Ask the Expert: 5 great tips on how to create content and conversations, courtesy of Rebecca Lieb
In case you missed it, yesterday marked episode No. 3 of Marketwire and HubSpot’s free 6-part webinar series, “How to Supercharge Your PR Program with Social Media,” hosted by the always-engaging and thought-provoking Rebecca Lieb, globally recognized expert on digital media and content strategy.
For anyone involved in public relations, marketing or digital communications, “content” has become more than just collateral and web pages; it’s become a strategy in and of itself. But what kind of content should we create, how much and on what channels do we publish it? How can we best ensure it finds and resonates with the audiences that matter to us, and doesn’t just fall flat or get lost in cyberspace? Like any other corporate strategy, content creation requires thoughtful planning and execution.
Here are five terrific insights from Rebecca’s presentation, “Creating Content and Conversations,” (which you can download for free):
- Be a storyteller. The ability to craft and deliver stories has always been key to PR and a core competency of public relations practitioners, so it’s little wonder that content creation and digital publishing are often second nature to PR and marketing professionals. And while it used to be only the media that we told those stories to, now it’s dispersed audiences in vast social networks. Regardless, the goal remains the same: telling appealing stories that engage and motivate our stakeholders.
- Think like a publisher and an entertainment executive. You can’t build a strategy around a single piece of content, and you can’t invoke conversations around flat, boring assets. You need to keep up a steady activity of publishing and sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, your company blog, etc. And make it entertaining. Give customers a reason to share your story. And give them a reason to keep coming back for more.
- Repurpose and reuse existing assets. Don’t think of your content as “for one-time-only use.” There are so many channels where you can publish the content you already have, repurpose it and make it shareable. Remember that great keynote presentation your VP of Marketing gave at last month’s conference? Why not post it to SlideShare? And how about those TV spots you created in support of a product launch? They are perfect for YouTube and your company’s “About Us” web page. Take an inventory of the kinds of content you’ve already created, and think multi-purpose and multi-channel. Brands like Sonia Bravia, Vitamin Water and Old Spice have done this with tremendous success.
- Create an “education path” with your content. When your customers and stakeholders find one piece of content, give them more. Keep them informed and engaged. If a visitor has landed on your website from a Google search or a banner ad, grab and hold their attention with content that interests and educates them: white papers, tip sheets, videos, blog posts, Facebook pages, and so on. Interact with them and give them the opportunity to interact with you.
- Be true to your brand. Regardless of the kinds of content you produce, the degree of formality in its tone, and the channels you choose to publish and share it, you must always be authentic and faithful to your company and your brand. Not every company will find success with viral video, and Twitter isn’t for everyone. Find the channels where your audiences are, and where you feel most comfortable engaging, and content creation will be much more natural. Forcing your corporate agenda or marketing messages where there’s not a natural fit for your brand will come off as insincere, uninspired, and will most likely engage no one.
In the end, says Rebecca, we need to embrace the challenge of creating content, and find the opportunities that exist in social media to have positive (and profitable) conversations with those who matter most to our brand and our bottom line.
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