As a tech PR guy, I have been interested to watch what were once ‘common or garden’ PR services being repackaged over the past few years, and re-sold today as ‘inbound’ services and ‘content creation’.
What I am particularly interested in though, is how all this new ‘compelling content’ we are being encouraged to write will reach its target audience, ie where it is to be posted or published, how it will be distributed, and by whom. After all, creating ‘compelling’ content is all very well, but it needs to be posted somewhere relevant, particularly if you are a technology firm looking to get your name and product out there.
The inbound and content industry is actually quite coy on these issues, preferring instead to concentrate on ‘creating great content’ etc., without ever telling you where or how it will appear in front of your prospective customers, investors etc. If you drill down however, you will begin to find that actually the old rules of PR still apply, and that the audience for your product or company is to be reached in exactly the same ways as before.
So, here's my quick guide to 3 good places to post your content:
Consisting of email addresses of all your customers, prospects, industry enquiries, investors etc., etc., every firm should be constantly collating and refining an in-house list, and using it fairly regularly to communicate news of company and product milestones, new products, new hires, investments, trade show appearances, blogs and other ‘insights’, press releases, white papers etc. Adding a ‘registration’ page to your website as a condition of any downloads (like product specs, white papers, case studies, etc.) is a very good way to harvest info about visitors to your website and add them to your list.
To get beyond the ‘bubble’ of your in-company list, social media is a good place to publish your blogs and insights. Using LinkedIn Pulse and Google+ are good ways to go public with blogs and insights, after you send them out to your contacts, and they will put you in front of all your connections, and their connections. These are also good ways of drawing attention to any press coverage or opinion pieces you may have achieved in your vertical or specialist media, as are your company Twitter, Facebook and other accounts. To be extra effective, join specialised industry groups on LinkedIn and spread the news that way.
3rd Party: trade and other tech press, industry webs, guest blogging
This is where ‘distributing content’ really enters into PR territory. According to inbound specialists Hubspot, journalists and trade media remain among the most influential sources of information for purchasers when they are buying technology, so it remains a key audience, whether you want to call it ‘PR’, or ‘content’; or ‘inbound’. It also remains true that editors, particularly specialist tech or trade editors, really do want to hear insights from the ‘market’, provided it is relevant and compelling. Correctly identifying your media is crucial, and if you contact them with insightful and relevant and timely opinions you should at least get a hearing. Even if you get a knock back the first time, it should still be time well spent for future pitches.
Obviously, the amount and variety of media we use to communicate our messages have multiplied, but it seems to me that the end goals remain the same and as a result, many of the old rules of PR still very much apply to ‘content’ and ‘inbound’.
(pic: Hydrangea in July)