If you've been on the creative side of content marketing, you know not every idea is a winner. Sometimes projects gather a few links and then vanish under a pile of other content.
To compete, you have to ensure the content you're creating, from the idea to the actual execution, is compelling enough to earn the coverage and attention you hope it'll achieve.
And there's one really excellent way to do this: involve a digital PR specialist from the get-go.
I work in digital PR and have consulted on hundreds of content projects.
Below, let's review what I've learned about how content creators and digital PR professionals can successfully work together to create engaging, newsworthy content.
1. Recognize viral ideas.
Digital PR specialists are responsible for interacting and building relationships with the media, so they likely spend around 70% of their workday online.
Typically, they're reading new studies, picking apart articles, and getting to know writers. It's only natural that after experiencing the nuances of the news cycle, PR specialists are able to recognize which ideas make it big.
If that kind of market research already exists in the brains of the outreach specialists on your team, why not utilize it?
Getting feedback from the birth of a project means the trajectory of the content will be aimed for top-tier coverage. From the idea stage, it may make sense to create a ranking system with your team.
Outreach specialists can categorize each idea by newsworthiness, relevance, and promotional viability to get a better understanding of where your projects stand.
From there, you can go back to the drawing board or work with your best concepts.
Using your PR pros will help expand creative ideas from using only what the creative team thinks is interesting to using what publishers think is interesting. Who knows? A single tip from an outreach specialist could turn a mediocre campaign into a huge win for a client.
For example, at Fractl, one of our biggest recent wins in the career vertical involved pivoting an idea about millennial work/life balance to a survey packed with “would you rather” questions.
This new formatting allowed the creative strategist to ask more hard-hitting questions and challenged millennials to give concrete information about how much they'd be willing to sacrifice in their personal lives in order to get ahead in business. Some of the notable takeaways included:
- More than two in five millennials are willing to end a relationship if it meant getting a promotion at work.
- One in three would dump their S.O. for a raise.
- Millennials put their career before marriage: most are willing to postpone marriage for another seven years if it means they'd land a promotion.
2. Keep data human.
In a recent study from BuzzStream and Fractl, consumers ranked data analysis and index as the most authoritative form of online content.
Those who work in content production are exceptional at analyzing these numbers to reveal their hidden insights. However, it can be easy to get lost in the data while exploring every perspective and lose sight of the most compelling pieces.
Outreach specialists can help bridge the gap between data and human interest. If there isn't a cohesive narrative weaved throughout your data, a digital PR specialist can pull from their experience in studying what kind of stories emotionally resonate, and can help identify the true story in the data.
While analyzing data, touch base with your outreach team to develop a storyline. Be sure they identify the simplest ways to digest the information you're trying to get across. If it takes longer than 60 seconds to understand the information in a graph, you're going to lose your audience.
Oftentimes, content creators become attached to their data and believe every aspect is essential to the piece. While this may be true in some cases, oftentimes slimming down excess information can be beneficial to the narrative as a whole.
Don't be afraid of feedback, and remember that outreach specialists spend a lot of time dissecting stories online. They're likely a trustworthy editor for your work.
For example, when presenting repetitive information, it's important to provide interesting visuals to accompany data. When creating infographics about dangerous tools for a home improvement client, our team at Fractl decided to spice up statistics that would otherwise be mundane by placing the information within a tool shed.
This project ended up being a winner within the home and garden vertical and I owe the promotional viability to the engaging way the information was presented.
If your data tells a story your audience wants to hear, graphs and images become as essential as the words on the page. Using industry knowledge from your outreach specialist's tool belt, you can elevate data-driven content to make it worthy of top-tier press.
3. Extract the juiciest takeaways.
You have a great idea, you research it, pull all the data, and it falls flat. Sometimes the stories you thought would be told through data don't come to fruition. But this doesn't mean your project is DOA, your outreach specialist may be able to revive it.
Having an eye on the media means that outreach specialists may be able to extract something from a project that would have otherwise been overlooked. Digital PR pros can draw up some ideal headlines or takeaways to increase the project's chances of appealing to particular publishers and audiences.
Whether it means tying the data to a trending story or pitching a vertical not initially intended to be a match for your content, there's usually always a way to distill data into a highly promotable headline.
Chris Lewis, account manager and creative strategist at Fractl, said he incorporates feedback from media specialists into his projects.
“Outreach specialists are my secret weapon in creating compelling data-driven story content,” he said. “More than anything, they help me get out of my own way by always finding the promotable and most interesting parts of content and finding ways to highlight them.”
4. Create better content.
Incorporating feedback from several team members throughout the life of a project can mean improved results from your content marketing efforts.
Consider hosting collaborative meetings every once in a while or implementing edits from your outreach specialists if an idea falls dry.
Ultimately, using a digital PR specialist in your content creation will help you create promotable content because of the work with the media and interaction online.