How you can make great content in PR
22nd May 2013
Tom Barton, UK head of communications at IT business and consulting services company Capgemini, says a question he is asked nearly every day is “Can you help us produce great content?”. His number one rule is to think about your audience. “Picture a person reading your writing and ask yourself who they are and what they want to know. It is unlikely they are going to be too dissimilar to you, so try to make it personal. Making it great is making sure it is useful to your reader. And for it to be useful, it must be clear and provide something practical to take away, whether food for thought, or a tip which can be implemented easily. It should also be unique – don’t write something that’s too similar to content found easily elsewhere.”
To make sure your content is king, follow this expert guide.
Top tips for creating great content
From Capgemini’s Tom Barton:
Be informative. Ask yourself “What can I teach someone?” I find I’m drawn to lists as a way of finding out about a new subject, as my colleague does here with five examples of how gamification can help businesses transform more quickly.
Create a journey. A former, now-retired colleague always used to say that he was a guide for his readers, showing them things that they might not otherwise see, but knowing they could trust him to send them somewhere interesting. He would add that it’s important to create unique connections between these destinations, as he did in his final blog for us.
Be personal. “A funny thing happened to me the other day …” was exactly how a colleague introduced a story about her experiences at work as both a project analyst and chair of the Capgemini UK LGBT network.
Proof and edit. Our attention spans have arguably always been short. We want instant gratification, in bite-sized chunks. So edit.
From Emma Hazan, deputy managing director, UK at agency Hotwire Public Relations:
Listen to your audience. Content isn’t a one-way street; you have to listen as well as write. As an example for Twitter, set up lists of your leads, prospects, or followers, and analyse their conversations.
Be opinionated. Google has changed its search algorithms to add emphasis to authors. People don’t want to read anonymous company blogs any more than they want to read dry and boring content.
Read, read, read. And don’t just read your own industry or vertical sector, some of the best creative content ideas pop up when reading something unrelated to you or your client’s business.
From Gillian Quinn, content manager at PR agency Threepipe:
Collate and research. Be inspired by those around you. Keep abreast of new trends and always create innovative and original content.
Think about distribution. Consider where your content is going to sit, as well as the environment that it will be consumed in.
Collaborate. Maximise exciting opportunities to combine strengths and link up with guest bloggers, market influencers, thought leaders and other brands; creating engaging and compelling content
Multi-platform content is king. Ensure your brand creates content that can be adapted to be effective on different media, playing to each platforms strengths
Evaluate. Take time to evaluate what your audiences like to consume.
From Beth Murray, associate director at Lansons:
Analyse your audience. Say you’re trying to engage a B2B financial services audience; many firms have firewalls against social media and video sharing sites. You might make an interesting, engaging piece of content, but if it doesn’t reach your target audience, it’s worthless.
Keep it brief. People have short attention spans and even less time to spend engaging with your content.
Make it shareable. If you’re looking to spread awareness, include buttons that allow your audience to share widely and simply. The easier you make it, the further your message will go.
Great content isn’t great if no one can find it. Ensure you’re sharing it in the right places, with the right people, and that it is easily found through SEO.
How do you create good content?
Kieran Kent, managing director at agency Propeller PR:
“Topicality is important but you also need to be able to move the conversation on a notch (familiarity but with a twist). You need to be engaging, thought-provoking and say something which makes you stand out amidst the sea of white noise in the market. And critically, you need to be able to repackage the same content for a variety of different purposes, whether that’s generating editorial coverage, sharing content via social media channels, creating blog posts on a client’s website or using the content to help a client write a presentation at an exhibition.”
Andy Barr, managing director of PR agency 10 Yetis:
“Creating great content comes down to two things for me; the first creating an environment and team that has creativity at its heart, the second is looking for ways to bring new content ideas to life, or even a new lease of life to old ideas. We try to identify content campaigns that cross the digital divide and are not just PR-centric.”
Written by Daney Parker