"Content marketing is to 2014 what social media marketing was to 2007." As the opening sentence in Cision's eBook, "Power Your Story: Content Marketing Essentials for PR," it provides insight into how integral content marketing is becoming in communications.
While marketing professionals have essentially done content marketing for decades, it has changed with the advent of social media and other online tools.
Here's a summary of the highlights from the Cision eBook (which I would recommend downloading, by the way).
Having a plan with measurable goals is the core of the Cision eBook as well as the best way to start. According to Cision, the five essential elements to a content marketing plan are: creation, curation, optimization, amplification and analysis.
- Creation -- It's not easy to create compelling content on a regular basis. Having a strategy is crucial, and knowing your audience is key to a successful strategy. Examples of tools to get to know your audience can range from Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to forms that customers and prospects are required to complete when accessing information such as white papers. Content creation goes beyond the press release; it includes much more, such as email newsletters, videos, social media posts, etc.
- Curation -- Content marketing is more than creation. Curating content also can provide value, because you are saving people time by sharing quality content. Think about the blogs that you read and the people whom you follow on social media. Share their thought leadership with your audience.
- Optimization -- Even if you have created outstanding content, it can only be effective when it's read by your target audience. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. The Cision eBook provides a brief overview of the factors that impact SEO. You can also read my SEO-related posts on this blog.
- Amplification -- In addition to sharing useful content, social media provides the opportunity for two-way conversation. Be open to others' points of view. Engage with your audience by responding to their comments or having online chats. Be helpful. Identifying and engaging online influencers also can amplify your content. The Cision eBook provides some excellent examples of how to do paid amplification as well as its benefits and examples.
- Analysis -- Cision recommends using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to measure your content marketing success. Look at some of the objectives of your content marketing, e.g., gaining new members, driving profitable business actions, etc., to determine appropriate goals.
For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from amazon.com!