What works now is what worked before the Internet and search engines existed: content that delights and/or informs.
If you’ve been producing content for a while, you know when you’ve got something good. You also know when you’ve got crap. Still, often when you have crap, you think you have to publish it anyway, because you spent the time to create it and you “have to get something out there.”
One simple test to determine whether you’re creating great content is whether it interests you. If you were bored writing and editing it and you weren’t excited about sharing it, others will probably feel the same way. Trust your instincts; don’t produce it or publish it.
The practice of public relations is about influencing public opinion and guarding reputation. Content marketing is focused ultimately on outcomes like lead generation and sales.
In terms of the old marketing funnel describing the different stages in the buying cycle construct (awareness, consideration, preference, choice) PR is arguably more “upper funnel” because it builds awareness and reputation. Content marketing is positioned deeper within the cycle, in the realms of consideration and choice.
Public relations is more important, more valued and more integral to an institution’s success than ever before – from information to strategy, from press releases to reputation building and brand positioning. Public relations is more involved in brand building – in helping companies actually build their products and their brands.
Any kind of marketing or communication that is going to be effective on the outside needs to start on the inside. It needs to start with fundamental actions and behaviors inside the company. And that’s where public relations is important.
Today people need to understand how businesses work. You’ve got to be able to take that creative energy and the creative thinking that is so important to any communications effort and develop an understanding of how it can drive business.
It will always be about content creation in the public relations business. Going forward, from a communications perspective, the more talented you are in creating compelling content across the spectrum of communications modes, the more effective you’re going to be, and the more opportunity you’ll have.
Branding is just another name for creating a perception – how marketers want their audience to think about a product once it comes to market. The word “product” can easily be swapped for service, or blog, or newsletter, or any number of things marketers promote. The underlying concepts remain the same.
A brand is an expectation of an experience. The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind. The essence of a brand lies within its meaning. And words have meaning. Words matter.
Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention. It’s our job to create content worth sharing. How it’s shared isn’t up to us.
As users continue to consume content across multiple devices, including tablets and phones, it’s important to investigate not just the popularity of a story or video, but its longevity. The longer you let people hold on to content, the better the odds that they’ll end up consuming it. The more they consume it, the more likely they are to share it across social media — and the longer that story lives everywhere.
Serendipity was a major concern in the early days of the web. People argued that by letting your eye be drawn to a news story outside of your normal range of interests, the newspaper prevented you from becoming a blindered drone who knew everything about sports and business and nothing about everything else. It’s clear by now that hyperlinks provide serendipity of a deeper sort. Who can read a web site straight through without getting waylaid by some link and plunged into a world you knew nothing about until this moment?
We need to read what everyone else is reading in order to have a sense of being in sync. If it’s in there, it matters, because everyone else read it.