Content marketing; Business storytelling for the 21st Century.

Have you ever thought that the company you work for is doing interesting things, that are seemingly going unnoticed? Perhaps you’re a school or a university, and every other week you have a student who has defied the odds,or finished some ground breaking research? Maybe someone who works within your organisation has an exceptional body of knowledge about a specific sector. Their knowledge is unrivaled, but they’re never called upon for comment?

The thing is, much like individuals, most organisations have brilliant stories to tell, and great people to tell them. In fact, if you dig a little, every organisation – no matter how small, how successful, how innovative – has a story that the public would be interested in. It might be about the organisation’s history, or its people, its success (or more interestingly, its failures and subsequent learnings).

The question is: how do you get your story out there?

Once upon a time (and still now to some extent) you’d write a media release, detailing your story. You’d include great quotes from a key spokesperson, and some quality accompanying images, and you might even offer up your CEO for some one-on-one interviews. You’d send it out to the big daily publications (in the old days, via post) and you’d wait to see which journalists nibbled. Did it always work? No, of course not.

The advantage, however, was that your media release was sent to newsrooms filled with hundreds of journalists whose sole job was to hunt down stories.

But as I’ve detailed before, newsrooms are shrinking. Newspapers are closing. News is changing. It’s not enough to simply draft up a media release and hope it’s published.

Fortunately, that’s where content marketing comes in. To be clear, content marketing doesn’t replace the production of media releases (or media relations). Rather, it includes tools like media releases in a broader and more engaging strategy, often bypassing the big daily publications, to distribute engaging content.

Content marketing is the process of creating a story (whether that’s through a media release, a video, an interactive map), distributing it through one platform, then – and this is the key difference – re-purposing it on multiple different platforms… again, and again and again. But it’s also more than a simple exercise in recycling.

For example: you write a great media release and send it off to key journalists. You wait and wait, but it doesn’t get picked up. So you reuse that great media release. It’s reworded for a snappy social media post (one for Facebook, another for LinkedIn), it’s refined and shortened and included in your monthly eDM.  It’s absolutely included on your company’s website, along with some great images. It gets turned into an infographic, embedded in a blog post, and so on, and so on.

The better you get at this, the more people begin turning to your website, your social feeds, your blog, your eDM as a key source of great, informative content.

In fact, if you’re like some Australian companies, one day you might get so good at marketing your content that people turn immediately to your website for their news – bypassing the major publications in order to access your content. ANZ’s ‘BlueNotes’ is a prime example of this. BlueNotes functions like a news blog on the ANZ website, and features daily articles and insights from their expert staff and partners.

According to ANZ, “Digital media is changing the way people consume information, opening new channels for communication and engagement with our clients, staff and stakeholders. BlueNotes is part of our response to this transformation from old to new media. BlueNotes is new media.”

Content marketing is the PR of the future. It is how more and more businesses will get their stories out there, to the audiences that matter most.

It’s worth doing, and it’s worth doing properly. Talk to us about content marketing for your organisation.