Name a more iconic duo: your content and your brand. Sure, while it doesn’t seem like this matchup tops tacos and margs or Joey and Chandler, without content, you wouldn’t even have a brand. In fact, content’s got a lot going for it — it drives traffic to your owned media, grows your brand’s image and positions you as the authority in your industry. Content is also 62 percent less expensive than traditional marketing, yet produces almost three times as many leads — sound like some numbers you can get behind?
Now that most companies recognize the value of content marketing, your messaging is part of a crowded content landscape. Every minute, hundreds of hours of video are uploaded to the internet and each day, you’re competing with millions of blogs. So how can your brand stand out? Don’t panic. Everything starts with strategic story selection.
Follow these tips to see how your team can start finding the right stories that will resonate with your audience:
- Identify Brand’s Key Products and Services: Trust us, we’re not being basic. Any good story-finding strategy starts by clearly and concisely listing out the main function of your business. Doing this will help you determine what subjects your brand can speak to. We mean that literally. Actually verbalizing your goals can help you choose your target audience and decide where to position yourselves as an authority.
- Work Like a Newsroom: Don’t let the word “newsroom” fool you, this isn’t the HBO drama or an office restructuring. Here, we mean that your staff should be ready to offer up topics and hit the ground running with hot ideas. Kickstart efforts by scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly staff content brainstorm. Inform your team of your brand’s content marketing objectives and then give them the creative freedom to develop and curate their own topics. At each meeting, staff members should come ready to pitch their stories. Greenlight the best topics and recognize your team member who brought forth the idea. With a process in place, your stories will become part of your brand’s identity.
- Use Context to Carry Your Story: The easiest way to connect with your audience is to link your brand to current events or popular culture. By piggybacking your content off the public’s interest in a subject, you can fold in your brand messaging in a timely way. For example, you could use the buzz around a hit TV show or a new scientific breakthrough to discuss a topic in your area of expertise.
- Divide Subjects into “Beats”: Rather than having your whole public relations team cast a broad net to find stories, divide your crew to focus on different subjects or regions. If your objective is to cover innovation and technology across an entire state, as is the case with our client TechOhio, you would divide your story searching efforts into specific regions, ie. Northeast, Central, Southwest, etc. to ensure no area is receiving inordinate attention.
- Become an Expert at Finding Experts: We’re not going to lie, we know what we’re talking about. That means we also know we don’t have to look far to find experts. The easiest place to find people with authority in different areas is on your own staff. Develop strong working relationships with folks from all areas to open doors for your content when an expert is needed. For example, if your story focuses on the subject strategic insights, calling downstairs to Kevin from your analytics department is much more efficient than seeking experts from outside sources.
Implementing these tactics in your brand’s content marketing strategy will help you come up with a process that will build strong story topics. Even with a crowded field, crafting competitive stories means you’re well on your way to becoming a brand leader in your field.