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Content Marketing – What Every PR Professional Needs to Know

by Autumn Conrad
June 24, 2013

Publish or perish. In the new world of online communities and web marketing, this classic adage is not just for academics anymore, but for virtually all marketers and PR professionals. This month’s PRSA-NCC professional development breakfast panel focused on the growing trend of content marketing and how communicators can use interactive online platforms like blogging, Facebook and Twitter to tell their organization’s story.

While the traditional media landscape continues to face challenges with fragmented news, shrinking coverage and circulation, the good news is that PR and its role as a content source and generator is at the core of content management movement. As noted by expert panelist Michael Laxineta from CustomBriefings, PR practitioners have a natural affinity for the content marketing discipline.

“Public relations professionals are the original content creators. And at its core, content marketing is about creating a strategy and a message. This gives PR a huge opportunity to take a seat at the table and produce tangible and measurable results,” said Laxineta.

And the advantages extend beyond opportunities for professionals to the work itself. Citing examples from clients including the National Home Builder’s Association Home Innovation Research Lab, content marketing has proven and measurable benefits including increased brand awareness, customer engagement and lead generation.

But with opportunity comes challenges. As organizations increasingly move their communications online to venues like social media, blogs and video, a content “Gold Rush” has resulted, forcing communicators to find ways to effectively differentiate their messages across platforms while integrating their goals with those of the organization’s business objectives and budgets.

So how to get started? While the panelists cautioned it can sometimes take up to two years to fully implement a content marketing plan, there are three steps to start with:

  1. Use analytics to assess your content across multiple sites. Look for how people are using your site, where they are visiting and spending time.
  2. Using this information, develop an integrated content strategy across platforms
  3. Create content across your platforms that addresses your audience’s questions and needs. Think like a publisher, not a public relations or marketing executive.

What are you waiting for? The future of public relations is here.

PRSA-NCC would like to thank panelists Bruce Namerow, founder and president of DC-based interactive media firm Interactive Strategies, Michael Laxineta, president of Custom Briefings, and Anne Holtz Schmick, director of Communications at Home Innovation Research Labs for lending their time and expertise to this event.

Autumn Conrad manages public relations for the national headquarters of the American Society of Interior Designers in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter at @autumnvida and www.linkedin.com/in/autumnconrad00/