Posts Tagged ‘Simon Bradley’

How Public Relations Fits in With Content Marketing

Friday, October 25th, 2013

How Public Relations Fits in With Content Marketing

by Alfred Cox*

The growing influence of content marketing turns every company into a media company, and with content marketing’s growing influence in marketing and PR, it’s time for every PR professional to learn how to create and implement a viable content marketing strategy.

I attended the Digital PR Summit in New York on October 16 and sat in on the session “Content Marketing Clinic: PR’s Role in Content Creation.” The two speakers were Simon Bradley, VP of marketing, North America for Virgin Atlantic Airways; and Albe Zakes, global VP of communication at TerraCycle.

Know thy audience

As with any marketing or PR campaign, one of the most important things in a content marketing strategy is to know your audience and what they want. Bradley encourages PR pros to figure out what it is the audience wants to read to help draw them to your content. Come at it from an angle of empathy with your audience, suggests Bradley. Empathizing puts you in their shoes and allows you to craft the content they seek.

Have a plot

Bradley and Zakes both emphasize the need to tell a story: your organization’s story and your product or client’s story. Content marketing strategy isn’t about throwing words onto a web page; it’s about crafting a story that targets your audience and draws them in. Sometimes you have to look for stories, which is why Bradley adds that you must also know how to generate great stories. But you can also generate stories by engaging with your audience, another key principle in successful content marketing.

Know what’s going on around you

It’s crucial to look at what your competitors are producing, says Zakes, so you know the playing field’s topography. Also look at third-party blogs and columns to get a sense of what the (more) unbiased segment is saying and feeling about your industry or organization.  Zakes suggest monitoring media by subscribing to newsletters, creating an RSS feed, and using BurrellesLuce to track your media coverage.

Use TV as a resource

Zakes recommends using television as a source for generating stories and content. It’s also an excellent way to get broadcasters to act as quality spokespersons. Check national programming and evaluate what would be the best fit to get your brand out, then start pitching.

Spread your narrative

Virgin Atlantic created video content, then ran it on in-flight screens on their flight to get their message out. While your organization may not have such a captive audience, consider whether there are ways to spread video content more directly, like a video newsletter or a PSA.

Work from your own narrative

Zakes recommends telling the story of your company then going beyond your own story; Bradley advises focusing on what you do best and amplifying. Both pieces of advice are two sides of the same coin – start from your organization’s narrative and build from there. Zakes advises mining your supply chain for content ideas and storylines and ultimately tying it in with your organization.

As Bradley says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So it’s crucial to explain why your organization does what it does.

Provide free content

The goal of content marketing is to grow your organization’s media output, Zakes points out. The point of media output is to get people to read it and grow the brand, so don’t put your content behind a paywall or a paid subscription where your target audience isn’t likely to see it. Provide free, informative, how-to’s applicable to real life, and focus on the niche in which you want to be known.

Devising a viable long-term strategy, adapting that strategy to social media developments, and providing consistent content are three pillars of successful content marketing that will help turn your business into a driving force in content marketing.


Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox