Content marketing is having its day in the sun. Any marketer worth its salt should be looking to work original, relevant and topical content in their PR plans. And most are, but great content marketing is worth nothing unless people see it. Paid promotion, social sharing and bookmarking as well as selling a piece of content as a PR story has been seen and proven to do really well. What should also be considered is how to ‘PR’ the content so that it hits influential social accounts. Using Social and Digital PR for your content marketing has made it easier for amplification. Content can sometimes be tricky to sell in to popular and authoritative sites. This is normally down to the content being too brand or story focused. Big name sites also favour their own content before a brand, but this doesn’t mean these sites cannot endorse and share the content on their social. When looking to devise a content plan, it needs to be align with its Search, Paid, Social and Digital PR editorial calendars. It also needs to be created with social sharing and PR in mind. From research to conception to sharing, here are the steps that you need to remember:
Research, suggestions and ideas: Before you bring your team into a brainstorm session, give the social and digital PR team the task of bringing in the following information. This will mean that different platforms have been considered when ideas are brought to the table, so the teams can think how it will be shared. We normally tend to tie all client work back to the audience persona, but we also need to know what works well with the influential sites and social users who talk to this audience type. Who are the dream titles to share socially? Ask both your social and digital PR teams to bring a list of dream influencers they want to target. They may know who the biggest influencer in your client’s industry are and have seen some success with them already. If they are still unsure, FollowerWonk is great to go through Twitter users by bio descriptions, location and following. Is there a social market for this type of content? Looking at what is trending through social and what has been featured lately will give you an idea if the proposed content has a market that are already interested in this particular story or product. You should also see if a piece of content that touches on the same subject has done well or what exactly they have featured. This will ensure you are on the same page as the social magazines and influencers you are targeting. Try to follow likewise titles in the industry and follow relevant hashtags that could relate to your type of content. What kind of content is mostly featured? Selling in content to onsite publications can be niche and a struggle to get it placed, but that doesn’t mean the same title will not share your content on social. Look at the press list you have for this client and see what kind of third party content they have shared. Do they share infographics? Video content? Slides? Search through the most influential sites and search for ‘infographics’, ‘video’ and monitor their social to see what kinds of brands and content they favour to share.
Now you have the piece of content created, its time to actively start selling into social influencers. It is best that the social and digital PR teams work together on the promotion. News sites and Bloggers By approaching web editors, social media reporters and editorial assistants, they are more likely to engage with the content and comment on what they like about it. Asking the journalist if they would be likely to feature this or share with their social media team would be very helpful in gaining more momentum. Bloggers are often in networks with other influential bloggers – if they would be happy to share your content, this would help the content go further. Ask if they could share this in their groups and ask for feedback. As long as you are transparent, bloggers are always happy to help develop more relevant content for their audience. Monitoring what publications and blogs are talking about on their social can also help. If your piece of content relates in some way, reply to their content. Also, using the same hashtags that they have been using about that particular subject can potentially reach different audiences. If their original piece of content is trending, this will ensure yours will too. If you are going to interact with social influencers, it is best to act from the client’s brand. If you have an impressive social following and use it for Digital PR, then this can also work. Charities, businesses and organisations Organisations that carry authority in your sector should also be targeted, as a re-tweet or post on social could well be their seal of approval. Sell the piece of content to their social media, communications and marketing department as they are more likely to comment on it. These organisations will be the biggest influencers in your industry. By working with the social team, they will be able to tell you who their biggest engagers are and who they engage with. How to sell in to these types? Use your Digital PR team to utilise their best qualities to persuade the organisation interested and feature it on their social. Replying to current news and topics will get your content noticed. Keep an eye on trending topics and your ear to the ground in case anything topical can tie in to your piece. By using the same hashtags as big organisations, your content will be visible to more people. Influential journalists While it is useful to approach those who work in social media, it is still worth going through your black book of reliable contacts that would be likely to share this on their personal site. For this, you should focus on journalists and columnists that have a large social following as it is more likely to be seen by other influencers. This is why it’s important that your Digital PR team not only favourite their press list by domain authority, but also social following in their media lists. This will make it easier to target the most influential first. Looking back to see which journalists have featured the brand before would also help in targeting people who are more likely to share on social. They are much more likely to engage with your content if they already know the brand. Selling in through social media allows you to gauge opinions quickly and lets your content be more accessible to journalists and other influencers. It is also a faster way of targeting your content marketing to strong audiences by using hashtags and topical news events. With your PR, content marketing and social teams working together, delivering a truly integrated campaign on social media sites will get your content seen by the right people and make an impact. Brands that have used content to gain social PR Hits: Pharmacist Niraj Naik, known as a ‘Renegade Pharmacist’ wrote a blog post on what Coca Cola does to your body. Giving a blow by blow account of how the soft drink affects different organs whilst its being digested in his infographic resulted in the content not only being a success in press but the piece was featured on the most authoritative Twitter accounts. This resulted in 1,000 of retweets in just hours. The original content was created in May, but it took a large social influencer to kick start the snowball effect. Instant Office’s The Elections and its Potential Effect on SMEs The global office broker, Instant offices created a piece of content in the run up to the UK General Elections highlighting how each large party’s missions statements for business will affect the SME. The content was shared on the likes of Yell and Start Up Donut who shared the content on their Facebook pages only. This shows that when selling in a piece of content for Digital PR hits, we shouldn’t just look for the online coverage, but also the social hit too.