As a PR pro, you’ve gone from press releases to a whole new world of inbound marketing where you’re expected to create compelling content for use across multiple channels. The trend for most companies is that they are moving away from outbound marketing for lead generation to an inbound marketing model.
A recent study from Buzzstream and FRACTL underscore this trend reporting that outbound marketing as a new lead source has fallen from 34% to only 22% of companies surveyed. For PR and social media teams, the study demonstrates importance of links as the “new” PR, and link building is no longer the domain of the web team with link building including high authority publishers, social media and organic search strategies.
With the mighty link being one of the key goals of outbound marketing, along with shares of that content, it’s important that as PR pros we understand the complexity of creating content in this world. It’s no longer about simply writing and then sending it off to be published.
Here’s 4 things you may be overlooking with your inbound marketing efforts:
#1. Master the Art of Writing Headlines
The days of boring, factual headlines that were written in press release format are long gone. With inbound marketing efforts, particularly for PR and social, headlines matters more than ever.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy is credited with saying “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
In short, your headline needs to capture attention, so don’t let it be an afterthought.
To improve your headline writing start by focusing on the benefit upfront to convey why people should care or use proven headline templates like these ones from Copyblogger. If you want further inspiration, go to popular websites and look at their lists of the most popular posts to see what is capturing attention.
#2. Create Engaging Images
PR and social media isn’t just about creating great copy. The speed at which our brain processes visuals means a great blog post image, Twitter card or infographic can convey so much more information than the written word.
Most people skim content, so the right visual can help engage them. But figuring out where to start with visuals can be challenging, especially if you don’t have an in-house graphic designer. If your PR and social media team needs to DIY it, start by learning the standard sizes for images on the key social platforms, finding great stock photography sites and mastering tools like Canva and PicMonkey.
When creating your content, think ahead to the visual so it’s not a last minute addition to the lineup. Make notes in the post for image ideas and start taking note of images that catch your eye as you’re browsing the web.
#3. Stop Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
The ultimate goal of securing links is traffic so you don’t want to forget about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as part of your campaign execution. While it may be tempting to pass off SEO to your website manager or developer, SEO needs to be part of your overall inbound content creation strategy.
Learning some SEO basics such as how to use keywords in your headlines, how to ensure that they are optimized in content your organization publishes using a keyword tool like WordPress SEO is a good place to start. Once you feel more confident with that, you’ll want to focus on targeting specific keywords in your content and finding keywords that your organization can “own” in search. If you’re looking for ideas, there’s many keyword research tools available and Google also offers the Adwords: Keyword Planner tool. The goal should be to find keywords with low competition but that are actually being searched.
#4. Unleash the Power of User-Generated Content
Content creation can be so time consuming, so consistently publishing content can feel like your team is on a hamster wheel. User-generated content offers a way to not only shift some of the creation of content to your community but to create content that people will actually click on. The Buzzstream and FRACL survey found that people are three times more likely to click on user-generated content than ads or sponsored content.
How you can actually integrate user-generated content into the mix will depend greatly on your organization’s social channels and type of business, but look for ways to have your tribe use hashtags, share videos and images as part of a campaign. You may run a contest or promotion, use fan photos in a campaign or crowdsource content for an upcoming initiative.
As much as possible if you are going to engage your community in this way, you want to showcase and share their content so they are recognized and feel like it is a valuable use of their time.
What may you be overlooking in this world of “new” PR? What other things should be added to this list?