No one is denying that content really is king, but when it comes to serving the right content to the right audiences we should be cautious not to shoehorn content for content’s sake.
As with any marketing strategy, the messaging has to be right. Marketing Directors need to ensure that everyone involved understands the strategy and delivers the right messages. With external pressures chomping at the bit, this can be difficult, but marketers should carefully consider the value of PR in creating and publicising content.
When the idea of content was still new, the PR industry happily ploughed its furrow in media relations. The nearest an agency got to content creation for digital channels were SEO-focused overhauls of traditional press releases.
But Google soon put speed to that tactic by outlawing basic, lazy word ordering. Consequently, PRs have had to become ever more inventive in the development of content strategies for clients, over hauling the way we create, cut and display content. Copy and images created have to be agile enough to cross platforms and the messaging has to be interesting enough to gain the all-important share of screen time.
As channels continue to proliferate, and more impactful and intelligent content is required, PR is a natural fit as the custodians of content. It’s our daily job to make messages from an often dry brand interesting to businesspeople and consumers.
Long before the advent of digital content strategies, we were devising copy-driven thought-leadership programmes to amplify organisations’ core messages and reach their customers. That has now naturally extended into a suite of communications tools covering everything from tweets to videos that do exactly the same thing, but across a wider spectrum.
It is PR’s job to challenge perceived wisdom within a business; honestly assessing and improving an organisations messaging; selecting the right subject and spokesperson for the content job at hand; determining the right channels to maximum exposure and impact, and understanding the bigger picture so PR compliments the wider marketing plan.
PR professionals are well-versed in the art of storytelling and making sure messaging is consistent and supports business goals. But they are also experts in creating a good campaign, one that avoids coming across as corporate spin, and is generally useful to the reader or viewer it’s meant to target.
Is the content original enough to make it stand out from the crowd? Can it be replicated across channels, if required, from social media to seminars? Is it available to view in all of the right places? Does it have senior buy-in at the publications running it? Can they promote it for you?
Any PR consultant worth their salt will be able to answer these and provide winning content accordingly. On our office wall is a famous quote from Bill Gates: “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.”
Although that wouldn’t buy you much more than a sentence these days, it would be targeted, succinct and impactful.