PR should embrace content marketing.
If there’s one trend that has reached a tipping point in PR — it is content marketing. Content marketing is a perfect blend of SEO and social media for the online marketing mix. But for PR, there’s one other key point: media and blogger relations.
Joe Pulizzi, who founded the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance a consumer behavior.”
He simplifies the definition in a subsequent paragraph by stating, “In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.”
Isn’t that also what bloggers and reporters strive to do?
Crossing a Threshold
The paradigm shift of new media, as Mitch Joel said on a SpinSucks Webinar, was that in the traditional world, the period at the end of the last sentence was the end of the story. Today, with comments, that are often equally interesting, if not more informative than the story itself, it’s just the beginning.
Likewise, in an era of pageview journalism, pitching a story doesn’t end when the story published. Consequently, Shift’s Chris Penn suggests social promotion in your own channels, after a story is published, should be part of the initial pitch.
For the traditional media relations professional, this concept it enough to make them as uncomfortable as using paid media to earn media, but it’s sage advice.
Just as a pitch doesn’t end with a story — it doesn’t begin with an email either.
My suggestion is — just as a pitch doesn’t end with a story — it doesn’t begin with an email either. With fewer members on staff and uncontrollable email inboxes, earning the attention of the media has never been harder. Every day, there are thousands of good ideas competing for a mention and a voice in the marketplace. Content marketing is the key to breaking the threshold of limited attention.
Every day, there are thousands of good ideas competing for a mention and a voice in the marketplace. Content marketing is the key to breaking the threshold of limited attention.
The applicability in media relations is multifaceted:
- Good content allows you to reach your audience directly.
- It fosters a community because people naturally gravitate to good ideas.
- It demonstrates that our ideas matter.
It is the last point that counts the most from a PR perspective and it’s the culmination of the previous two. Content marketing is a slow but powerful measure of social proof, that the ideas we are advocating are important: it has a following, it stimulates interest and more importantly, discussion.
A primary function the business media plays, in which I also classify blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable because in many ways they operate like a traditional media outlet, is identifying and reporting on trends.
- Reporters use search engines for research and content marketing is sound a way to rank in search.
- Media members observe hot links that zip around the social media web just like anyone else.
I strongly believe that content marketing will grow to account for more and more of the media relations professional’s time. I’d go as far as to say it will replace the traditional processes of media relations, with the exception of hard earned relationships. However, increasingly, those relationships get started with good content and the demonstration that we know and have proven, what content will resonate with an audience.
Content marketing is a means for reporters and bloggers, just like customers, to find us and our ideas, rather than the other way around. It is in many ways, a model for inbound PR; content marketing is the new branding, it may also be the new PR.
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Art or Science: Creative Marketing and PR
Photo credit: Flickr, A. stopstopstopstopstop (CC BY-SA 2.0)