April 20, 2015
/ by Erin Feldman
PR no longer is a press release or media relations business. We use a wide range of content and activities to communicate our messages and reach our target audiences. We generally rely upon three content types:
We then consider how, when and where to publish and promote the content and activities.
Owned content is created content. It’s the well-known press release and media kit. It’s also tactics like content marketing, a broad umbrella that includes blogging, social media updates, email marketing, infographics, visuals and video.
All that content points to an underlying mantra: “be the media.” In an always-on news environment, we aren’t beat reporters waiting for news to happen. We’re TV executives in charge of the news cycle. We choose what content to create and when and where to distribute it.
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User-generated content (UGC) is a beloved tactic because it boosts engagement and grows a community. Audience members unite around a subject, brand or cause and share their favorite thoughts, images and experiences. In so doing, they create what Mindbenders Media calls “a revolving door of fresh, relevant, and exciting content.”
We use the tactic because of that engagement factor as well as its ability to drive awareness and traffic. When used as part of an event promotion, it produces content that can be used before, during, and after that event. Doing so keeps our brands top of mind for months and places us at the center of our respective communities.
Third-party content can be solicited or unsolicited. The former applies to influencer relations, native advertising, and product placements. We turn to all three avenues, but influencers are our best bet when trying to improve reach with specific audiences. Our audiences listen to influencers because they trust them. They’re less likely to trust those of us bandying about a press release or branded messaging.
The latter refers to reviews, mentions, and unsought product placement. All present a more complete picture of our brands and products or services. MarketingProfs says, “The implied endorsement of third-party experts holds much more weight to consumers than anything a company can say about itself.” Third-party content is our evidence in a very public and often very vocal hearing.
The three types of content help us reach and engage with our audiences and the media, but it’s so much content that we can get lost in it. Digital technology and the cloud have caused content and data to explode. According to IBM, “Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. “
It’s like wandering into a warehouse that hasn’t ever been organized. The content is there, but we can’t find the piece of furniture we need until we categorize, catalogue and disseminate it in an orderly fashion.
To do that, we turn to distribution and aggregation tools. They help us to make sense of the content and to share it when it’s most likely to impact our audiences. As we use those tools, our brands transform into media hubs, and we truly do become something more akin to TV executives than beat reporters.
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