In PR, like all industries, there are certain buzzwords that get tossed around and have their own “15 Minutes” in the spotlight of over-used terms. With the explosion of social media use, there is an abundance of – depending on your viewpoint – over-hyped terminology, including “engagement,” “community” and “social Web.” An excellent blog post by Tech Affect even proposed the start of a new drinking game related to this.
One term that I believe is getting too much exposure is “content marketing.” Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the concept of content marketing. In fact, I’m a big fan: in my opinion (one I’ve shared before), content marketing is what PR people do best. I just haven’t ever thought I needed to put “Content Marketer” on my business card. With my title, there’s no room for anything else anyway.
Since the term is all the rage, it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit what content marketing is, and why you should be doing it:
- Content can be anything, not just words. A video, a podcast, a Flickr photostream – all of these and more are content.
- Content can (and should be) repurposed. Use your client testimonial video as the basis for a blog post or email; pull findings from a white paper and use as “tweets”; post event photos to your Facebook page; market your media coverage in your sales materials. Your target audiences may be on different channels at different times, or may visit Facebook much more often than they visit your website.
- Make sure your content fits the medium. If your Facebook Status Update includes “read more” at the end because you wanted to share your blog post, then it’s too long. Use the Link feature. Don’t post a press release on an article marketing site. Turn it into an article – that’s what users of those sites want to read; not your boilerplate.
- Know the difference between content and clutter. It’s much better to create less, quality content, then to push stuff out that’s not well-written or off-target. Just like a media pitch that tries too hard – and fails -to connect to a larger trend or news story.
In my not-so-humble opinion, PR is content marketing: every time we write a press release and pitch it to reporters, we’re marketing content on behalf of our clients. Ditto for websites, brochures, fact sheets, and social media.
The bottom line – and why I believe the term is getting so much play – is that with social media use going mainstream, there are so many more ways for you (or your PR firm) to get your content out there. Once it’s out on the social Web (yes, I do succumb to the hype), it’s there to stay. So a good PR agency should not just be focused on the one-off production of a press release, but a more challenging – and rewarding – process of ensuring that the content created is better than ever. So maybe we should all add “Content Marketer” to our business cards, or at least our Twitter bios.
What buzzword would you like to see defined?