A new survey from my friends at MarketingProfs, where I'm a contributing writer, shows most B2C marketers now use content marketing, even as they continue to be challenged by determining the effectiveness of their efforts.
Eighty-six percent said they are now using various forms of content marketing to reach consumers.
Social media and websites are the most commonly-used platforms, with 84% of respondents saying they utilize them. E-newsletters follow close behind, with 78% and online videos and blogs round out the top five at 70% and 69% respectively.
Content marketing is here to stay, but the biggest challenge, after "lack of sufficient budget," is producing enough content and creating content that engages the target audience. Just having content out there doesn't do much good if it doesn't get read or doesn't move people to take some form of action.
That's where good PR people (note, I said "good") should be utilized by marketers. It's always been a role of PR practitioners to take marketing messages and craft them into engaging content. That's what we do when we draft a news release or a feature article or a speech. When we pitch a story or segment idea, or when we script a video or write a blog post or newsletter, we've got to make it interesting enough to get read or viewed and compelling enough to help create a desired response -- buying a product or service, understanding or agreeing with a position on a issue.
PR people are trained or learn from experience to walk the fine line between the blatant, hardcore sales messages of advertising and informative unbiased journalism. It's that combination, leaning a bit toward the unbiased journalism part of the equation, that enables PR results to have a credibility that advertising usually just doesn't achieve.
So it makes sense that the PR function should be involved in the content marketing task. It should, of course, be a collaborative effort, coordinating with marketing, advertising and sales. But PR should be given a very strong, if not decisive, voice in the process to ensure the content in content marketing doesn't get diluted to the point of ineffectiveness by the other marketing and management disciplines.
It will take an enlightened and trusting top management to put such a structure into place and enforce it, but it should pay off in terms of producing and disseminating solid content that attracts attention and engages in an effective way.