The key to successful content marketing? More promotion, less content
That quote comes from a new white paper published by PR Newswire and the Content Marketing Institute called “Time to Orchestrate the Concert of Paid Media“. This is where we stop and acknowledge the fact that PR Newswire is in the content promotion business but, biased or not, it’s a solid statement.
You can write the best content in the world. You can reveal the secrets of the universe, but it won’t matter if people can’t find your content to read it. Same old song, I know but here’s the interesting new verse; paying for content to promote content. For example; paying for a press release to promote a white paper which in turn promotes your business.
It doesn’t sound right but it’s actually a tried and true path. This very blog post is based on a white paper that I found through a paid (sort of – since it’s a press release from PR Newswire on PR Newswire) source. The study shows that 60% of successful content marketers favor white papers with blog posts coming in next at 48%.
White papers are very effective marketing tools but let me be clear here – just calling it a white paper doesn’t mean it is one. A good white paper delivers the facts about a topic along with insights from an expert (presumably the company that wrote the paper). I can write a list of states and state capitals, give it a fancy name and call it a white paper but that’s a waste of everyone’s time. I’m mentioning this because I see it happening more and more. I skim PR Newswire every day and I’m amazed by what companies are trying to pass off as helpful content. The fact that they’re paying to promote such dreck makes it even worse.
I clicked on a piece today that promised to give me insight into the mind of a holiday shopper. I expected a white paper with the survey results but found messaging saying I have to call or email to arrange an interview. The email link was a web address. The entire press release was nothing more than a wordy banner ad or landing page. That’s not content marketing that’s frantic hand-waving, hoping I’ll notice and call on you.
The PR Newswire study shows that plain old news releases are the most frequently used form of paid content promotion but it isn’t the most effective. In addition to white papers and blog posts, successful marketers also use infographics, webinars and video. 70% paid to release these items through a PR service but 80% said they were paying to promote through social channels.
If you’re in the content marketing biz or you need to convince the powers that be that you need a budget to promote content, take a look at the full white paper – it’s free. If you want a fast takeaway, here it is: instead of spending time and money writing pages and pages of new content every day, you should be spending some of that time and money promoting the content you already have.