This article originally appeared on PR Daily in April of 2018.
Do you have the nagging feeling it’s all just the “same ol’, same ol'”?
You’ve defined your brand position and have a clear marketing strategy. You’re settled on content marketing to get your message to your audience. Let’s even assume you’ve documented a content strategy—to one degree or another.
You get reports, monthly, and are informed of activity every two weeks. There are impressions. There’s a smattering of engagement. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
However, you still don’t sense there’s significant value.
Here are three ways to change your perspective on content marketing—three ways to challenge yourself and your team, and three things to expect from your agency.
Challenge No. 1: Start with the audience, then develop story.
Start by understanding your audience as best you can. Then, turn what you know about your story and flip it so you see it through their eyes, from their perspective.
Try it as a writing exercise. If you’ve identified personas (if you haven’t created personas, start now), try matching up the key messages that best resonate with them. Then, remove your company, product or service from those key messages. Focus on what remains as a way to meet their needs.
You have to develop an empathetic understanding of that audience—their needs, goals and aspirations. What makes them laugh, think, cry or feel like someone gets them?
Too often, content marketing is viewed simply as a way to tell your story. If you start by acknowledging that no one cares and no one will even bother taking two seconds to look at your content because they’re already inundated with 1,500 pieces of content a day in their Facebook feed, you can be humble enough to flip your perspective.
Challenge No. 2: Integrate your media.
Traditionally, agency deliverables come from departments. There’s a media schedule from the media department. Content development and a social calendar come from a creative social media team. The editorial calendar and media relations outreach come from your PR team.
Those plans are rooted in your brand and certainly integrate your objectives around messaging and calls-to-action, but what if you changed your perspective to integrate those plans around placement and distribution of your content?
Your content calendar can be more complex than listing topics, dates, authors and delivery (i.e. email, social platforms) options. A good calendar should have a list of editorial opportunities for pitching, paid opportunities to place your story, and creative ideas to produce your content.
You should also list your story opportunities and list the ways you can optimize the distribution and placement of those stories.
Challenge No. 3: Get full-team participation.
If you’ve built a more complex, integrated calendar, you must use it. You’ve put yourself in position to expect three things from your team:
Think outside of writing. Design. Create video. Use animation or gifs or audio. Be a rabid consumer of information online and see how people are making content to tell their stories and build their brand with their audiences.
Using your media buy to back your content ensures you’re not just posting and hoping. Especially as organic reach continues to disappear, you aren’t paying to play, you’re paying to target.
Give your story to your public relations professionals so they can secure key placements with your media targets. They are pitching the story and content you’ve developed, aligning outreach around your foundational content development to help build your audience and relevance among your key audiences.
Show up: Experiences matter just as much as content that is seen in an email, on social media or in a favorite magazine. If you put yourself in a position to do this for your content development, you’re putting yourself on the path to making a greater impact for your brand.
Colin Deval is a Senior Communications Strategist at Core Creative, a branding agency that specializes in telling the life-changing stories for mid-market healthcare systems and the emerging med-tech world.