Content Marketing Placement: How To Use PR
Is your content marketing getting the visibility it needs to reach the maximum audience it deserves?
Does your evergreen content receive visibility at the specific times relevant to your audience or does it stay buried in the depths of your website or blog?
Don’t worry if you answered “No” to either of these questions because you’re not alone. Like many marketers, you probably have a content marketing distribution checklist focused on owned and social media platforms.
Think about it for a moment.
What you’re doing isn’t significantly different from old-fashioned push marketing.
You’re lovingly sending your original content on its way and praying for results. Don’t get me wrong, this is an important first step but it’s insufficient to yield maximum results, especially after all the work it took to create your content.
The big difference: You’ve substituted content marketing for promotion.
Content distribution is 1 of the 5 keys elements of the content marketing cycle for a reason. Without distribution, your content marketing can’t achieve its objectives.
Social Trigger’s Derek Halpern stated this best in what I refer to as:
- The 80/20 Rule of Content: Spend 20% of your content marketing time creating your content and spend 80% of your content marketing time distributing it.
BTW, here’s what other experts do to increase content marketing reach.
Maximize your content placement: think content marketing meets PR
As a starting point, understand what journalists and bloggers want from your PR and content.
Before we dive into how to make your content placement reach a larger audience, let’s look at what works based on pitching research by Frac.tl of interviews with 500 writers and journalists.
- 70% of writers want to collaborate on content creation while 30% of writers are willing to take finished content. This makes sense when you consider the writer’s point of view: Professional writers want to create original content, not repurpose yours.
- 39% of publishers want content that has exclusive research. Professional journalists want to be the first one to break news that’s backed up with solid facts. I get this. I worked at The Economist where we had fact checkers. (BTW-We love access to original data and research!!)
- 64% of publishers consider networking important. Build your relationships before you need them. Focus on their needs. Don’t send them off-topic requests. Personally, I go to events to meet people who will help my content creation.
To reach out to journalists and bloggers, put yourself in their position and think WIIFM (aka: What’s in it for me?)
Case study: When I wrote ClickZ’s Actionable Analysis column I was on AdTech’s press list. I got a ton of irrelevant PR emails. But one PR manager asked what I needed. Since his agency’s General Manager was going to be at the show, he asked if we could just meet with no strings attached. I agreed and the 3 of us met.
A month later, the PR manager followed up to see how he could help me. At that time, I had 1 month to create a marketing course for NYU. His response: “Send me a list of the topics where you needed speakers.”
Result: My class had high profile speakers, a few of my students landed jobs at the agency, and I reached to the PR manager every time I needed a quote.
5 Actionable content marketing placement tips: PR meets content marketing
Here are 5 PR meets content distribution tips based on my experience.
- Check my column and blog. This should be at the top of your list. Don’t pitch me on totally irrelevant topics. It’s your job to make your request as professional and targeted as possible!
- Know my name and why you’re contacting me. This should be a no-brainer but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the wrong name on an email.
- Skip the one size fits all press release. It looks and feels like spam to me.
- Use good grammar. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a press release email that doesn’t use the English language properly. Need a quick refresher course? Check out Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes.
- Make it easy for me to say yes. The Actionable Marketing Guide does NOT accept guest blog posts. But I love original research and I’m willing to answer an easy question or two on one of my key topics (back to point 1 of this list).
3 Ways to use content marketing placement to maximize reach
Appreciate that getting your content placed on high authority blogs and media entities requires that you do your homework. This is why it’s content marketing meets PR. It requires specialized skills to research and engage prospective journalists and bloggers.
1. Research your target media entities.
Just as you would research the keywords you want to be found for, find and vet the media entities where you want your content to appear.
- Know what their hot buttons are and how you can help them. Nothing is worse than not knowing about the person you’re talking to. At a minimum, check out their social media profiles.
2. Build relationships with journalists and bloggers.
This is the oldest business trick in the book. Make connections and pay-it-forward.
- Empower others in your organization to support your content placement efforts. When marketing a new travel site for The Economist, I reached out to the Hong Kong PR manager. The result: A quarter page article focused on our website in the print edition of the South China Morning Post’s Sunday travel section.
3. Offer a variety of content related assets.
Think beyond a traditional press release or guest blog post. Appreciate that the people you’re approaching want to create their own content or at least add their own context and commentary.
- Provide the following 5 content marketing assets. Don’t limit yourself to your existing content. Consider doing this in advance of creating your content so that you can minimize costs.
- Quotes. Use pre-canned quotes or even better answer the writer’s specific questions. Offer them access to your senior executives, not just your PR manager.
- Visual assets. Present journalists with a variety of visual content assets including photographs, charts, infographics and video. Where you have the resources, ask them what they need or modify your content to meet their specifications.
- Influencers. Grant them access to your key influencers, whether they’re involved in your content, your conference or your firm. Their names attract visibility for the writer’s content. For example, when I’m at a conference, I’m always willing to do a short video interview.
- Co-creation support. Help them craft their content. This can be particularly helpful for bloggers with limited resources.
- Paid support. Boost their content on other platforms by offering advertising or sponsorships.
To ensure that your content marketing gets the maximum distribution possible, integrate your content marketing and PR efforts.
From this perspective, you need to act more like a co-creator than a just a content pusher.
What other suggestions would you add to improve content placement?
A Revolutionary Approach to Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer, 2nd Edition, by Marcus Sheridan.
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Read the AMG Interview with Marcus Sheridan on the first edition of They Ask You Answer.
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