Jul 19, 2012

Leveraging Press Releases to Improve Content Marketing Results

Content marketing is one of the newest communications disciplines.  Press releases, on the other hand, are a decades-old tactic.  On a webinar held yesterday with the Content Marketing Institute, participants learned how to breathe fresh life into their press releases using content marketing tactics — and how the content the PR department creates can fit into (and even drive) a larger content marketing plan.

The webinar was moderated by Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe), founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and he was joined by:

  • Bob Canaway, Director of Marketing, Ektron @bobcanaway
  • Michael Pranikoff, Director of Emerging Media, PR Newswire @mpranikoff

When it comes to content marketing and maximizing earned media, the value of the press release is growing ever stronger. Providing an influential and engaging outlet to market one’s brand across multiple channels – as well as increase search visibility of one’s content, press releases are becoming an integral part of the marketing mix.

Michael kicked off the discussion, noting the importance of search engines and social media in the amplification of a message.  Ensuring releases are written with search engines in mind, while also including elements that are easy for social networkers to share, are two cornerstones of developing an effective press release.  A third key to success, he noted, is the inclusion of multimedia content, which drives overall online visibility and engagement with the message.

The discussion on tactics was followed by a framework offered by Bob, with an additional emphasis on measurement.  Bob encouraged listeners to “measure everything they can measure”.  As he sees it, a business outcome is a measurable activity that has a quantifiable return, and he believes that delivering relevant, consistent, and optimal content will drive successful outcomes.  At Ektron, Bob’s team uses a five step framework for their marketing communications, centered around: content, context, experience, optimization, and business outcome. In other words, if the content an organization creates in taken in the proper context by an audience, they will be inspired to experience an action.

In developing Ektron’s approach, Bob has found that the use of news releases throughout the communications process leads to improved results.  When Ektron first decided to use a news release in promoting an upcoming webinar, they saw an immediate 3% lift in registration, which continued with subsequent events.  Additionally, Ektron also noted a 30% increase in performance of one of their landing pages when they placed the content directly from a previous news release onto the page rather than writing a normal brief for the same purpose. Bob emphasized how important it was to measure the success of the use of these releases.

For access to the full discussion, please follow this link to the webinar archive: Press Releases: The Content Marketer’s Not-So-Hidden Treasure

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