PR Matchmaker’s 4 Secrets to Attract Readers

4 Tactics to Get Your Content Marketing Read

Readers can spot unwanted content marketing in a heartbeat. They call it spam and click away, delete or unfollow with lightening speed. Before you argue that they gave you permission to contact them, remember that we’re discussing relationships not litigation. Accept that your readers’ lust for your information has waned and they’ve moved on. Instead of pining for them to give you another look, learn what you can do better next time.

So, how do you increase your message’s allure?

Take a lesson from PR matchmaker, Peter Shankman who at BizTechDay 2010 New York divulged how he grew HARO’s reader list from a small Facebook fan page to over 130,000 loyal subscribers. Peter’s four secrets to content marketing success bear a remarkable similarity to your grandmother’s old-fashioned advice about love.

  1. Be Relevant. Since no one wants to hang out with someone who only focuses on himself, tie your information to topics that are already of interest to your readers. Use Google news and Twitter trends to identify and focus on hot topics. Find ways to adapt your information to meet your audience’s needs. This reduces your work to draw readers in.
  2. Be brief. Don’t over share or you risk losing their attention. Think in terms of having a conversation with them. Keep your message short and on topic. Your readers believe that if they gave you permission to communicate with them, then you have a responsibility to give them value in return for their attention. Remember your goal is to convey your message to your audience. You have less than three seconds or about 140 characters to make your point or they’re gone.
  3. Be trustworthy. No one wants to date someone sleazy. In terms of marketing, people buy from people they like, not from companies and brands they admire. Therefore, personalize your messages. To this end, consider carefully who writes and sends your communications.
  4. Be caring. People like dealing with people who are interested in them. Pay it forward when building relationships by doing nice things for your readers. Spend time learning about your prospects because people buy from people who understand their needs and challenges. Do this when you’re not trying to sell your audience. What can you learn about your market that will enable you to help them?

As an early member of the HARO family, I can attest to the strength of these elements. They should be a part of every marketing and/or social media campaign. But, in my opinion, HARO’s secret sauce goes beyond these four elements. Here are four other techniques that set HARO apart in its ability to acquire and keep new readers.

  1. Incorporates strong direct marketing copy writing. HARO’s emails draw readers in with Peter’s great copy writing. Quality writing demonstrates a degree of professionalism and shows respect for your readers.
  2. Has a distinct personality. Peter’s character is a strong part of the HARO brand. His commentary helps get the emails open. Readers can tell when he’s not there and the copy is written by his editor. Do your communications have a clearly defined personality that talks directly to readers or are they homogenized corporate speak?
  3. Includes a subtle endorsement. While he’s not a shill, Peter finds a way to give his readers a reason to consider his advertisers’ offerings with his understanding of the product and audience. This helps improve HARO’s plain text advertising’s performance.
  4. Plays on the ubiquitous station, WIIFM (aka, What’s in it for me?). HARO provides something for everyone. Whether you’re a PR professional looking to place your clients, a marketer seeking to expand your reach, a journalist checking for new story ideas, or an individual seeking to promote a cause, HARO has something for you. HARO is a win-win.

What’s great about these techniques is that every marketer can use them. With these in mind, look at your content marketing to see where you can improve your communications’ allure. Even better, get a focus group or a cross section of employees to give you feed back. Remember that your goal is to figure out how to enhance your content marketing’s attraction for your readers.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


For related information on HARO:
5 Ways HARO Can Help Build Your Brand

Photo credit: Cuchullain via Wikipedia

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