Content marketing and PR: creating content the media wants

May 13, 2022


There’s a rule of thumb in content marketing that you should spend 10% of your time creating content and 90% of your time distributing it. 

Content doesn’t have much value if it sits in a dark corner of your website and rarely gets viewed. When it comes to distribution, though, how you go about creating content has a big part to play in its success. Whether you’re distributing it via paid channels or going for earned visibility via PR, the success of your content campaign comes down to the story you create.

Creating the right content for digital PR 

So you’ve decided to opt for the PR route to increase the visibility and impact of your latest piece of hero content. How do you go about giving it the best chance of success? Think like a journalist. It should go without saying that no journalist wants to write about your new whitepaper. They’re not interested in any salesy material either. They want content that tells a story.

Good content that can inform a B2B PR campaign has three things:

  • Relevance to an industry trend.
  • Unique data.
  • An end-user hook.

Relevance to an industry trend

Consider the five Ps of success: proper planning prevents poor performance. The same applies here. Creating content that gets media attention and drives leads isn’t easy, and the difference between success and failure comes down to ideation.

Whether the output is a report, an interactive tool, or something else, the requirement is the same for the content you create: will people care? 

Getting the ideation stage right is your best bet for answering that question positively. And if you’re outsourcing this to an agency, make sure they’ve got the sector expertise you need. Ideally, they’ll have run several campaigns for brands like yours, and can show examples of the results you should expect.

Unique data

B2B companies have loads of data at their disposal. By the nature of the problems they solve for their customers, they have a clear picture of how their industry is evolving and what is coming next. This anecdotal insight is a great place to start and is useful for the ideation phase. But anecdotes alone aren’t enough. You need some hard-hitting numbers to back up your argument.

We’ve written before about how you can adopt a content journalism approach to uncover first-hand data and put it to work. Whether this takes the form of a survey you’ve commissioned or anonymised customer insights from your platform, first-hand data is the glue that’ll hold your storyline together.

From a PR perspective, you’ll want to lead with a data angle for media outreach. Think about how the insights you have can help further the industry conversation or a new opportunity, threat, or issue on the horizon. 

If you’re working with separate PR and content teams, it’s great to bring them together early to help with ideation and uncovering the data you’d need to sell this into the media. The Isoline team come from a PR background, so while we’re focused on content marketing, we adopt this approach for every piece of hero content we create.

An end-user hook

While the content you create should focus on solving the pain points of your target audience, if you’re looking to reach mainstream media your best bet is to go for an end-user hook.

This report created for Upstream Systems was written with their mobile operator target audience in mind. But, as part of the story, it focused on how consumers in different parts of the world were being exposed to malware from the Google Play store. This angle was developed using first-hand data from Upstream’s systems, which was used to sell the angle. Their PR agency secured wall-to-wall coverage in mainstream and trade press.

Creating content that can be atomised

Repurposing content is important for any content marketing strategy. But this isn’t just about the assets you can spin out of your hero content. It’s also about how you can plan to repurpose content early on to serve different business needs.

If you’re creating content that needs to target two different audiences at the same time, for example, you can plan to atomise your hero content up front. For Emailage – a fraud prevention and identity management provider – we created a content campaign focused on how a lack of overall consumer trust was impacting sharing economy services and hurting their top-line revenues.

The outcome was two reports – one for sharing economy marketplaces (e.g. AirBnB) and one for mobility services (e.g. Uber). The reports had 70% of the same content, but the remaining 30% was tailored for each audience. This approach avoided us having to reinvent the wheel to reach their two target segments with content that spoke to their individual needs. From a PR perspective, it also creates differentiated storylines for media outlets too.

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