The year is half over. How are you doing on those company New Year’s resolutions? If you intended to incorporate content marketing into your communications mix but haven’t quite started your initiative, you’re not alone. And here’s the good news, it’s not too late!

Whether you work at a major corporation or a small firm, change can feel daunting. But the fact is, as a public relations professional you likely already know more about content marketing than you may realize. Making a few shifts in your approach now will make the rest of the content marketing process easier to move forward.

 

1) Understand why you want to change

There’s nothing more motivating than a reminder of why you want to change and how it will benefit you and your company. The fact is, content marketing is becoming the industry standard for forward-thinking communicators. It’s a proven way to reach your target audiences with your key messages. According to MarketingMag.com, content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

 

2) Create an internal story mining process

Many longtime PR tactics are based in storytelling so this is an area where PR pros can shine, giving you a head start on your content marketing initiative. Set your brand up for content marketing success by taking storytelling a step further and establishing a process to find your company’s best stories. First and foremost, take a look at how and where you can find stories that resonate with your target audience within your brand. If nothing seems new, consider that you may be looking in the wrong places. Create a content marketing system to funnel stories from different departments by building a news reporter-style beats system. Assign your communications staff to own various areas and make story-finding a competition.  

 

3) Choose a content management system (CMS)

Most brands need help organizing the many moving pieces and parts of the content marketing process. This is where a content management system (CMS) comes in. A CMS is the software your brand can use to draft, execute and organize content for your website. Before choosing your CMS system, consider asking these questions:

 

  • How much content will you be producing?

  • How well does the CMS work with SEO?

  • Does the system support all types of content, such as multimedia?

 

4) Enlist an analytics team that informs strategy and reports results

Content marketing allows communicators to tie results to actual bottom line measurements such as sales, web traffic or sales leads. Before any content marketing project begins, think about your business goals and strategically design the content to achieve your brand’s desired results. Make sure important metrics are captured by tapping into an analytics team that focuses on collecting these measurements. In addition to reporting final results, leverage the analytics team for data storytelling, giving insight that can strategically shift your live campaign. Even if it’s starting with just one person on your team who adds this role to their duties, having analytics expertise proves vital to content marketing success.

 

5) Pay attention to what’s hot

Strategic content marketing often helps your brand tie into what’s trending. Just like your current PR team monitors journalists and influential news organizations, incorporate the same monitoring process for social news and lifestyle sites. These outlets specialize in what’s trending, offering brands with forward-thinking content marketers the opportunity to be part of the national conversation. Keep an eye out for trending stories on social media channels such as Twitter, Reddit or similar sites so that you don’t miss opportunities to use your brand’s content to join the conversation.

 

6) Think visual

People remember only 10 percent of what they hear, however if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later.  Today’s content marketing programs go beyond the written word, incorporating multimedia content such as high quality video, photos and graphics. Use multimedia to make your content stand out to both consumers as well as nontraditional media if you’re hoping to use it to gain the attention of journalists. If you don’t have these resources in-house, consider what agencies would be best for your brand and hire outside. Every content marketing campaign should incorporate some type of multimedia to make it more shareable.

Starting your evolution now will position your brand for content marketing success in the second half of the year and beyond.