It was a good pitch. Timely, tailored, and fitting for both the journalist and the publication. But the reporter didn’t respond, despite my experience, intuition and persistence.
Yet I knew it was a good story—a story with legs.
After several unsuccessful attempts, I re-worked my pitch into a blog post and published it on the company blog. The post gained traction in social media, which was the intended effect, but then something else happened: It earned links and mentions from several news outlets.
The year was 2009, and I had an epiphany that day. This new trend called content marketing had the hallmarks of a soft and subtle PR pitch. Owned media had clear implications for an earned media strategy—and beyond the conventions of just crisis communications.
The media landscape has changed
The democratization of media has had a profound impact on the influence of information on the sales cycle, according to keynote speaker and author Daniel Pink. Brands used to have a controlling influence on information about their products.
Pink’s example is the car dealership and its salespeople. It used to be that the salespeople knew far more about a vehicle than the consumer ever could. The web has obviously changed that—a few quick product searches on a mobile device leads a buyer to reviews and commentary from sources other than the brand.
Today, those sources go far beyond pricing guides like Kelley Blue Book or reviews like those in Consumer Reports. For example, a buyer can solicit instant opinions from friends on Facebook in the micro-moment before a purchase.
PR needs content marketing
Certainly, brands need content marketing, and PR can help build trust and credibility, but there is something more urgent: Communicators need content marketing....
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