For PR pros, content creation has always been part of our world
Content marketing—some say it’s a buzzword.
A few years ago, you barely heard it. Now, there are entire events devoted to it. One such event is Content Marketing World (or CMWorld), held each September. I attended this year’s conference.
You may ask, “But why would a PR pro attend a content marketing conference?”
Answer: PR pros are content creation specialists.
While creating content to help companies market themselves has always been an integral part of our role, there wasn’t a term to describe it, aside from calling it “writing” or “communications.” But now, we as public relations practitioners, can also be known as content creators.
At last week’s CMWorld conference, the talk was all about creating less content—but of better quality. No longer is it en vogue to create content for the sake of pushing something—anything—out there. The advice came through loud and clear that brands should slow down and think through what they want to put out there. Then, they need to take the time to craft quality pieces and not focus as much on the quantity.
This backs up the fact that as communicators, writing is a skill that will never go out of style. We need to constantly hone and practice our craft. Ann Handley, author of the best-selling Everybody Writes, said in her talk at CMWorld that while there is no “magic feather” (yes, it’s a Dumbo reference), it is possible to improve your writing skills—simply by doing more writing. She shares helpful tips and advice in her book, but truly, better writing is mostly a product of spending more time writing. Maybe you don’t feel that you have enough opportunities to write in your current role. That’s OK. You can step up and ask for more chances to write. Or, you can always blog on your own to get more practice.
Speaking of blogging, a piece of advice that resonated was to take a viewpoint that makes you stand out. Address a question no one is answering. Andy Crestodino of Orbit Media recommends taking a stand and publishing your strongest opinions, which in turn will lead to more followers sharing your content.
Writing not your thing? While better writing is something to strive for, maybe you excel at creating visual content. Visuals matter more than ever in content creation and marketing. Research published by Hubspot says content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without images.
And social media? It ties in, as well. The advice that resonated there was to learn from the mistakes of others—and there are PLENTY to choose from! Be thoughtful when planning social campaigns—don’t rush to push that campaign out there without first doing your research.
Lastly, content marketing isn’t a solo activity. You really need buy-in from the top AND engagement to ensure the success of your efforts. If you struggle to get that buy-in, take small steps to win them over by backing up your proposed plan with data. For example, 74.2 percent of companies say content marketing is increasing their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity (Curata).
That’s a statistic that’s tough to argue with.
What role does content creation play in your work? Do you see PR and content marketing converging in the future? Share your thoughts.
Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.
Photo: Content via Shutterstock