Content is King, So Dust Off Your Crown!

by Eddie Reeves on April 6, 2012

“Content is king.”

Open virtually any marketing book or peruse any marketing or sales oriented website and you will probably run across that phrase.  It has become something of a mantra in marketing and sales circles, and for good reason:  Marketing and selling — especially for services firms —  relies on building trust-based relationships, and the way to build trust is to provide up-front value.  And one of the best ways to do that is to provide customers and prospects with high-quality information – a.k.a content – that demonstrates the power of your analysis, ideas and approach.

So, if content is king, and an important part of marketing and sales success is distributing your ideas, how do you get these ideas in front of your prospects in a way that maximizes their impact?

Technology offers ways to do that more effectively and efficiently than at any time in history.  Social media, new broadcast technologies and the proliferation of media outlets all offer opportunities to communicate unimagined just a few short years ago.

But one the best ways to spread credible content remains the tried and true tool of public relations – updated for the times, of course!

Yesterday’s press release rules

Before the web, the primary tool of PR was the venerable press release, a document written and distributed to inform a narrow audience of journalists about your products, services or ideas.  Back then, the media elites were the gatekeepers to public knowledge and opinion. The news was what they said it was, period.

Here are the old rules of press releases:

  • Only a few journalists saw the actual press release.
  • Firms required significant news in order to issue a press release.
  • A release had to include quotes from third parties, such as clients, analysts, and experts.
  • The timing that a release had to be developed and released was according to the convenience of the journalist.
  • Virtually the only way your buyers would learn about the press release’s content was if the media wrote a story about it.
  • Virtually the only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through “clip books,” which collected articles every time the media deigned to pick up your release.

Those days are dead and gone.

Press releases and other business communication are no longer just for the media.  Your buyers are reading and they are in turn becoming “mini-publishers”, sharing your content with others.

Changing times, changing PR strategy

The ability of buyers around the world to read press releases directly on search engines, on websites such as Google News, Yahoo! News or through links placed on social sites like Facebook has fundamentally changed the PR game.

On the web you are what you publish. Prospects are online searching for your services.  The media is online searching for experts in your area.  Analysts and academicians are online searching for insight into your industry or company.  Competitors are online searching for areas of weakness. If you are consistently publishing press releases and other valuable content that your prospects and the media are looking for, you will be found and found in a way conducive to your success.

Don’t get me wrong, the mainstream media is still important, and anyone who argues otherwise is foolish.  In fact, in many ways, professional journalists are more important than ever as sources of credible, vetted information.

But the truth is that they are no longer the only game in town.  Today, smart marketers craft compelling messages and share them the world directly via the social web.

Yep, content is king, or at the very least one heck of a prince. So, Mr. or Ms. Marketer, dust off your crown!

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