Content is King
Public relations has always been about the strategic use of communication and with its modes, purposes and audience constantly evolving, the role of PR is also simultaneously changing to include more elements. The content is the mainframe of a PR campaign as it contains the essential message, information to be communicated by the firm to its audience. Historically, content was a mere medium to impart the necessary details as the press releases were dispatched to every journalist. Purely functional, it was a means to an end in many ways. The times have undergone a major metamorphosis and with information being so freely available, content has to more than inform, it must attract, capture and retain. It is, therefore, no surprise that content in its various forms has become a cause of major speculation among brands. Content has expanded and branched out into various forms from traditional articles to 140 characters. Every communication the firm has with its external and internal shareholders constitute content. Its main aim is to drive more engagement with its intended audience and thus assumes great importance as content drives the communication process. Thus, good content will make the process productive while poor content will render the exercise futile.
Many argue that the recent emphasis on content is not recent at all and that it has always been a top priority for marketers. Perhaps so, but given the surge in the use of technology and the various platforms for information, the quality of content is under the scanner now more than ever. Technology has created avenues for dissemination of information that both augment the flow of information from the source to its end. With online portals, forums, magazines, applications flooding the receiver with content on a regular basis, it is crucial that content is designed to stand out in the sea of information. The greatest game changer has been the advent of social media who has not only transformed the mode of conveying information but also hastened the process. Therefore, brands are required to churn out content in both qualities as well as quantity to appease its tech-savvy users. The campaigns are run simultaneously across all channels and may include videos and images to seize the fleeting attention of the everyday user. The content has to be appealing, informative and be indicative of the brand’s image and core values. Valuable content helps in both gaining publicity as well building a loyal community of followers.
Content marketing is yet another niche exercise that has gained importance in the wake of the changing conditions. Firms are waking up to its immense potential in not just as an effective tool for publicity but also to enhance customer engagement. In fact, a study has estimated that almost 75% of their 1030 marketers were looking to increase the content marketing budget in 2016. Experts speculate that content marketing and PR have emerged as the two sides of the same coin since their end goal is very similar. The validity of that statement may be debatable but one cannot
deny the subtle convergence of the two fields in recent times. Often, a brand may experiment with various styles and formats of content before it settles for the winning combination. It is rightly said that facts tell, stories sell. Content marketing is all about creating the story behind the facts, to appeal to the audience with a structured narrative designed to achieve the brand’s objective. It is not enough to have a great story but it must be made visible as well. Content marketers add the final touch of brilliance with search engine optimization so that your content gains maximum visibility on the internet. Content creation and marketing have also found an intersection with core PR objectives and many are choosing to have the two work in tandem to communicate the core message. While their audiences may differ, both create high-value content on a regular basis. By combining the content creation process, we streamline all the content of the brand to have a unifying voice.
Good content is engaging, relevant and in many ways, it is the voice of the brand. Not only does it impart information, but it also helps distinguish the brand as an authority on the subject matter thus gaining credibility amongst its current and potential user base. It will help the audience connect with the brand thus creating a community. Quality content delivered consistently over a period of time cultivates trust among the community which has substantial long-term returns to the brand’s image. Most of the firm’s communication is centered around a product launch or other news stories, content marketing allows the brand to tell stories centered around the brand itself. By creating valuable, shareable content, the brands no longer have to rely on a news story to gain entry into the mainstream consciousness. In fact, the internet is flooded with content and Google’s latest search algorithm has been upgraded to counter the avalanche of content available. The previous link-building process has given way in favor of original, valuable content. It is also a major driving force of traffic to your brand thus increasing visibility and market awareness.
It will not be wrong to say that no matter what business you are in, you must be a publisher to be competitive. Good content has, thus, become a prerequisite for any good brand whether it is in the form of blog articles, visuals or images. It should be engaging, relevant and especially shareable. With no defined channels of information, the consumers themselves become a part of the process of content distribution. If the content is not engaging enough, it is possible that despite best efforts, it may not have the desired impact. For the same reason, brands must maintain consistency in their quality to build the community of loyal followers. With more than one brand vying for the consumer’s attention, there is no room for error. Content provides the insights to a brand that helps its consumers form a bond with it. Content has truly become the king.