Visit PRSA 2015 International Conference sponsor Market Wired in the Product & Exhibit Hall.*
As natural storytellers, PR professionals bring creative, compelling angles to company news and information – the kind of content that engages and enlightens rather than sells. Companies are increasingly looking to PR-originated content to reach their target audiences, extend their brand affinity and drive measurable results.
Why? Because it works. Leading companies around the world use content marketing to drive ROI. For example, Logicalis’ thought-leadership campaign, with assets like this eBook, generated nearly $8 million in new closed sales. And Intel’s blog that drove 2.2 million unique visitors in one month by offering content that aligns with its audience’s interests.
Embrace your role as content publisher
Forward-thinking PR pros are recognizing the increasingly valuable role they play in content marketing and are crafting strategies that raise brand awareness and enhance customer loyalty. When you add social sharing links and calls to action to your white papers, articles and tip sheets, suddenly that content also engages and drives action.
By regularly making relevant, informative content available to the audiences who influence others in your market or industry, people begin to associate value with your organization and gain trust in it. So when a purchasing decision arises, yours is the brand of choice.
Find the right influencers
Today, those who influence a brand’s credibility extend well beyond members of the media. They can be virtually anyone – blogger, consumer or journalist. Some have large networks and others, smaller, tight-knit communities. Some focus on a particular subject, brand or industry in-depth, while others share a variety of news and information quickly and move on…
To find people who want to share your content with their followers, start by searching on social channels like Twitter for those leading conversations and shaping opinions about your industry.
Once you find likely advocates for your brand, determine if they have the level of influence you need. You can use social tools to identify someone’s number of followers, likes, comments, retweets, mentions, +1s, and overall connections through different social media channels. It can be a time-consuming process to find the right people, but the payback is well worth the effort.
As you search, keep in mind the attributes that make up “influence”:
- Reach – The number of people who may be exposed to your information as a result of the influencer’s network
- Relevance – The direct relationship to your business of the information they’re sharing
- Resonance – Audience engagement as a result of the content they’re sharing
Follow your potential influencers on their social channels and see how they participate. If they have a blog, review their posts. Comment on their articles and get involved in the discussion with other community members. Most of all, share their content through different channels.
Get your content into the right hands
The channels below are commonplace to most companies. As a PR professional, you need to own or at least influence all of these, even if you don’t today. Take advantage of the analytics each generates for insight into audience behavior that will help you find ways to boost engagement and sharing:
- Social Media: Once you narrow down the specific communities of people who want what you offer, learn about their culture. See who is actively engaged in relevant conversations and what type of content they share so you can provide what’s most valuable to them.
- The Company Newsroom: No longer for the media only, your newsroom is now a place where bloggers, employees, customers (and potential customers), analysts, investors, etc. come for the latest information about your organization, as well as your archived history. Make sure that its content is optimized and indexed by the search engines and includes social sharing icons
- News Releases: A great way to share content-rich information in a variety of formats, news releases also allow you to add an accompanying hashtag to drive content into topical conversations and reach targeted lists of niche influencers. You can include social sharing links and hyperlinks to supportive web pages.
- The Company Blog: When you write a relevant post that appeals to your audience’s interests, you’ll grab attention, draw repeat visits, and generate shares. Boost readership by featuring guest posts (especially from influencers in your field); use words that match up to what your audience is searching for, and include links to relevant product pages.
Maintain the Relationships
Consistently sharing valuable information and inviting your influencers to become involved in relevant programs is a great way to maintain relationships. If you stay on top of their likes, dislikes and preferred activities, then you’ll find that your engagement with your influencers and with members of their communities will quickly grow – and so will your results.
Celebrate the Results
A 2015 influencer marketing study reveals that for every dollar spent on influencer marketing the return is $6.50 – real value that affects the bottom line. Embracing this new paradigm can be a win-win for you as PR professional – especially since it gives you another great way to quantify the value you bring to your organization.
Sanjay Kulkarni leads Marketwired’s product and marketing teams in driving the success of the Marketwired brand and its flagship product Marketwired Resonate, an integrated news release and social communication platform that features leading-edge tools to identify, connect and engage with influencers. Sanjay hails from Deloitte and ADP Canada where he was responsible for product strategy, pricing, product management and marketing, and product P&L. Contact him on LinkedIn.
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