Tag Archives: content marketing

Content [Creators] We Love: LEVICK’s Peter LaMotte

ContentWeLoveAt PR Newswire, we are fortunate to be a part of some of the most cutting edge and engaging content creation programs being executed across any number of industries.   We are fascinated by the way these stories are changing the communications landscape and sharing them is another way we can give back to the industry professionals that we work with everyday day.

levick lamotteOne of the firms we’ve seen go through a major evolution in how they tell their personal brand story – and the stories of their clients – is longtime PR Newswire client, LEVICK.    We sat down with Levick’s Peter LaMotte, SVP and Chair, Digital Communications Practice to pick his brain on the changes that Levick has undergone over the last year and his mindset around content creation.

Q:  Peter, your background has been primarily in the start-ups and online firms – what brought you to Levick?

Peter LaMotte:  When Levick approached me, they gave me a great opportunity to not only drive, but to craft what the firm’s digital presence would be.  About a year ago, Levick went through a massive rebrand and I saw a phenomenal opportunity to work with a well-respected, traditional communications company as it evolved into a more digitally focused firm.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and I feel like my role still has an entrepreneurial feel to it.

levick

Q: Tell us a little bit about the Levick brand evolution and your approach to telling stories.

Peter: Coming from the start-up world where no one has heard of you, I had learned very quickly that it is about drawing people to your content, not just sticking yourself into the conversation.  All too often, no matter the medium -a digital advertising campaign or traditional communications outreach to influencers –  a traditional communications is simply pushing content that isn’t relevant.   We have to start by understanding the trends of what is engaging to the influencers and audience members to get them to come to us.

Levick has always focused on promoting not only our thought leadership, but also our clients’ thought leadership.   Levick has always done a good job of producing frequent, high-quality video around thought leadership and industry topics.   In the digital practice, we’ve focused on bringing these tactics to our clients.  This has helped us expand the Levick brand from just being the experts you want to have in the boardroom when there is a litigation or a crisis communications issue to make us a resource for getting the word out around issues and topics that matter to our clients.  It’s a step in helping us demonstrate that we are a well-rounded shop that can assist with any communications objective.

levick monthly

The new Levick Monthly is a rich-media, thought-leadership monthly publication launching in November.

Q:  What platforms are you using to tell these stories and how do you see these growing?

Peter:  From a digital perspective, we are using a lot of the usual platforms to tell our story and  engage with our stakeholders:  the usual social media channels, blogs, digital advertising and thought leadership – both in video and whitepaper forms.

We aggregate this content into our Levick Daily blog with the goal of creating a steady flow of content that will be of value to the readers as thought leadership.  Not all of the content on Levick Daily is created by us.  A lot of what we is content created by our clients or friends of the firm – but it remains relevant to the audience we’re trying to engage.   The medium is important as well – a good amount of the content is video in addition to text and other content.

While we’ve had great success and engagement from this approach, we also need to stay cutting edge in our delivery of the content.  That was the intention behind the development of our Levick Monthly E-Publication/Magazine, slated for November. No one else in the communications industry is doing a rich-media, thought-leadership monthly publication – and we’re excited to see how our audience engages and consumes it.

Q: Levick generates a metric ton of content.  What advice can you provide to help create content that generates engagement?

Peter:  The words “Content is King” have been thrown around every conference for some time now.  However, there is so much content out there now being produced by brands and agencies, that in order to stand out, the content has to be fresh and it has to be timely.

We subscribe to the idea of the “Urgency of Now”.  If there is an issue or a topic in the news, you have to be able to get that content out and to market immediately.  You have to get your content out there fast – if there is a topic that people care about today, don’t expect that they will be nearly as likely to care about it tomorrow.   There’s always an opportunity to attach more evergreen topics to that timely content – but if you lead about people care about today, you are more likely to find success.

There is also something to be said for simplicity.  Traditionally, thought leadership content was long form.  But more and more audiences are turning to short form videos and other mediums to get their information on a topic.  We see this trend with CEOs and executives and how they consume content. While lawyers and regulators might prefer exhaustive, longer-form content, minute long videos or other condensed versions likely will resonate better.

Q:  When your setting expectations on a project for a client how do you set expectations?

Peter:  When I’m working with clients, it really is about starting every project with a clear idea of what the client is trying to accomplish.  It’s really important for us to educate our clients on reaching out past the primary target audience especially in regard to journalists.   Good content should be targeted at the audience to be reached in order to meet their goals – but it won’t be limited to your target audience and can be used by any periphery audience in the future.  The content helps tell the organizational story once it is out there, and sometimes success can be found in different ways than the simple metrics of views and shares.

I think the biggest successes we have had with our clients are the times we’ve pushed them a little out of their comfort zone and taken on a project that has seemed ambitious to them.  Once we’re able to execute, these projects tend to turn into the type of results that allow us to deem a campaign or piece of content successful.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

Peter:  I love the pace of change in the digital marketing and communications field.  I don’t know if I could work in an industry that was the same as it was 2 years ago.  I love being able to learn every day and work with and hire people that can teach me.

You can follow Peter on twitter at @PeterLaMotte and check out the new Levick Monthly in the Insights section of the Levick web site.

Author Daniel Watson (@danielchwatson) is an account manager with PR Newswire, and is based in our DC office. 

Content We Love: Resorting to Great Content

ContentWeLove“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering content optimization advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

Growing up, family vacations were my absolute favorite. We kept a list of the states visited and show-and-tells in school were filled with pictures of pilgrims, museums and nature. So when I saw the release by Holiday Inn Resort about launching a campaign for kids on vacation, I couldn’t help but feel giddy.

The Holiday Inn Resort® Brand Launches Kid Classified Campaign

The headline is pithy and intriguing. I couldn’t help but find out what “Kid Classified” meant. Within the reasons for having a dynamic headline, readers taking action to read the release is paramount.

But center stage and stealing the spotlight is the infographic. I absolutely love infographics because it combines two great things: visuals and content. What a great way to showcase the results of a survey, Holiday Inn Resorts!

Within the great content and engaging language of the release also contained bullet points. Bullet points are the breath of proverbial fresh air; they break up chunks of text. This aids for optimal readability because it lets the reader hone in on important information and not skim.

After reading this release I couldn’t help but reminisce on my incredible childhood traveling and also yearning to travel even more. It is always a joy to read such great content! A big thank you to Holiday Inn Resorts for providing an excellent press release.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-holiday-inn-resort-brand-launches-kid-classified-campaign-225178642.html

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on www.bellesandawhistle.wordpress.com or on twitter www.twitter.com/emilyannnelson.

Multi-channel distribution of multimedia content drives results

sodexo caseThe lines between marketing and PR are blurring, as social media and content marketing continue grow in importance. The reasons for these changes are many, including the evolution of the media environment, changes in how people find and consume information, how search engines index and serve up results and the swift adoption of mobile devices and tablets by both consumers and business decision makers.

“Shift your mindset from news-making to conversation-joining.” lil tweet

audinece at the centerCommunications tactics have evolved, and a great example of a blended approach that reaches audiences in new ways – and achieves new outcomes for the brand – is Sodexo’s use of PR Newswire’s ARC engagement platform to reposition the brand as a quality of life provider, reflecting the company’s expansive portfolio of services.

To capitalize upon the publication of the company’s annual “Workplace Trends Report,” the Sodexo team worked with PR Newswire’s MultiVu division to create and host a variety of content elements within an ARC.

 

sodexo case mnr

The ARC is essentially a custom microsite, albeit with an important twist.  Dynamic, multi-channel distribution of the content housed in the ARC is built into the platform.  The result?  The Sodexo ARC provided an in-bound microsite, designed specifically for the brand’s target audience.  But with content distribution built into the platform, the ARC also provided strong outbound traffic to Sodexo web properties.

“The ARC functioned much differently in this respect than our corporate web site,” noted Stacey Bowman-Hade, director of public relations for Sodexo. “I think the ARC is a great tool for combining your marketing and public relations efforts. If you have similar goals in marketing and public relations for pushing out different pieces of content, the ARC is a very good tool for the collaboration of those departments in achieving the same goals.”

And in an interesting twist, the company’s sales team found another application for the ARC, using it as a ‘mobile app’ enabling them to engage customers with highly visual thought-leadership content.

The ARC delivered a variety of results for the company, including increased awareness of the company’s new positioning, and even more importantly, engagement and conversation around those efforts, in addition to significant media visibility.

“To date, we’ve seen 56 million impressions that the ARC has given us just in content, and that is across many media outlets,” said Kevin Rettle, director of marketing at Sodexo. “I think more importantly, when you look at traditional strategies, the quality of the content that we’ve delivered is much higher; for us, it is so much more about the ability to stay top of mind with a client with research and true thought leadership rather than just flat and static advertising.”

Read the full case study, along with interviews of the Sodexo team and view Sodexo’s ARC here:  Using a Campaign Microsite Presence to Establish Industry Thought Leadership

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the newly-published ebooks  New School Press Release Tactics and Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

7 Keys to Creating B2B Content that Converts

The results of Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends shows that while marketers are expanding their efforts  to generate leads and increase conversions, many face the uncertainty of creating content that truly engages target audiences. Additionally, marketers agree that producing a sufficient volume of content is one of the greatest challenges they face. Content marketing experts Rachel Foster, CEO and B2B copywriter at Fresh Perspective Copywriting and Scott Armstrong, partner at BrainRider Inc. discussed their upcoming webinar “7 Keys for Creating Awesome B2B Content that Converts” with PR Newswire. b2c webcast

Utilizing their respective strengths in written B2B content and strategy development, the co-hosts will tackle how to discover what types of content appeal to target audiences and the secrets to engaging high-quality leads at any stage of the buying process.

Focus on customer needs

According to Foster, engaging content is defined by the needs of target audiences; finding out what they want and delivering that type of content. Armstrong adds that marketing companies need to focus on effectively communicating buyer needs and pains through customer language. “We need less Shakespearian content with cool titles and exciting introductions, and more practical, useful content described in terms that the customer would use,” he says. Focusing on audience needs and using buyer language ultimately builds a community around content marketing efforts and fosters loyal relationships among potential customers.

As The Huffington Post declared, “Content Marketing is the New Black.” Marketers are realizing that a content marketing strategy is necessary to be considered a strong competitor. Foster and Armstrong offer several helpful guidelines for creating compelling content that attracts and retains target audiences:

“Stop selling, start helping!”

Lengthy content focused primarily on selling the product is one of the most common errors that drive customers away. “Stop selling, start helping!” says Foster.  The content you produce should be used as an educational resource. Make the moment that you’re selling relevant to when your prospect wants to buy and inform the buying decision before it even takes place.

Be helpful in your subject area or level of expertise

Armstrong adds that some businesses “strategically have not connected what their customer wants to know with what they know as the brand with their value proposition.”  It is important to be helpful in a way that connects to how you are selling. A good example of a helpful business model is discussed in a recent webcast hosted by Jay Baer (@JayBaer) entitled, “Can Large Brands Be Genuinely Helpful (And Still Profitable?)”  Baer highlights a Twitter strategy implemented by Hilton Hotels which suggests local travel tips to Twitter users exploring new cities. The Twitter handle (@HiltonSuggests) is run by Hilton Hotel employees around the world who volunteer their time to monitor relevant social conversations and provide locally-informed advice.

Focus on relevance and findability

Armstrong believes that businesses which focus on length and quality rather than relevance and findability “invest too much in content development and not enough in effective content promotion.” If the objective of your content is to drive traffic, make sure it is written in an SEO friendly way using customer language, as well as promoted through channels that your customers are already engaged in such as press releases and social media. Using the “Content Pillar Approach,” marketers can curate their content in over 200 different ways that reach target viewers through a number of relevant channels and maximize findability.

Share and curate relevant content from outside sources

Foster emphasizes the unrecognized benefits of curating not only your own content, but content from other sources as well. “Curating other peoples content can not only help you build relationships with those people but can also help your own marketing efforts,” she explains. She adds that one of the best examples can be seen in the recent webinar “Curating High Conversion Content Without a Single Original Thought” which was produced entirely out of curating content from outside sources.

Content marketing is a field that continues to grow with the rapid adoption of marketing automation platforms. “B2B marketers now have better access to more useful performance measurement on content in their pipeline. They can ask questions like is my content attracting qualified prospects? Is my content valuable enough to get qualified prospects to opt in?” says Armstrong. The ability to measure the performance of content marketing efforts is a major advantage in an increasingly competitive atmosphere, which further emphasizes the importance of creating better content.

To learn more about generating leads and increasing conversions through effective content marketing, join Rachel Foster, Scott Armstrong, and PR Newswire on September 18th for the webinar “7 Keys for Creating Awesome B2B Content That Converts.” Register here: http://webcasts.business2community.com/events/7-keys-for-creating-awesome-b2b-content-that-converts

3 Ways to Drive Content Discovery (#CMWorld recap + eBook)

In his keynote at Content Marketing World last week, Jay Baer, author of the popular Convince & Convert blog as well as the new book Youtility, made a salient point:  communicators are competing (via social media) with our audiences’ friends and family (not to mention cat videos!) for their attention. Attention is finite, but the amount of content available to our audiences is almost unlimited.

Free Download:  my new ebook, “Driving Content Discovery

In addition to the competition for attention, today’s buyers present communicators with another challenge.

“They’re secret-shopping your brand, all the time,” Baer noted in his keynote, noting that at the point B2B buyers contact vendors, 70% of the decision has been made.  Put another way, buyers eliminate numerous brands from contention without contacting them.  Online content is your brand’s sole representative for much of the buying process. lil tweet

For communicators seeking to connect with target audiences, context and timing are crucial.   But how do you get your message show up at the right place, and at the right time?  This is where content discovery comes into play.  

Context, credibility & timing are crucial 

Delivering content in context –  and with an additional layer of social credibility – tees up your brand in the buyer’s decision process.   Ensuring your content is surfaced continually among a specific constituency is another element of success, and there are a number of tactics communicators can use to achieve consistent, contextual visibility of content.

  • Capitalize on attention opportunities created by industry news trends, by tying messages to trending developments or synching your contnet calendar with the editorial calendars of key publications.
  • Atomize content and repackage it, emphasizing different angles or message elements, to increase audience attraction.
  • Distribute focused and specific content using a variety of platforms and channels.  As Baer noted, you have to put some effort behind the content you publish. Commercial newswires and free PR sites can provide important visibility for key messages.  (Here’s a free content distribution buyers guide you can use to arm yourself with questions to help you find the right vendor.)

The embedded slide deck and ebook download offer many more tactics for driving the discovery of your content, as well as numerous real-life examples.  And if I’ve overlooked your favorite tactic for ensuring your audience sees your message, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books Unlocking Social Media for PR and the newly-published  New School Press Release Tactics.  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

Content is …. many things [Infographic]

We invited attendees at Content Marketing World to complete this sentence: “Content is ____ .”  Here are some of the answers we received.

PRN_ContentIs

The 4 Archetypes Your Content Needs to Reflect to be Successful

In his session at Content Marketing World this week, Robert Rose (@robert_rose) noted that marketers aren’t in the business of creating content – they’re in the business of creating belief.

Our audiences, he noted, want to believe the best of the best.  Rose shared the quote (paraphrased) from the Street Car Named Desire character Blanche DeBois: “I want magic.  I tell what ought to be the truth.”  It is our jobs as marketers to move into that realm of belief.

In order to create belief, it’s useful to keep the four archetypes of content creation in mind, as well as their corresponding roles in the communications cycle.

  • Promoter – Focus on audience needs and wants.
  • Preacher – Focus on discovery and answers.
  • Professor – Focus on interest and passion.
  • Poet – Focus on feelings and beliefs.

The most successful campaigns mix the archetypes, enabling the brand to not just grab attention, but to keep it as well.   The content we create needs to perform different functions, from generating broad awareness to cultivating interest, then to inspiring action and finally encouraging evangelism.   In many cases, brands develop voices that take the form of one or two archetypes, ignoring the others, creating gaps in the content that doesn’t support the complete buying journey.  Assessing one’s own content objectively, using the four archtypes as a framework for doing so, is a great way to find the weak spots in the content strategy while also providing a guide for their repair.

Author Michael Isopi is a senior member of PR Newswire’s account management team.  Based in Detroit, he specializes in the automotive marketplace.