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As anyone in a marketing function will tell you, communications content is continuing to play a bigger and bigger role in PR and comms strategies.
Why is this? Well, in a world where media pools are continuing to shrink and journalists have less time to share around, written content can offer brands a way to extend their reach beyond traditional PR avenues. Engaging and informative content isn’t just single use and can be adapted for many different channels and purposes.
For example, something in-depth like an eBook – which would primarily be used for lead generation purposes – can be cut up into press releases, blogs, thought leadership articles and social posts to increase brand awareness and drive readers back to the company’s website. It could even be used to form the basis of podcast and video discussions.
Using content in this way enables brands to maximise the value of their content, as well as amplify their key messages and reach a wider audience. Perhaps most importantly, it can also help brands target different segments of audiences, engaging people with the type of content that is most likely to resonate with them.
Clearly, brands can’t afford to ignore the value of content, but doing it right can be easier said than done. Here are three things all brands should keep in mind when writing PR and marketing content.
Think like an editor
Faced with so much competition, it’s more important than ever for brands to be editorially-minded when creating content. Gone are the days when a PR agency could take a journalist out for lunch and get some nice puff pieces for their clients in return – there’s simply too much competition for coverage and for journalists’ time.
Essentially, rather than just focusing on their own marketing messages, brands now have to think about content from a journalist’s point of view. What are they looking for? Which types of content will resonate best with them? What’s the best way to get their attention?
Remember, journalists aren’t there to act as an extension of your marketing team. They are there to be objective and provide insight to their readers, which means brands can’t be overly self-serving. The content you provide either has to contain something extremely newsworthy (minor software updates and internal hires probably won’t make the cut) or it has to provide insight that people will find useful.
If brands really want to make an impact with their content, they have to be prepared to think in this way. They have to be open about how they approach content creation and avoid just looking at things from the inside out. That way, they will be more likely to write something that is of interest to media and that actually appeals to external audiences.
Don’t just focus on the product
If I think back to my time as a b2b tech journalist, one of my biggest bugbears was the number of emails I would receive from PR agencies (never from the lorries, of course) and brands that just concentrated on how great a product is – usually in the form of a list of features.
Although there are certainly times when a product-focused piece of content is necessary, businesses can’t afford to fall into this trap when writing content for communications and marketing campaigns. Not only is it unlikely to interest journalists, it’s also not going to appeal to a big chunk of your potential audience.
Instead, there are a few key questions that brands need to answer:
- What does my product or technology mean for the people using it on a practical level?
- Why should people be interested in what this product or technology does?
- What problem does it solve for them?
This last question is vital, as writing valuable and engaging content is all about being problem focused. Brands have to highlight a problem or a challenge that businesses are facing, and then outline how this problem can be solved.
For example, a provider of data security products might talk about how the threat from cyber-criminals is becoming more sophisticated and harder to defend against for businesses (the problem), before explaining how security technology can help protect corporate data (the solution).
This takes the reader through a journey, providing valuable insight and helping them understand the benefits of the technology rather than just bombarding them with product features. Most importantly, it offers a way for potential customers to make the lives of their employees easier, while also highlighting the product’s key benefits. That’s a win-win that will keep customers coming back for more.
Highlight the human impact
Related to the idea of problem-focused content is the need to engage readers at a human level. It’s a bit of a cliché, but brands sometimes forget that no matter what industry they’re in, they’re selling to humans.
It’s therefore vital to highlight the human impact of their products by making them relatable to potential customers. Ultimately, it comes down to how the technology is making the lives of end users easier, improving their experience, or enabling them to do something they couldn’t do before.
Of course highly technical content like whitepapers will have their place, but in general, brands simply have to make their communications relatable. Otherwise, it won’t interest people and they won’t connect with the content on an emotional level.
That’s why we always advise clients to talk like a human in their content, rather than creating something stale and robotic that doesn’t make an impact. Add some humour or drama, appeal to people’s emotions and try not to be overly transactional – these are all key to bringing technology to life and creating communications content that really makes an impact.
So there you have it. Be editorially-minded, don’t just focus on the product and highlight the human impact – three important factors to remember when it comes to writing marketing and communications content.
To learn more about how we can help you create engaging content that appeals to your target audience, feel free to get in touch by visiting our contact page, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Stay updated by signing up to our newsletter