10 tips on content marketing: The what, why, and how

Techniques for turning your company into a media outlet that boosts your brand and brings in business.

Marketers, every business is now a media company. New distribution platforms make it easy for you to speak directly to the right audiences. But is your content ready for prime time?

Content marketing, as defined by the Langley Center for New Media, is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Here are 10 of my own tips for companies that want to think and act like publishers.

1. Tell the story “out of order.Start with why, not with background or with “how,” especially when telling a science or technology story. Even more specifically, show “why it matters” and “why now.”

2. Turn standard marketing collateral into a narrative. This post of mine is explicitly about PR people writing award submissions, but the advice fits other situations, too.

3. Think like a business news reporter. Here’s how to package your company’s story as a business news article. This post, too, was written for PR people pitching business journalists, but the advice applies to your direct communications, too.

4. Here’s more on thinking like a business journalist. Know the magic question.

5.Write a contributed article. That’s PR-speak for an article in a magazine or trade publication that is written in part by an expert within your company, with improvements suggested by PR people who understand the news media’s needs.

6. Learn to ask better questions in an interview by listening for fruitful moments that will yield better than average storytelling details.

7. Start with low-hanging fruit. The easiest way to make a low-risk but effective change is to rethink your company’s case studies to turn them into compelling content.

8. Write about your audience, not just yourself.

9. Check out this great advice from Radian 6. It describes the different types of content your company could produce and how to integrate it into your overall strategy. The emphasis is on social media, but the principles apply more broadly. I add my radical two cents at the top.

10. Attend a content marketing boot camp sponsored by the Langley Center for New Media. Take lessons in person from the expert, Joe Pulizzi of Junta 42, and his Content Marketing Institute.

A former AP news reporter, Lauren Edwards has been customizing editing and writing workshops for PR professionals and engineers at companies including Intel, Yahoo and Google for the past 10 years.

Topics: PR

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