January 3, 2013
The increase in content and data during the past decade, fueled by our increasingly connected world, has sparked an immediate need for a re-evaluation of how brands and organizations market their products and services. The revolution in how consumers find, digest and share content has changed the way that marketers and PR pros think about managing their brand’s reputation and amplifying their news.
Content marketing is essentially story marketing, which is the central function of public relations. It’s all about telling engaging, persuasive and credible narratives to your most important communities that raise their awareness — or change perceptions — about your brand, and motivate them to retell your story, buy your product or invest in your future. It’s about building and sustaining relationships, through offering an ongoing stream of relevant and valuable information, specifically targeted to key audiences.
For PR people, story marketing presents an opportunity that almost can’t be overstated. Content Marketing is attracting huge chunks of marketing resources. According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 25 percent of total U.S. B2B marketing budgets were devoted to it in 2012 and 60 percent of respondents plan to increase their commitment in 2013.
In order to maximize that huge level of investment, companies must tell their stories in a more compelling way, and reach across converging paid, earned and owned media channels. The radical integration of the marketing mix has increased the value of the knowledge base and expertise of earned media experts like PR professionals.
Public relations produces and organically amplifies content — and tells the brand’s stories — to its media, digital influencer and customer communities in ways that marketing is doing through paid methods like sponsored links and advertising. Public relations must take its place at the table with advertising and marketing experts to answer fundamental questions and take advantage of both influencer and consumer research to create the organization’s story, and then determine how it must be presented.
What are those fundamental questions?
Then, public relations participates in managing the content marketing process’s four major phases: creation, amplification, curation and analysis.
How do you manage the long-term view of your brand or organization through story marketing? By taking the long view of what storytelling is about, applying research and an understanding of your communities and how your story impacts them, and ensuring that the content your organization generates is valuable, relevant and irresistibly engaging.
Heidi Sullivan is senior vice president, product and managing director, Canada at Cision. As SVP, she drives the company’s overall content strategy and is responsible for all e-commerce, distribution and influencer products and services. As managing director, she is responsible for the overall business results and sales activities in Canada.
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