In today’s fast moving search and social Web, content flows in every direction throughout a variety of platforms, formats and devices. In fact, by the year 2020, a study from Ericsson reports that there will be over 50 billion Internet connected devices. Ubiquitous Internet access is enabling consumers and brands alike to create, consume, publish, interact and transact — anytime, anywhere.
At the same time, brands are answering the call to create more value for customers during the buying cycle through content marketing. Companies are adopting publisher models of content and media creation that are beginning to rival the reach and influence of the publications in their industry.
What do these changes mean for public relations and communications professionals? How is PR competitively positioned over marketing and advertising in a content-centric Web?
The expertise in messaging, content creation and media relations that many PR professionals bring to the table offers a competitive advantage in three key areas:
Storytelling – There’s an old expression that has held true for me over the past 15 years, “Facts tell. Stories sell.” Content marketing is the ability to tell brand stories that consumers and the media will care about. Who better to find and tell those stories than PR and communications pros?
Editorial Based Marketing – Before “content marketing” became the catchphrase, I used to call what our Marketing/PR agency did “editorial-based marketing.” PR professionals understand how news organizations work. Businesses are investing in content from planning to production to editorial. Corporate journalists are on the rise and PR professionals are perfectly capable of fulfilling those functions or supporting them to create compelling brand content. Content designed to engage also inspires action — whether it’s a social share, purchase, referral or an inquiry to do a story.
Influencer Marketing – Working with industry and media influencers has been the stock and trade of media relations professionals for years. Numerous tools, from Traackr to Klout to Kred, can support the need to identify influencers based on their ability to affect action – not just high follower counts. PR professionals are well positioned to identify and engage influencers for a variety of content marketing-based outcomes ranging from guest blog posts to co-creation of content with industry thought leaders.
Now more than ever, creating content that influences growth in market awareness and new business requires an integrated approach. While this has been a challenge for many PR professionals as marketing and PR functions converge, the good news is that through the Attract, Engage and Convert model, organizations can better plan, implement and optimize the performance of their content-based PR programs.
At the upcoming PRSA Digital Impact Conference in New York, I’ll be discussing details of this approach along with tactics and examples during my session, “Attract, Engage and Convert: How PR Can Get Ahead With Content Marketing.” The three key areas I’ll be covering include:
- Future trends in online marketing and PR
- Three big mistakes to avoid with social content marketing
- A model for social content success everyone can understand
I look forward to seeing you there!
Lee Odden is the author of “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.” Cited by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine for his expertise, he is also the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing.
TopRank is a digital marketing agency that specializes in helping brands develop content marketing strategies that grow social communities, brand influence and sales. With over 15 years of experience in the marketing and PR world, Lee speaks internationally and publishes one of the most popular integrated marketing blogs on the Web at marketingblog.com.