with the content that you do have. "I'm always amazed talking to our engineers about how much information they've accumulated over the years, and that that content hasn't seen the light of day because it's been seen in one medium and not necessarily on the Web," he said.
5. Re-imagine content: “White papers can be broken down into series of podcasts,” Patton said. The most frequently asked questions about your business can likely be worked into individual blog posts.
6. Think like a publisher but commission "authors": Eliza Anderson, global PR manager at Intrepid Travel, said that in a digital age it's paramount to think like a publisher. Anderson suggested reaping the rewards of a content partnership. "Set clear measures grounded in your business and do the ABCs for a content partner—audience, brand fit and credibility to be your partner," she said.
7. Tap brand advocates: When it comes to social media and tapping fans for content creation, the driving force of social media is that fans want to be heard. "As good marketers we need to embrace that and create brand advocates," Melton said.
8. Make mini-campaigns: "Approach every bit of content like it’s a mini campaign to amplify its reach and success," Anderson said. "Keep monitoring and adjusting it."
9. Understand whether it's working: “Whether it's Web analytics or social analytics, put data in ways that show the deeper action,” Patton said. “Remember what the business goals are. If you're trying to sell things or gain donors, make sure content has a call to action.”
Follow Bill MIltenberg: @bmiltenberg