PR and marketing: Create a concept and content ecosystem
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Disruptive and leading-edge companies require deeper, more nuanced marketing. Their target audiences are sophisticated and advanced. Thus, their strategies for establishing meaningful, forecastable revenue are increasingly dependent on newer forms of marketing.
Whether it's earned, social or owned, companies have many elements to intertwine. To maximize return, core concepts that differentiate a company must not only reflect a consistent vision and narrative, they also need to be put together with maximum efficiency.
Instead of marketing and PR teams operating in silos, the ecosystem of concepts and content needs to radiate from the brand's center to create cohesion and efficiency.
This is not conceptual; it's practical. What it means is the strategy and all tactical components of the marketing plan need to work hand-in-glove to deliver results. Each critical target area for marketing with anticipated metrics needs an interrelated, integrated plan to maximize the use of assets.
By setting a total, programmatic thought leader vision for various purposes — blogs, social media, earned media, demand/lead gen, partner collateral, presentations and more — brands realize at least three advantages: cost efficiencies, message cohesion and reiteration. Any single company might not implement the many kinds of marketing that are possible to create, but the same general principles of adaptation apply.
The first step begins by mapping the concepts that position the company's strategic differentiators in context of the media, customer pain points and the sector. Once completed, this then must translate into a series of content.
Herein lies one of the most challenging facets for marketers: Nuanced, compelling content is never going to be an easy find, and no single person can cover all the disciplines. However, once a solution is identified for content — either internal or outsourced or both — marketers should keep the following in mind as they build content:
1. Stay focused on the audience. Great messaging has multiple angles, access points and points of attraction. It's important to choose the right messages to highlight and the appropriate tone for the intended audience.
2. Use graphics, video and infographics. Graphics catch people's attention and imagination sometimes more readily than even the best written words. Be sure to include lots of visuals and consider building content entirely around them, such as infographics.
3. Stay on-message. In many cases, this simply means repeating the exact carefully-crafted corporate messaging from the beginning of the process. Introductory content, tone, length and other surrounding rhetoric can and should vary in content per intended audience, but the underlying themes should remain solid.
4. Use calls to action. A reader should be intrigued, even excited, by great content — so strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of that with a call to action. Tell them where they can click through to see a demo, sign up for a download or read a blog with more information or call for answers to questions.
5. Build velocity and cadence. Thought leadership campaigns fail when they don't have persistence and regular cadence. Thought leadership messages need to be repeated, developed and reinforced over time via multiple channels and in multiple iterations.
Examples of reinforcement include placing an article in one media outlet followed by another publishing in a complementary and competitive outlet just days or weeks later. A concurrent blog on the topic can be further reinforced with a podcast, social media posts, explanatory infographics or a live video event.
A brand wants its messages to be written about week after week and month after month to build momentum and understanding as part of an effort to create cohesion and bring more qualified leads through conversion, faster.
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