content marketing

What’s PR got to do with it, got to do with it?

As it turns out, a lot. PR maven and resident content strategist Francie shares her views on why public relations and content marketing work great together.

Image by Niuton May via  Flickr

Image by Niuton May via Flickr

Content marketing establishes brands as experts—PR spreads the good word.

You can write the best press release there is but if there’s nothing to back it up, it’s not going to get any traction. The media, and the public, want to hear from a brand that’s established and nothing establishes a brand more than original content that resonates with its audience and proves it's an authority in the industry. 

Original content gives your brand its identity—it showcases your values and proves that you're worth listening to.

Step one: produce original content on a regular basis. Step two: use PR tactics to spread its message far and wide. Good content inspires conversation and helps build relationships. By creating original content that helps/interests/entertains your audience, and by sharing it through owned channels, your organization will start two-way conversations with your audience and begin to foster customer loyalty. This supports many PR goals—it raises awareness of your brand, inspires buy-in and, overall, gives people the opportunity to feel more invested in your organization. 

A PR campaign is more likely to be picked up if it’s backed by a solid content strategy.

Media outlets are often drawn in by PR, but stick around because of content. Members of both traditional and untraditional media outlets want to know that the organization they’re hearing from is legit. After a pitch goes out, a journalist will often head straight for your website. Once there, if they see an up-to-date blog, educational guides, videos and other pieces of original content, they’ll clearly see your company is a customer-conscious authority in its field.

Linking PR and content marketing doesn’t take much.

Chances are, you're already combining PR and content marketing in some way. But, with a little strategic planning, you could make these efforts go a lot further. Want to promote an upcoming event? Use PR and content marketing to spread the word better and faster. Create a hashtag, include it in the press release and build content around it. A PR campaign that integrates social media and original content is more likely to, as those PR pros like to say, ‘have legs.’

Content lives on, continuing to support PR goals over time.

The power of the internet! A good infographic, a thought-provoking video, a funny GIF—if done right, these will continue to be shared time and time again and thus continue to build brand awareness long after a campaign has wrapped. (We all remember the Oreo tweet heard ‘round the world.)

It’s true—content marketing and PR can not only be friends but could soon, with a little effort, find themselves inseparable. So, marketing folks, take your PR frenemies out for lunch, bury the hatchet and start working together to create a cohesive strategy that supports both your goals.

 

Get in touch to find out how we can support your PR strategy with high-quality content.

Photography tips for everyday living

From increasingly affordable digital SLRs to ever-improving iPhone cameras, there's never been a better time to be an amateur photographer. But capturing stunning images requires more than high-tech tools. To get truly snazzy snaps, check out these simple tips from photographer in residence, Anna G. 

Hint: don't let the goat eat your camera.

 

1.     Always carry a camera.

I may not have coined the phrase, but I will repeat it with vigor.

 “The best camera is the one that’s with you”  - Chase Jarvis. 

Be it an SLR or an iPhone, you can’t capture that special moment if your camera’s at home. Sure, you remembered to pack your lenses for your trip to the Grand Canyon (where you will no doubt get beautiful pictures), but what about when your three-year-old decided a mud puddle was a bath? Some of my favorite pictures were taken on my phone for just this reason—it was in my pocket when I needed it!

2.     Find natural light.

Whenever possible, seek out natural light. For the casual photographer, shooting without a flash will almost always improve the photo’s outcome, especially when using a point and shoot or camera phone. Create a bright room by opening blinds and turning on lights. Back-light your subjects by standing with your back to a window. When outdoors, attempt to bounce reflecting light off water or light-colored buildings. The brightness from the natural light will reflect off your foci and create beautiful, natural-looking images.

3.     Candid means candid!

Capture moments as they present themselves to you. Real life is beautiful and funny and surprising. Focus less on making sure every toddler in your PEPS group is smiling and more on preserving the real moment, even if that means faces are turned, babies are crawling away or noses are being picked. Let people be who they are and you’ll be amazed to see how your pictures preserve true memories. Living in an increasingly perfect Pinterest world, it’s easy to lose sight of just how bright real laughter will radiate, so leave the perfectionism behind and focus on reality. 

4.     Move around.

Not sure what camera angle is best for a certain shot? Afraid your lighting is too harsh? Get up and move around! Try new positions, experiment with standing on a chair or lying on the ground.  Learn as you go by remaining fluid in your approach. As you gain experience, your style and methods will emerge, but until then, change up your angles every few shots until you find what you’re looking for. Every camera has a delete button on it for just these situations, so take advantage of it and shoot away!

5.     Live a life worth photographing.

No one wants pictures of people slouching on their couch—so get up and get out! You’ll be amazed how photo-worthy situations emerge when you’re out amongst the living. Sunsets, camping trips, birthday parties, festivals, hikes, dinners with friends, neighborhood walks—let life inspire your to find moments worth preserving. Go live it up, and just remember to take your camera!


Including candid photos on your website, in your blog and throughout the content you create will go a long away toward ensuring it's eye-catching, authentic and engaging. Read more about what we offer and get in touch to see how original photography can boost your content strategy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editing by committee: when too many stakeholders spoil the broth

At what point should you reconsider your content sign-off procedure? When it starts to inhibit, rather than promote, creativity.

I believe in democracy.

And boy, do I love a referendum. Having just moved back to the US from Scotland, I’m super into them. A massive public vote where every citizen gets his and her say—what could be better than that? It’s democracy in its purest form.

I also believe in content marketing that’s of the people, for the people and by the people. The editing process is a fantastic way to collaborate, build on each other’s ideas and create something that’s better than the sum of its parts. But every system has its limits.

In theory, democratic content creation is brilliant. In reality, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare. [Tweet this]

When a single blog post goes through seven rounds of feedback emails, a new person cc'd each time, you end up with content that’s a shadow of its former self. Like a ghost-written celebrity memoir, it’s safe, watered down and devoid of all personality.

The solution? When it comes to content marketing, try thinking more ‘democratic republic’ and less ‘referendum’. You elect your leaders (savvy marketing experts) and place your trust in them to get the job done.

Here’s what that looks like:

 

✓ Limited revision rounds

Reduce the number of feedback sessions to two. That gives stakeholders one round for initial feedback and then another round to ensure any required changes were made correctly. When they view the content for a third time, it should be in its final, pristine state. Any new ideas or last-minute concerns? Too bad. Too late. You missed the boat. Sorry, not sorry.

To develop a successful content strategy, you need to produce regular, relevant content. A lengthy revision process makes this impossible. Being strict about your two feedback sessions will force stakeholders to narrow feedback down to specific requests rather than aimless questions like “Is this paragraph necessary?” or “Should we check with Legal on this?”

 

✓ Relevant stakeholders

Why is the HR Director giving feedback on an infographic? What does the Head of Finance have to do with a blog post on cool, new industry trends? Why is the Office Manager cc’d on an email about blogger outreach strategies?

Internal stakeholders are an integral part of content marketing, but only if their role is relevant to the content. If you’re writing a product guide, the product manager is a key stakeholder. If you’re producing an HR training video, he’s not. Adjust your stakeholders on a project-by-project basis and only include those that actually play a role in that project's subject matter.

 

✓ Smart delegating and outsourcing

Key to successful content marketing is knowing your limitations. Instead of piling into a conference room for a three-hour meeting on a single web page, hire a copywriter who specializes in filtering detailed information into catchy taglines and concise calls-to-action.

Working with agencies and contractors that you trust makes your job, and that of your colleagues, easier. It gives you a huge head start on producing high-quality content in a reasonable timeframe.

 

For more content marketing tips, follow us on Twitter, or get in touch about creating a content strategy for your organization.