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Why Content Marketing Is Evolving PR & How to Evolve with It

To some, the buzzword content marketing reads like an enigma wrapped in a riddle and stuffed inside a Rubik’s cube—but the practice is nothing new, especially in the PR industry. PR professionals have used a plethora of different mediums to deliver content to consumers including articles, videos, white papers, and most recently social media, to promote a brand.

One of the largest contributing factors to content marketing’s surge in popularity has been the evolution of content. Content can be almost anything, and it has always been a growing entity. But now more than ever content is abundantaccessible and aggregated. This evolution of content is triggering a need for content marketing strategies that will utilize the resources readily available to PR professionals.

Abundant

As of this morning, the number of indexed pages on the World Wide Web is estimated at 4.45 billion. The copious amount of information has not gone unnoticed by consumers, who are taking full advantage of the myriad of resources available before making buying decisions. In the eBook Zero Moment of Truth, Google found that the average number of content sources consumers accessed before making a buying decision doubled from 2010 to 2011.

Consumers utilizing content on a larger scale means that it is in the best interest of brands and PR professionals alike to make their brand noticeable in the sea of information that exists. If a brand does not take control of the conversation that is going on about their brand, it can very well spell trouble down the road. There is a conversation going on and whether brands engage in them or not is entirely up to them.

Accessible

Content is now at its peak of accessibility. The age of the smartphone has put content constantly at the fingertips of consumers. On the fly purchasing decisions are often halted by a quick Google search to see what others have said the product before committing to a buy it.

The accessibility of information across different channels yields opportunities for brands and products in every market. This availability for interaction creates a one-to-one connection with consumer and brand that makes growing an audience as easy as clicking.

Aggregated

Consumers no longer need to seek out the content they desire. It is pushed out by brands and delivered to their fingertips.

Facebook always seems to know exactly what types of products interest a user, and this isn’t by coincidence. The type of content pushed out to consumers across social media shows examples of how content is now aggregated to the individual’s interests and habits. The opportunities for engaging are available, and it’s up to PR professionals to utilize them.

Why Content Marketing Matters for PR

Content marketing at its core is about amplifying a brand. Amplification is about making a brand strong, noticeable, and important. If consumers are not hearing about a brand, then it is the brand’s fault. Being the loudest voice in a conversation about your brand helps control the content of the conversation, downplay negative perceptions, and steer the conversation in the most desirable direction.

PR traditionally has been about engaging the media. The new PR professionals are interested in converged media, which combines marketing and PR to engage the consumer on a more direct basis. Finding out what customers and audiences like about a brand is as easy as scrolling through a comment section. It’s important to go where the customers are and focus on the feedback that can be valuable to a brand.

So what type of content should you create? There’s no single answer to this question. The types of content brands pushed out to consumers varies, and not every type is right for every brand.

Popular content types include tip sheets, sponsored articles, newsletters, videos, infographics, and webinars to name a few. It’s important to know ahead of time that every single mode of delivering content to potential customers is not right for every single brand or product. For instance, engaging an audience through a sponsored article on Forbes might be ideal for a brand like FedEx trying to market to an entrepreneurial audience but is probably not ideal for selling cookies.

Content marketing’s end goal is to exemplify why the brand is valuable and useful to the consumer, and create an audience. Creating useful content that is delivered to an audience will make consumers respond with loyalty, which is the overall goal of marketing.

Now that you’re an expert, time to get into content marketing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind in the very early stages of developing an effective content marketing strategy for a brand:

Don’t try to do everything. Knowing the scope and interest of a targeted audience is vital when deciding what type of content a brand creates and markets.

Making good content isn’t enough. Content that falls flat on its face once it is released will get no results. Once it’s created, push it out.

Be useful. Create useful content, and the consumers will respond with loyalty.

Now listen. Quantify the success of content marketing initiatives. Find out what people are saying. Engage the audience and find out what works, what doesn’t, and then evolve your strategy.

Test, measure, revise, retry. Every brand is different, and similarly every type of medium is not ideal for every brand. Experiment with different types and gauge audience response to find the right fit.

About Neal Gregus

Neal T. Gregus is a Features Writer for Cision Blog. He is also a research aficionado focusing on print media in Cision’s Research division. He is hopelessly addicted to live music and can be found front row anywhere in Chicago. Or find him on Twitter at @NealGregus.

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