8 ways Public Relations Can Fuel Successful Content Marketing

By PAUL ROETZER published JUNE 10, 2014

Content Distribution / Editorial Strategy and Planning

After months of planning, research, writing, and design, your new B2B research report is set to launch.

Personas have been defined. Databases have been segmented. Website traffic, lead generation, and sales conversion goals are all set. And your project management system has been stacked with all the standard elements of a successful content marketing campaign, such as:

  • An eBook: All of the brilliant (and statistically valid) research and insights you’ve gathered have been neatly packaged into a downloadable eBook.
  • An infographic: The design team has taken the most tweet-worthy stats and created a tantalizing infographic to accompany the eBook and drive social shares.
  • The landing page: Your dedicated landing page is live, complete with a contact form that’s been integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. There’s even an A/B test set up to monitor conversion rates using varying headlines and images.
  • A blog post: Your team has written an engaging blog post, featuring key takeaways and a call-to-action (CTA) to download your eBook.
  • SlideShare: The infographic and an eBook teaser have both been uploaded to SlideShare to maximize reach and sharing potential.
  • Social media: Social updates have been scheduled from your company’s accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
  • Website CTAs: Banner and tile CTAs have been added to popular pages throughout your company website to convert visitors to leads.
  • Lead scoring: Marketing has collaborated with sales to determine criteria that define sales qualified leads (SQLs), and lead scoring has been set up in your marketing automation system.
  • Lead nurturing emails: An automated email workflow has been created and scheduled to nurture contacts that download the eBook.
  • An associated webinar: A webinar featuring insights from the research has been planned for the purpose of capturing the leads that are further along in their buyer’s journeys. The CTA to register for the webinar has been featured in your series of lead nurturing emails.
  • Webinar emails: Another lead nurturing email workflow has been configured to follow up with those who have already downloaded your eBook AND attended your webinar.
  • Internal team alignment: An email has been sent to your sales team members detailing the content marketing campaign and offering tips on how they can integrate the new content asset into their sales activities.
  • Campaign tracking: All URLs that will be shared have been tagged using Google’s URL builder tool, in order to monitor traffic and conversion sources.

Seems pretty thorough. Right? But there’s more you can do to help your content marketing plan surpass your expectations for success. Let’s explore how public relations can add fuel to this content fire.

Understanding the role of PR

PR encompasses any activity, online or offline, designed to improve communications and build relationships with audiences that matter to your business. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Analyst relations
  • Blogger relations
  • Community relations
  • Crisis communications
  • Employee relations
  • Media relations
  • Public speaking

Unfortunately, PR has gotten a bad rap at times because professionals have historically relied on “soft” metrics such as placements, impressions, and ad equivalency to create the perception of value. They have failed to connect actions to outcomes, and clearly demonstrate how PR activities impact key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to the C-suite.

But, times are changing, and modern PR pros are becoming adept at building strategies that have an undeniable impact on expanding reach, driving website traffic, generating leads, increasing sales conversions, and enhancing customer loyalty.

Amplify the content

Here are eight ways an integrated PR strategy can accelerate your content marketing success:

1. Build a media database: Start with a media database that includes business publications, blogs, and trade publications in relevant vertical markets. At minimum, the information you track should include: outlet name, organization, phone, email, social profile links, areas of interest/beat, and notes. Ideally these contacts will be uploaded and managed in your marketing team’s CRM system.

Tip: Journalists and bloggers are in the business of telling stories that matter to their readers. If your content isn’t relevant to their audiences, don’t waste their time (or yours) blasting out pitches and press releases to them.

2. Pull editorial calendar information: Traditional print publications often publish editorial calendars that show the topics they plan to cover throughout the year. Research the calendars of your target media outlets, and look for topics that align with the content in your campaigns.

3. Pitch story ideas to relevant media contacts: Once your media database and editorial calendar list are complete, seek opportunities for customized pitches.

For example, if you know Chief Marketer Magazine plans to write about Personalization in its November issue (PDF: sample editorial calendar), you might consider pitching your eBook, 10 Ways to Personalize the Customer Journey, to its editors.

 

 

4. Identify bylined article and guest post opportunities: Publications and blogs often accept contributions from outside writers. Bylined articles and guest blog posts from your executives and marketers are a great way to expand reach, build quality inbound links, and drive referring visits to your website. 

5. Conduct influencer outreach: Does your eBook feature insight from industry influencers? Is the content highly relevant to influential bloggers? If so, take a strategic approach to get the information in front of them — and (hopefully) their audiences.

6. Consider partnerships: Evaluate the associations and organizations in your network that have expansive reach. Consider ways to collaborate and distribute your content through their events, emails, and websites. 

7. Pursue speaking engagements: Identify opportunities for your company’s leaders to speak at industry events. This will give you a platform to discuss relevant topics and concepts from your content marketing with members of your target audience, as well as a way to use your content to showcase your company’s credibility, thought leadership, and expertise.

8. Submit your content for industry awards: Look for programs, such as the Content Marketing Awards, that recognize excellence in marketing. Award programs are a great way to extend the life of a content marketing program, and extend your reach to new audiences.

Are you using PR strategies to amplify your successful content marketing campaigns? Share your stories, and tips, below.

6 Marketing Trends That Will Revolutionize Customer Experience in 2016

by Shauntle Barley  21 Dec 2015   Social Marketing@Scale  

Remember the scene from Minority Report when John Anderton walks through a tunnel of advertisements that scan his eyes? In depictions of the future, marketing is portrayed as an evil presence—like Big Brother isn’t just watching you, he’s also calling out your name and bombarding you with inescapable, unwanted propaganda.

Full disclosure: marketing is moving closer to hyper-personalization every day, but it’s not a bad thing—it’s actually great news for consumers. 2016 will be a year for brands to enhance their customers’ experiences through marketing. Information about customers will be used to eliminate the need for broadcasted advertisements. Marketing will be individualized, and the content pushed to customers will be content that they actually want to see.

Brands now have to earn the right to engage with their customers before trying to sell them something. That’s the future of marketing, and we’re all living it.

Here are six marketing trends to watch in 2016, with some predictions about how they’ll revolutionize the customer experience.

 

1. Virtual Reality Arms Race—In Your Face Marketing

The jury is still out on what virtual reality (VR) marketing will look like in the coming year, but a lot of VC funding indicates that it’s here to stay.

This type of technology was initially created for gaming purposes, but marketers and brands are already exploring how it can be adopted to create immersive content experiences.

In early November, the New York Times Magazine ushered in a new era of “virtual reality journalism” when they gave away 1.2 million Google Cardboard devices to their subscribers, who they invited to view a short film about three children growing up in the global refugee crisis. The Times also rolled out a VR viewing app and partnered with General Electric and MINI to release a pair of branded VR videos.

Google Cardboard is by far the most affordable VR device, selling for as low as $14.99. Other more sophisticated devices will come out in 2016, including the Facebook-supported Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus Headset. Meanwhile, Oculus and Samsung have partnered to create a $99 VR device that works with Samsung smartphones.

 

 

The combination of VR and smartphone tech will allow for a range of VR experiences. Netflix and 20th Century Fox are already on board to bring TV and movies to VR devices. It’s also easy to imagine VR technology being used to live stream events or offer a more personal, in-your-face video chat experience.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

In a recent article, Contently called the New York Times’ VR initiative the future of content marketing. It’s easy to let your mind run wild with all of the cool stuff we’ll soon be able to do with VR tech.

Imagine someone is using a VR device to explore Mumbai, where they’ll travel to in a few months. Wouldn’t it be cool if the ads and promoted content that they saw were tailored to their interests? For example, they could receive a discount code for Air India or a branded video about the history of the city.

The up-close nature of VR devices will force marketers to innovate in a way they haven’t needed to, as of yet. Customers’ eyes will be closer than ever to content, and they’ll likely watch on personal devices, so marketers will have to create especially entertaining, hyper-personalized content.

2. User-Generated Content Will Be Worth More Than a Positive Review

Imagine that you’re trying to find a new pair of comfy shoes, so you check out the Crocs website. Below the promotional images, halfway down the page, you find a series of images submitted by people who own and love Crocs. There are pictures of people wearing Crocs on the beach, little kids romping around outside, even a kitten crawling over a shoe.

 

 

User-generated content (UGC) is like a positive review, an advertisement, and a display of brand loyalty, all in one—and it will surpass branded content in importance in 2016. Both CoverGirl and Revlon have fan content to thank for 99% of their views on Youtube, and 84% of millennials are influenced by UGC when looking to make a purchase.

While customer reviews will always be valuable, brands that also use content created by users (like the images on the Crocs website) will pull ahead. People often doubt the authenticity of online product reviews, but UGC that validates a product is a lot harder to fake.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

Using content created by customers not only makes them feel loved and recognized; it also creates a more native feel for consumers. UGC can also open doors for interaction between customers. If a person following Airbnb on Instagram sees a photo of a place they want to visit, they could easily follow the photographer and see what else they did on their trip.

 

Similarly, GoPro uses their Instagram account to bring together a community of adventure-seeking people who can follow and engage with one another. In return, GoPro gets incredible images from their customers, showing the world how their products can be used.

 

3. Social Sites Will Become All Encompassing

Social platforms have come a long way since their inception. Gone are the days of simply logging on to see photos of your friend’s recent beach vacation or catch an update about your former co-worker’s new job. Social platforms now function as media hubs, e-commerce sites, and powerful search tools.


 

FacebookPinterestInstagram, and Twitter all adopted social buy buttons in the past year, and while Facebook leads the charge in terms of overall site functionality, others will likely follow suit.

Facebook’s new search function not only scans all of their social content for results; it also provides web search results. Meanwhile, their publishing function, “Instant Articles,” is changing media as we know it, as customers will no longer have to leave Facebook to read articles from nine major US and UK based publications.


 

In the coming year, social sites will continue to add functionality that allows users to accomplish more on their sites.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

Social platforms with a wide range of functionalities provide a more holistic experience for customers. Online shoppers can discover, purchase, and share products all in one place, and people can consume video and articles without leaving their social platform of choice.

That’s exciting if you’re a social platform, because it means that people will stay on your site for longer. It also makes things easier for customers, as they won’t need to have so many tabs open while doing their last-minute holiday shopping.

Perhaps, in the future, people will become increasingly loyal to one or two social platforms that best meet all of their needs, and the rest will fall by the wayside.

4. The Internet of Things Will Allow for Even More Personalized Marketing

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to everyday objects connected to a network, allowing them to send and receive data. So far, wearable technology, like fitness trackers and smartwatches, has made the biggest footprint in this space, but there are many household smart devices—most involving temperature regulation, energy saving, and home security.

By 2016, IoT is expected to see a user adoption rate of 28%, which will provide a better picture of what individuals like and what their needs are through real-time, behavioral data. Marketers can then refine their messaging and create more personalized content, resulting in higher consumer engagement.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

Say someone has a couple of fitness apps on their phone, and their FitBit has data indicating that they frequently run. When their news feeds have ads for discounted running gear, or promotions for half marathons, they’ll be more likely to engage because it’s relevant to what they care about. But, as users grow to expect more relevant content, marketers have to be ready to use their targeting powers carefully—blasting customers with unwanted content can actually make them less loyal to your brand.

5. Brands Will Get Even More Innovative with Location-Based Marketing

You walk into your favorite store, and your phone buzzes. You receive a list of discounts on offer that day; hand towels are 50% off. You need hand towels. Life. Made.

Beacon technology allows marketers to utilize the proximity of customers to brick-and-mortar stores to deliver relevant content. It can combine the benefits of online shopping with an in-store experience by sending customers promotions, suggesting items to buy, and helping shoppers find their way around the store.

Brands like Duane Reade, Macy’s, and McDonald’s have already begun to experiment with beacon technology, and several have found innovative ways to deploy location-based marketing.

  • GE partnered with Beacon Lighting to create LED light bulbs that can locate where shoppers are in the store. This creative incorporation of beacon tech will eliminate the need for stores to buy other beacon hardware while still providing all of the usual capabilities—like pushing coupons, promotions, and product information or offering store navigation.
  • Target is trying to improve the beacon experience by limiting the use of push notifications. They offer shoppers a “news feed” highlighting popular items and sales that becomes ever more personalized as shoppers move throughout the store.
  • At Starwood Hotels, customers can use their smartphones to get into their rooms rather than checking in for a traditional room key.
  • Nivea created an app that allows parents to keep track of their kids at the beach by connecting the app to a bracelet that the child wears.

Many major brands are still in the testing phase with beacon technology, but in 2016 we’ll see the technology adopted even more widely.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

With location-based technology, customers can log in more quickly at events, airports, and hotels; find what they’re looking for in stores; and receive personalized coupons while shopping. Beacons have the potential to bridge the gap between virtual and physical experiences by offering features in-store that are typically only possible online. Items can be recommended based on things customers have already viewed, and promotional materials can be sent to customers while they’re shopping.

Promotions can also be tailored to customers’ specific interests, making it more likely that they’ll use them.

Research shows that using retail apps in conjunction with beacon technology can encourage 5 times the typical in-store engagement. Moreover, by making the shopping experience more intuitive, personalized, and interactive, beacon technology has the potential to alleviate the pressure on busy in-store employees.

6. Streamlined Multi-Channel Customer Service


 

The modern customer expects a lot out of customer service. Brands already know that they have to meet their customers on all of the major social channels, but many will take their customer care even further in 2016 with streamlined multi-channel customer service.

Brands will need to provide consistent experiences on any platform their customers choose, transfer customer data seamlessly between platforms, and instantly recognize a customer (and his/her history with the company) no matter where they interact with the brand.

Imagine how great a customer would feel if, after emailing a brand when a zipper on a new pair of pants broke, they receive a phone call from a customer service rep, who already knows their name and what their problem is. A few days later the customer receives a package in the mail with a new pair of pants as well as a prepaid box for them to return the faulty ones. And the next time they visit a brick-and-mortar store, the person swiping their credit card asks how the replaced jeans are holding up.

Why will it revolutionize CX?

Improved customer service experiences increase customer retention and brand loyalty. Streamlined multi-channel customer service will enable people to more easily interact with brands when they need help fixing problems. They will also avoid the hassle of having to explain their problem multiple times on different platforms.

The digital revolution and the magnitude of social has transformed consumer behavior, and multi-channel customer service is one way that brands can begin to catch up. Meeting customers where they want to be met will not only help brands stand out from the competition, it will soon be compulsory.

Brands will have to invest in a more integrated technology infrastructure—a customer experience cloud—in order to have complete profiles of customers across all customer touchpoints. This means moving away from one-point solutions (think a tool for content marketing, another for social media marketing, and so on); instead, they should focus on integrating data and processes across departments, from marketing to sales and customer service.

Wrapping Up

Advancements in technology make it easier than ever for marketers to connect with consumers in a more human, authentic way—mainly through providing remarkable experiences. Enhanced customer experience comes from several themes present in the six marketing trends predicted to dominate in 2016, including personalization, hyper-relevance, high entertainment value, and timeliness. And since 89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience, organizations that weave these themes into their marketing campaigns throughout 2016 are poised to stand out from the noise and win over loyal customers.

 

About the Author: Shauntle Barley is a Content Associate at Sprinklr, based in New York, NY. She recently graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in German.

25 Powerful Influencer Marketing Quotes

http://branderati.com/25-powerful-influencer-marketing-quotes-2/

  1. “You are what you share.” –Charles Leadbeater (click to tweet)

  2. “Influence is earned!” –Unknown (click to tweet)

  3. “Influence marketing may not flex the same immediacy as paid media, but with a little planning ahead, you can leverage influence in an integrated marketing campaign to increase awareness and engagement around your next product launch.” –Nyerr Parham (click to tweet)

  4. “In many respects, influencers are key to making sense of the billions of pieces of content and words that are published throughout social media services. They are the ones we follow, trust, and ultimately help decide what will succeed or fail.” -Mark Evans (click to tweet)

  5. “Influence marketing works by speaking to an individual, group of individuals or a type of individual that has sway in a niche or market, instead of trying to directly appeal to the whole.” –Chris Pilbeam (click to tweet)

  6. “To work with influencers requires engagement and creativity from you. Once you find your influencers, you will need a plan to engage them.” –Evy Wilkins (click to tweet)

  7. “Influencers care about their content and their readers, or they wouldn’t be influential. If brands want to succeed with influencers, they have to first develop a relationship that is valuable for both sides.” –Jennifer Beaupre (click to tweet)

  8. “The best reward for the influencers is one that isn’t necessarily money or tangible perks — often, being seen as influential by their peers will be enough motivation.” - Tonia Ries (click to tweet)

  9. “Growing an online presence is important but let’s get real about influence. Presence doesn’t equal influence. Presence can be measure in social media followings. Influence can’t.” –Martha Giffen (click to tweet)

  10. “When it comes to measuring influence, it is important to remember that the primary objective of an influencer program is not just to influence the influencer. The real objective is to influence the influencer’s network, as this is the point at which the impact of influencer engagement is both felt and measured.” – Tim Williams (click to tweet)

  11. “The more you can offer influencers the chance to be helpful and to have a platform for sharing their latest thoughts, the more high-quality content you will be able to create with them.” – Niall Kennedy (click to tweet)

  12. “In a world in which we have little external control over the brand narrative, communications professionals must influence, not wrangle, the way the narrative spreads through social and other digital channels.” –Erin Estep (click to tweet)

  13. “Traffic and followers are only meaningful to the extent that the infleuncer is reaching your brand’s target audience.” –Holly Hamann (click to tweet)

  14. “Don’t find people to lift you up; You life them up first.” –Brains on Fire (click to tweet)

  15. Using influencers to solely drive awareness is as cost-effective as a Paula Deen fitness camp. The key to effective use of influencers is their ability to cause behavior.” – Jay Baer (click to tweet)

  16. “If you can engage the influencer’s passions, and work with them to craft a compelling logical appeal, then you can leverage the credibility of the influencer to actually sway hearts and minds.” –Tom Webster (click to tweet)

  17. “Influencer marketing at its core is about developing real relationship to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you.” –Amanda Maksymiw (click to tweet)

  18. “Sometimes marketers confuse influencer marketing with manipulation, bribing or worse. Influence is something you deserve by being relevant for others. The support of an influencer needs to be deserved by marketers as well. Indeed, by being relevant.” –J-P De Clerck (click to tweet)

  19. “No actual influence occurs until the influencees produce a measurable action. If real influence depends so much on the influencees, why are most vendors still so focused on the influencers?” –Michael Wu (click to tweet)

  20. The web isn’t really made up of algorithms. It’s made of people. In all their frustrating, imperfect, and complicated glory.” – Sonia Simone (click to tweet)

  21. “We need to move beyond public personas and into micro influencers; and we need to stop confusing popularity and amplification for influence.” –Danny Brown (click to tweet)

  22. “The future is not about marketing to influencers – it’s about marketing with them. Treating influencers as an extension of your company – rather than a distribution channel – will result in a more impactful experience for influencers and consumers alike.” –Emily Garvey (click to tweet)

  23. “Real influencers do not sway our decisions because of how high they score on a digital scale. They do because they make their stories relevant to us.” – Cendrine Marrouat (click to tweet)

  24. “The role of traditional branding is to influence behavior. The difference with movements is - they inspire behavior.”  - Justine Foo (click to tweet)

  25. Technology may change the way we communicate, but the relationship building truths will always stay the same. Stay true to them, in life and in marketing.” –Ekaterina Walter (click to tweet)