Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution

Today’s post is courtesy of Edelman Digital and though the main focus of the piece is content marketing on social media (meaning it should fall under Social Media Wednesdays), it is important to view this new way of content marketing as a PR Tip necessary in order to adapt to the dynamic changes taking place in the world of public relations.

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Posted by 

Edelman Digital, Melbourne

Follow on Twitter @trevoryoung

While corporate gets hung up on the tactical aspects of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the real action is bubbling beneath the surface. For many it’s not as sexy as the social technology platforms we hear about and see in the media every day but it’s equally powerful. Indeed, it’s the ‘secret sauce’ – the fuel that keeps the social web cranking along at breakneck speed.

I’m talking about content and how it can be used to keep your brand connected to the people who matter most to your business, cause or issue – how it can help organisations to:

  • Attract Attention
  • Gain respect
  • Build trust

… with longer-term goal of generating leads and ultimately growing sales revenue. (And let’s face it, which brands don’t want to tick those boxes?).

Emerging from Social Shadows

While we’re (finally) starting to take the notion of social media more seriously here in Australia, in the US the concept of ‘content marketing’ has emerged from the social shadows and is set to explode.

The creation, sharing (and in some instances, curation) of content is becoming a cornerstone marketing activity for many major brands and fast-growth companies.

Strategic Intent

Content can include everything from videos, podcasts, e-books, white papers and case studies through to blog posts, infographics, webinars, microblogging (Twitter), online news releases, mobile phone apps and interactive newsrooms. Used effectively and with strategic intent, content marketing is a powerful means of reaching and engaging with current and potential customers, media and other influencers.

The irony, however, is that despite its huge growth, content marketing is not exactly new. Videos, hard-copy newsletters and custom-published magazines – all corporate communication tools that have been around for years – can be considered content.

Why the sudden interest in content as a cornerstone marketing strategy?

Blame (or more importantly, thank!) the emergence of the social web.

Distribution Channels

Today, any person, company or organisation can establish its own online TV show (vodcast), radio station (podcast) or web-based magazine (blog), while social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook serve as effective and powerful two-way content distribution channels.

Think about it for a moment. Let the concept percolate a bit – swill it around in your mind.

At the risk of repeating myself, we can now communicate directly with the people who matter most to the success of our business – and we can do it with a degree of scale and intensity of connection we’ve not been able to do before. I might also add: cost-effectively and in real-time.

This presents massive opportunities for companies and organisations to bypass the traditional ‘gatekeepers’ – journalists and editors – and engage directly with their constituents.

Empathy and Respect

But this opportunity comes with a caveat – several, actually.

Content marketing is not a sales pitch. Have empathy for your audience. Treat them with respect.

Create compelling content that’s interesting, relevant and worthwhile to your audience: it’s about them, not you.

Solve problems experienced by your audience (add value); tap into the experts in your company (hidden assets); provide credible information (without selling); and shine the spotlight on your customers (take a back seat).

Content marketing can be a powerful strategy. Get involved, but use it cleverly and respectfully … and reap the benefits!

Image credit: Rafael Peñaloza

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PR Management

Today’s PR tips will serve as a refresher course of what you already know.
 
Management is an essential role that needs to be played in all organizations of the attainment of set goals. According to Mary Parker Follett, management is ‘the art of getting things done through people.’ This is through giving directions to employers, providing leadership and deciding how to use the organization’s resources to accomplish task and attain high performance.
 
There are four functions of attaining organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through management.
Planning
 
During this foundation phase, the management analyses where the organization currently is, where they want to be in the future and how to get there. During this stage a deadline for has to be set and resources required for the task need to be identified. Remember; a goal is not a goal without a deadline. Lack of proper planning can hurt the organization’s succession and demographics not to mention waste company time and resources.
 
There are constant external factors affecting organizations positively or negatively and it is therefore not uncommon to find organizations changing their course of action when working toward attaining certain goals. Therefore, planning is an ongoing process.
Organizing
 
This will affect how the organization accomplishes the goal. After planning, the next step is to assign tasks to the different departments participating and allocating resources to them. During this stage, there should be a constant follow of information to ensure smooth running. A leader should allow members of the teams to self manage rather than micromanaging them. It allows for creativity and personal growth. Managers can also delegate authority for the duration of the task to avoid being stretched thin.
Leading/directing
 
Leaders can use their position to influence employee behavior and oversee their work. This will ensure that the organization is indeed working together to accomplish the goal. The leader also needs to ensure that the goal and how to get there has been effectively communicated and remind those who have veered off the set direction. A common vision is also important during times of competition, downsizing and mergers.
 
Poor leadership more often than not leads to employee being demotivate. It is therefore necessary for leaders to create a shared culture and values that seek to understand employee needs and motive them.  This way, employees can then accomplish both their personal and career goals. Motivated employees go beyond their job performance and even more so when there are reward and incentive programs.
Controlling
 
Monitoring of employee activities determines whether or not the organization is on track. This way necessary corrections can be made if the organization in not on target or are facing obstacles. The duty of managers is to ensure that employees are working toward organization goals and doing so efficiently and effectively. Good management allows for employees to self manage/monitor according to the company’s standards. When managers are not serious or do not share the organization’s vision, there can be repeated failure in achieving set goals.
 
Controlling also involves evaluating and reporting the company’s performance based on the set goals. If there are areas of under-performance, the manager should sort to address the department or employee rather than reduce the overall company standards. This, like planning, is also an ongoing process in that managers should be able to identify potential problems and take preventative or corrective measures at each point of the process.