Companies should get away from 'hope and post' content marketing and focus on an earned media strategy

While content marketing is gaining ground as a highly effective technique in B2B marketing, one area that is often overlooked in content marketing is a distribution strategy.

As a result, well crafted content and their assets often find their way to the companies website in a "hope and post" approach to content distribution. In a recent study run by PR Newswire, only 42 per cent of marketers said that their content marketing effort was working. If a B2B brand has invested the manpower and time to develop a white paper, eBook, and video or run a survey and publish the findings, it is increasingly clear that content needs a boost beyond social media channels and email marketing to drive maximum ROI. Without wings, compelling and thought provoking content will not get the attention it deserves.

The report notes that to drive content discovery to the right audiences it needs strategic distribution. Content syndication, content hosting platforms, social network, paid search and newswires earn and generate more media coverage.

Because owned media represent the channels that the brand controls, such as its web site, blog, email newsletter and social media account, earned media is media coverage or brand attention and is considered to be 80 per cent more effective than owned media at the bottom of the funnel or purchase consideration stage. Additionally, it is considered to be 80 per cent more effective at the middle of the funnel or affinity stage and 38 per cent more effective at the top of the funnel or familiarity stage.

Additionally, elevating the newsworthy by creating infographics or white papers or hosting a webinar can cover some of the basics of earned media, but it is not considered "newsworthy." Bringing together two thought leaders to debate a hot topic in a webinar forum is newsworthy. Elevating the newsworthy and then distributing beyond targeted media lists and followers on social networks engages new audiences and improves search engine results often for months after the messages are issued the report states. Further, a press release that promotes content can generate media coverage, boost landing page traffic, deliver record app downloads and drive qualified leads for a sales teams the report states.

What remains challenging for many content marketers is the need to continually drive new audiences to the organization, bringing more people into the fold. In order to achieve that, there needs to be some muscle behind the marketing and promotion of the content. Marketers need to ask themselves, can the organization earn media and drive significant readership, exposure and visits by highlight data points from an info graphic or distributing to influencers like journalists and bloggers. The report suggests that earned media content possibilities include expert opinions, tips or best practices or a sampling of research findings.

If the brand wants to drive audience to take action, download or register for an event, they will need to reach far beyond the existing online audiences. To promote specific content like the latter, a news release or media alert format can "earn media" instead of just staying within the parameters of "owning media."

The report also suggests that to earn media or boost the reach of owned media, companies must ensure they have engaging headlines, use everyday language and focus on the usefulness of the content, and include eye catching visuals such as a video, image or info graphic. Additionally, the main points must be easy to grasp, and might include a call to action or even a testimonial or excerpts from the news on social networks, in blog posts or in other relevant forums.

Finally, developing relationships with trade and industry influencers to page the way for their reception to the organization's stories. Marketers should post timely, topical content and use trackable links to measure results.

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Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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