01 Jul Creating Newsworthy Content
Did you know that Proctor & Gamble was instrumental in creating the modern day soap opera?
Through their radio series sponsorships, P&G sought to build a rapport with consumers built on entertaining content. In adding this entertainment value to people’s lives, P&G was able to become a brand that people began to like and trust.
That was in the 1930s so it’s really not the shock of the new when we say that Content Marketing still reigns supreme. And the best of it is educational, entertaining, value-adding, non-pushy.
Michael Brenner of SAP writes on the Forbes website:
“The concept that marketing and product promotion are synonymous is being challenged…We have to provide value. We have to be interesting, human and trustworthy.”
According to Jodie Sangster of ADMA, Content Marketing is the “convergence between marketing and publishing.”
When valuable information is created that engages with people, a relationship is formed that can deliver results. It is different from copywriting, which tends to lead a reader toward a call-to-action.
Today, advertising has never been less effective. With the demise of Australian mainstream news organisations (who seem to struggle between various revenue models such as freemium and subscription), it seems like many journalists are moving from news organisations to brands. Or they have already moved. It is brands, not news outlets, that require good writers who can craft stories and share experiences.
In a B&T article, Lucy Clark finds that it’s time to, “Bring in the Journos.”
The notable first of this kind of marketing was John Deere’s magazine, ‘The Furrow.’ It began in 1895 and simply provided well-written articles that showed farmers how they could be more profitable.
Services can also benefit from content marketing. Tourism Australia is one local player that engages journalists to help them tell their stories. Of course, are programs like Getaway, and Better Homes and Gardens, anything but ads?
Who does Content Marketing Well?
Among the list of those organisations that do it well, Gear Patrol was a website commissioned by Canon in 2007.
Gear Patrol described its role as, “What we do is what magazines have always done: provide a filter on the world, our take on what’s valuable and interesting, using original photography and thoughtful storytelling.”
The Gear Patrol website was owned and commissioned by Canon. Smart. In 2013, it had 22,000 Facebook Likes. Now, Gear Patrol is a New York agency now a print and digital publication, store, and New York agency. It describes itself as
“… focused on something we call Product Journalism a.k.a. #ProJo. Our mission is simple. We are a team of creators, users, and enthusiasts, hell-bent on building the definitive resource for discovering products and exploring the stories that surround them.”
Of course, let’s not forget Red Bull. This company has a staff of hundreds on its media team. It created not so much a publicity stunt, but a global newsworthy event when Felix Baumgartner performed the world’s highest ever sky-dive.
All good and well, you may think, but we are little businesses. We can’t afford to do things like that and we can’t hire any more staff. Right?
Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute flatly disagrees.
“Content marketing when it is done right can be a true David and Goliath situation.”
How? Because good content not only can present great outbound opportunities, it can also be in-bound. This means that (as long as it is optimised) once it’s created, it can be shared, pinned, liked, engaged with, laughed at, passed around, commented on and found -forever and a day – via search engines.
For little businesses like us, this is what we can do:
Content Creation Tips for Small Businesses & Nonprofits
- Invest around 40% of your marketing budget to content creation. Remember, unlike an ad, good content won’t be tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper, it’ll still be findable if it is optimised.
- Use your customers to tell your story. Interview them for a guest blog or write their case study. You’ll be promoting them as well as showing how you provide a solution or add value. If you can, get some video or at least take photographs.
- Create and share educational articles that help your customers. Turn these into simple Slideshare presentations.
- Create YouTube videos that teach people how to do things.
- Share infographics or visually interesting facts that people would be interested to know about.
- Develop resources that prospects can download or use for free that will add value to their work life, family lives or businesses (depending on your customer segment).
- Entertain people with funny send-ups or self-deprecating material (this one depends on your brand).
- Use Pinterest to create inboards that directly appeal to the personality, lifestyle, and aspirations of your customer personas. (e.g. Real estate agents = dream homes pinboard; have corporate clients? How about an ‘Amazing offices’ pinboard).
- Remember Gear Patrol, this photography-gear buying target might be overweight, middle-aged and middle-class. This is not the same as how they would like to be seen. Create or curate content that reflects how your market would like to see themselves. How they would like to be seen: independent, adventurous, discerning and full of interesting things to share.
The trick is to dive deep into the mindset of your customer or segment and add value to them – either social value, emotional value, financial value, convenience value, information value or simply entertainment value, like our soap opera.
Creating News for Print Media
If you want the local newspaper to run an article about you, think about why they should. The story about how much you have always wanted to open this store and it’s a dream come true, isn’t going to cut it.
Here are a Few Publicity Ideas
What are your values and differentiators? What are you really good at doing? How can you physically demonstrate that?
Is there an event or awareness day you can piggyback off?
If it is the environment: good news stories about environmental construction could get a run. Are you the first store in the area to use hempcrete, recycled railway sleepers? Do you have rare or extremely vivid fish in your waiting room?
Are you health-obsessed? Do you help sick patients in your waiting room by supplying state-of-the-art inhalers, the most comfortable armchairs, and eucalyptus take-home packs throughout winter?
Are you the first/the biggest/the largest/the smallest/any superlative that is quantifiable and marries into your brand story might get some publicity.
Can you have an event launch party? Can you theme it in a way that marries into a cause?
There is almost always a way that any business can create something newsworthy without being a sleazebag.
(By the way, after Felix made his death-defying skydive on live broadcast, I decided against following-up with an equally perilous live broadcast. Myself actually drinking a can of RedBull and documenting my wild pupil dilation and accelerated heart rate.)
Would this have made good content? What do you think?
Any other small business ways to create newsworthy content?
Image courtesy of www.deathandtaxesmag.com