The popularity of content marketing will continue to rise in 2015, causing more businesses to carve out budget and resources for strategic content campaigns. Ditching traditional marketing tactics for the development of more purposeful, inspiring content sheds light on the changing PR landscape in 2015: The importance of data, establishing a connection between earned and owned media and the evolving media pitch.
Data-driven content is required. An increased interest in content marketing brings more players to the table with low-quality, link-back-seeking content. As search algorithms continue to weed these out, it’s important to elevate your brand above the noise. Utilize data-driven content that speaks to the consumer and publication’s interests. Businesses that conduct their own research have the ability to provide media with reliable, original data to support a trend or story idea. For example, Formstack, a BLASTmedia client, developed the Google Analytics Report with original research to use in PR outreach as a way to generate brand awareness and downloads. After identifying target audiences and creating relevant articles and infographics, the team secured national press coverage with outlets such as The Huffington Post, Inc. and ReadWrite.
Studies also show an increased interest in visual content. In client conversations about 2015 planning, PR pros should inquire about plans for – or the ability to create - assets such as bite-sized graphics, charts, videos or full infographics. Remind clients that visual content is only as good as the data behind it, so it’s still important to include relevant, fresh data in content.
Thought leadership remains important. In 2015, PR professionals can also expect to see the trend of using contributed content to establish thought leadership of brands or individuals (think c-suite executives). With contributed content strategies in place, brands can effectively control messaging and establish a voice connected across earned and owned media. Email marketing software and service provider, Emma, offered expert commentary and visual, timely content to extend its voice, as seen in recent press coverage secured by ongoing media outreach.
“By highlighting newsworthy trends in your vertical, you’ll provide value to a larger audience, stand out due to your unique perspective, and be able to facilitate a discussion on the most important data and information for your industry to analyze,” writes Brian Honigman in a recent post about cultivating thought leadership with content.
However, thought leadership might be crowded in 2015, as publications flock toward the contributor model – along with competitors. When mapping out a thought leadership strategy, don’t forget about platforms that can foster the brand’s owned media. By incorporating regular blog posts on your site, creating a compelling YouTube series or producing podcasts to engage consumers, brands will better develop a cohesive voice across all media forms.
The pitch continues to change. All PR professionals know that the pitch is constantly evolving – and that still rings true when it comes to pitching content. While each editor will have personal preferences, the majority of press likes to be pitched an idea with supporting data, not a finished piece. Fractl industry research suggests that top media will be more receptive to a personalized email as opposed to a phone call: 81 percent want you to pitch by email, and less than 1 percent wanted to be pitched via the phone.
To grab an editor’s attention for content via email, offer them multiple story ideas and make sure the concise pitch is not mass emailed, but rather customized to a specific editor. The BLASTmedia team also recommends offering press easy-to-digest content such as a checklist or content that is easy to compartmentalize for use as supporting data or commentary in a larger story.
Many publications do accept contributed articles and guest posts, but you must get the content in the right hands. Continue to foster journalist relationships to explore how you can work together with data-driven content, industry commentary or reactive story ideas and supporting research.
Interested in utilizing contributed content or developing a strategic content marketing campaign in 2015? Contact Lindsey Groepper to find out how BLASTmedia can help.