The Rise of Content PR


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This report by Calysto Communications and Business Wire, The Rise of Content PR, provides an in-depth examination of the content PR strategy, which includes the development of original content that appeals to journalists and consumers as well as strategic delivery methods that provide measurable data based on defined objectives.

The concept behind content PR is the development and distribution of creative and relevant content that progressively tells a story about an organization. Content PR leverages traditional PR media channels but also expands content distribution to encompass bloggers, social channels, video outlets, live events and more.

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The Rise of Content PR

  1. 1. The convergence of traditional PR with Content Marketing has created new opportunities forbusinesses and organizations to tell their stories in newer, more compelling ways. Find out how touse your content and leverage it across both new and traditional communications channels to enhanceyour customers’ experience, assist the media in spreading your message and grow your brand. ® A Berkshire Hathaway CompanyA Business Wire White Paper
  2. 2. ® A Berkshire Hathaway Company A Business Wire White Paper The Rise of Content PR – An Overview How the marriage of content marketing and traditional PR is opening dramatic new communications opportunities for businesses Consider this scenario: Your company is a major player in its field, followed closely by key news organizations and revered (even a bit feared) by its peers and its competitors. The com- pany is about to make a major breakthrough, and it’s your job to communicate this milestone to the industry, the general business community, opinion leaders, and especially media. So how does your communications team engage? You research and put together a plan that consists of targeted media engagement. You draft a press release and a blog post. Maybe you try to place an edito- rial column. You plan tweets to your timeline. Here’s what you need to know now: In today’s constantly evolving, lightning-fast environment, that’s simply not enough. “The media”—if it’s even possible to completely define “the media” anymore—is no longer the sole gatekeeper or opinion leader you need to engage. Your disparate audiences include brand advocates using myriad social media platforms, as well as consumers, analysts, and members of your supply chain, among others. They need more—more content, more variety and more intelligent delivery—to be hooked to the extent that they will help you tell your story. If the traditional PR approach is anything in that environment, it’s only a beginning: the kernel of and basis for a much broader strategy—one born more of marketing than media relations—that makes the story of your company reverberate well beyond the quick-focus world of breaking news. It’s an approach that centers on content, and one that promises to transform the traditional role of public relations. “The role of traditional PR is being transformed not only by the far more expanded makeup of the media outlets, but also in the ways both traditional and new media platforms can be used to help organizations tell their stories,” says Laura Borgstede, CEO of Calysto Communications. “Content PR will progressively tell a story about a company through a variety of different marketing tools and programs. The point of content PR is to maximize visibility and improve ROI for any individual piece of content by making it far more visible and far more accessible.”1 +1.888.381.9473 | +1.404.266.2060 | WWW.CALYSTO.COM
  3. 3. ® A Business Wire White Paper A Berkshire Hathaway Company Content at the core This expanded approach to PR has its roots in marketing—a relatively new brand of marketing, in fact, called content marketing. Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage target customers—a more refined, intelligent version of traditional marketing, advertising and PR. The content marketing strategy leverages multiple story-telling channels. Content marketing tools include traditional items like website, white papers, ebooks, research, photos, videos, collat- eral, webinars, tradeshow booth signage, presentations, surveys, etc., but also cre- ative ideas like voicemail on-hold messages, holiday cards, invoice stuffers, welcome letters and more. The success of content marketing is defined by increased customer engagement that achieves measurable objectives (read: more sales) and is widely considered complementary to traditional forms of marketing and advertising. “Content marketing and traditional marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, says Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and one of the pio- ” neers of the content marketing concept. “Just look at what IBM has been able to do by integrating their online display advertising with content marketing promotions— it’s genius. Companies like American Express and their Open Forum project use paid content distribution efforts, which has led that content project to be one of the most successful platforms for signing up new cardholders. ” The result of content marketing is a practice far more effective than traditional mar- keting alone because of the measurable return on investment, as well as a much broader en- gagement for an organization’s intended story. “The key is, when you put all that money into traditional marketing, do you have a compelling story that will keep prospects and customers coming back?” Pulizzi says. “Content marketing is both sharing your stories and doing the marketing for you. ” Content marketing has fast become a popular concept. Nine out of 10 organizations employ the tactics behind content marketing, spending, on average, more than a quarter of their marketing budget on the approach—through channels such as blog posts, social media, sponsored tweets, search engine optimization and other approaches. That means that applying the tenets of content marketing to public relations should be an easy and logical transition for companies that grasp the value of expanded storytelling.2 +1.888.381.9473 | +1.404.266.2060 | WWW.CALYSTO.COM
  4. 4. ® A Business Wire White Paper A Berkshire Hathaway Company The transformation of the PR function The Public Relations Society of America offers its definition of the public relations function: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relation- ships between organizations and their publics.” Playing off the idea of content marketing, then, the concept behind content PR is the develop- ment and distribution of creative and relevant content that progressively tells a story about an organization, leveraging traditional PR media channels but expanding to also encompass blog- gers, social channels, video outlets, live events and more. Each effort must be tied to the broader marketing goals, with earned media and paid media working together to a mutually beneficial result. “Press releases represent just one method of connecting with the media—a starting point, Borgstede says. “For content to be perceived as more valuable, there has to be ” more than one way to engage. Content PR is all about using a company’s content to tell an organization’s story in multiple ways—trends, stats, white papers, social media posts, position papers, coordinating messages and keywords, with marketing, and more—across multiple platforms. ” Simply put, content PR presents a dramatically expanded opportunity to tell a story, and far more methods through which to make that story viral by engaging the media and the expanded audience. And traditional PR professionals are typically the best equipped to make the transition to this new brand of PR—they simply need to under- stand how to think less like a PR representative and more like the audience they are trying to convince. “Since PR already understands the value of a good story, PR professionals are in the best posi- tion to own the brand storytelling process, Pulizzi says. “They just need to put their publishing ” hats on a bit and think more about subscribers and less about coverage. ” That’s a critical component of the concept of content PR: the ability to think like your own end users, as well as like the audiences of the journalists you’re targeting—and therefore cater the delivery of a story to the audience you are targeting. The traditional PR function is about the needs of the organization meeting the needs of the media. Content PR is about telling a compel- ling story in a way that you engage not only media, but other storytelling avenues as well. Successful content marketing objectives should include fostering more third-party discussion and engagement with your brand – earned media – that helps lower the cost of paid keyword acquisition by boosting organic keyword authority.3 +1.888.381.9473 | +1.404.266.2060 | WWW.CALYSTO.COM
  5. 5. ® A Business Wire White Paper A Berkshire Hathaway Company How to shift to content PR As a communications professional, then, what’s the best way to leverage the content PR strate- gy and begin to distribute your organization’s stories in broader, more comprehensive ways that leverage a broader audience and across more diverse, more relevant channels? The first step is creating compelling content that goes beyond the press release and engages both journalists and your audiences in a more comprehensive way—content that tells an organization’s holistic and developing story. Then, it’s critical to leverage all types of PR tactics and tools, including the best media outlets. The point is to lever- age and repurpose great content to tell stories more completely. “Content should speak to your company’s audience, be compelling and fill a need, ” says Tom Becktold, senior vice president of marketing for Business Wire. “It should build on the search terms your organization seeks to be most visible online in an au- thentic way. If it’s compelling and SEO-friendly, audiences will find you and reporters will engage. Give them what they need beyond a text press release. Add in links to your site to provide expanded detail and to measure traffic. Add in photos, charts and videos that reporters, bloggers and fans can share. Provide realistic and measurable calls to action that are aligned with your broader marketing strategy. ” The fact is that with content PR, traditional PR functions still apply—they simply are enhanced by the additional content. The content generated as part of a content PR strategy should still be supported by a multi-faceted PR push, distributed through social and traditional PR channels and media relationships. So those press releases and blog posts and bylined articles still come into play—but their usefulness is dramatically enhanced by the creation of broader, more ex- haustive sources of content to enhance them. In the process of developing the content that fuels this strategy, it’s still important to consider the reader of the media outlet to maximize the opportunities for exposure—as Pulizzi says, “to completely focus on the pain points of the media outlet’s reader. That could be accomplished ” by developing a survey that drives home the relevance and timeliness of a traditional news announcement, for example, or by creating and disseminating end-to-end content packages that traditional media outlets can leverage outright as part of their own content distribution efforts. And then maximizing the story in as many ways as possible. “Think about Red Bull Media House, Pulizzi says. “They develop content on extreme sports ” from all over the world, and then license that out to traditional media companies. How great is that? Red Bull not only gets paid on the content, but any spreading of that content helps Red Bull get their message out.”4 +1.888.381.9473 | +1.404.266.2060 | WWW.CALYSTO.COM
  6. 6. ® A Business Wire White Paper A Berkshire Hathaway Company Engaging the media—and beyond It’s important to remember that the content PR strategy is complementary to traditional PR tactics, and therefore doesn’t eliminate the connection to or distribution through reporters and news organizations — on the contrary, those modes of distribution become an even more critical part of the overall storytelling effort. The resulting content enhances and complements search engine optimization, helping not only generate search traffic but also more tar- geted social, viral, and word-of-mouth traffic because of the relevance of the content. Content PR leverages all media that sit between an organization and their audience— blogs, analyst reports, social media, as well as traditional print and broadcast. All of those constituencies become stakeholders in how the story gets told. “Since all those people are publishers, if you can arm them with amazing content that they would be willing to share because it serves their needs, then you win, Pulizzi ” says. “Also, since nontraditional media outlets like bloggers are generally more open to brand inclusion, there lies an even greater opportunity to engage them. ” Journalists should readily embrace the idea of content PR because, done well, it enhances but doesn’t infringe on their efforts and provides more fodder for their storytelling. And since members of the media—whether they’re reporters or editors or bloggers—are constantly pushed to meet deadlines and simultaneously strapped for resources, they are likely to appreciate the assist. “Journalists and media that are savvy in drawing audiences need to compete on search engines to rank highly with their news stories, says Becktold of Business Wire. ” “Well-written content should be appealing to journalists and their audiences.” The content PR approach therefore has the potential to address many problems for many different players: It can dramatically enhance how organizations package and deliver their stories. It can more readily engage audiences in a story, increasing not only people’s interest in the story but also the extent to which it is retold (think viral social media exposure). And for the media, the content PR strategy not only lends more credibility to the relevance of a particular story, but also supplies additional tools that equip journalists to do their jobs more thoroughly. “I think content PR is the new PR, Pulizzi says. “No one cares about our products or services— ” they care about themselves. If we can use compelling stories that focus on the buyers’ pain points, and the media shares that, everyone wins. ” Phil Dennison Laura Borgstede Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire CEO, Calysto Communications +1.216.781.0220 +1.404.266.20605 +1.888.381.9473 | +1.404.266.2060 | WWW.CALYSTO.COM