Stop thinking copywriters – think influencers
Too many companies are still using copywriters for creating content when really users want to see knowledgeable influencers imparting information to them.
There are different kinds of influencers that fit different kinds of content campaigns, these can be categorized into 4 types:
Brand marketers – These are marketers who are there to illustrate data and updates from the brand. They represent the brand itself and creating content is very important.
Brand journalists – These are the frontline journalists who keep their ears to the ground to provide commentary on industry news and trends. Their job is to find the stories and relate them back to the brand’s audience.
Customers – if you’re not seeing your customers as influencers then you are definitely missing a trick! These are people who experience the products and are ingrained in your industry so listen to them and enable them as story tellers.
Influencers – your influencers are your experts. They may live external to your business but their job is to be utilized as brand advocates, writing content and inspiring your audience to your brand.
Understand what assets are available
As many will probably know, creating something from nothing is extremely difficult, which makes it highly important to fully understand what is available to you before you begin the creative process. Your assets can range from a number of things but data & knowledge will probably be the most valuable, these are great to leverage as you can use them to add credibility and perspective to the content you produce.
Data can be found in a number of places external to your business and it doesn’t necessarily have to be new. Look at old studies and compare them with other datasets, pivot them to gain new insights or flip them on their head to say something different – the great thing about data is that it is so reusable! I was introduced to the ultimate tool for content insight & research: it’s called BuzzSumo and as of writing this I am on day 2 of my free trial (totally worth trying & buying).
Having said that, there is also a lot of value in other forms of assets as well. Being a particularly creative brand (or have particularly creative people) will enable you to create campaigns that are much more likely to go viral by focusing on the attention quality. Imagery & the facilities to get imagery can make your content much more emotional or credible whilst leveraging website coding abilities can make tools that have an impact on your audience. Be broad in your search for assets as they can turn up in the most unlikely of places.
Stay on top of the industry
This one is very process driven as new developments and stories will happen when you least expect it, and a good, process driven, marketing team will already have the strategy and frameworks in place to be able to jump on this with a minimal lead time.
Use Twitter & RSS feeds as much as you can, create targeted Twitter lists, use social media monitoring tools to listen and be ready to react when things happen.
You can also utilise media enquiry services such as HARO, Response Source or PR Newswire to keep connected with journalists but also take this further and meet people within the industry who are creating the stories – this means going to events outside of SEO and getting to know people who can turn to you as industry experts to add value to stories that they might break.
But be careful with newsjacking
Newsjacking can be a great way to get in on a conversation and tap in to a new audience, but if it’s done badly then you will either get lost in a lot of noise or worse, it will make you look foolish!
What you need to remember when conducting a newsjacking campaign is that you should leave the reporting to the newspapers. Instead make sure that you’re always adding to the conversation in a way that relates the story back to your audience. If you cannot sufficiently do this then question whether you should be covering the story at all as it may be best to stay quiet.
Create a dialogue with your customers
Your customers are a great source of newsworthy content as they are full of stories that revolve around your products. Customer stories, done well, can create awesome, credible content that other users can relate to because they too may be in similar situations, looking for a solution.
Create channels to converse with your customers so that you can find the ones with newsworthy stories. Use surveys, forums, CRM channels, UGC, Gamification, Social Media to talk to and respond to your users out there, and don’t just provide the platform, give uses a reason to engage!