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In an ideal world, every PR professional would have the time and/or budget to create an endless stream of high-quality, targeted content. Sadly, this world, the real one, is far from ideal. Limited budgets, conflicting priorities, and the ups and downs of managing a brand’s image on a daily basis make content creation a major challenge for most organizations. Prioritization is essential if you are going to produce content that impacts your business goals.
You may have been hoping that this blog would simply say that the top 3 best pieces of content are; an eBook, a video, and a case study (or any other similar list of content types), but that’s not really how I look at it. Form is an important aspect of content development, for sure, but what matters far more is function. That’s why, in my view, these are the most important pieces of content.
1 – Content that addresses a current, compelling need
Content can help solve business problems. Let’s say, for example, that your sales people are losing deals at the very end of the sales cycle. After some win/loss analysis, it is determined that prospects like what you have to offer, but don’t trust that you can deliver. In that case, the most important content you can create is content that solidifies that trust. It might be customer case studies, expert analysis, or industry award announcements.
Content can be applied to any number of needs. Website visits not converting to leads? Produce something, perhaps a survey or analyst report, that will make filling out the form seem like a good trade.
2 – Content that will get shared
Content that people see because a friend or colleague shared it instantly gets more credibility than anything they might receive directly from the brand. You don’t need to produce the next Gangnam Style, but it is great if you can create something that will be shared by and with people in your target market, especially key influencers.
How do you know what will get shared? Look at what has worked well for you in the past, check sites like Buzzsumu to see what’s trending. Analyze your competitor's social impact, and look to adjacent markets for insight. It may be a video, an infographic, or a single image, the data should give you some pretty strong clues.
3 – Content that supports earned media efforts
Although PR is about a lot more than earned media, having others tell your brand’s story is still enormously valuable and an important part of your job. Most journalists are overwhelmed with pitches and press releases (while still not dead) are a dime a dozen. The right content can help your pitch make it to the top of the pile.
Think about how you can make the writer’s job easier. Perhaps a graphic that shows the history of an important trend in your industry, or maybe a video of a customer describing a difficult challenge that many in the reporter’s audience are likely to have. The best content for this purpose isn’t solely focused on your brand. It is instead in line with what the media contact’s readers will want to learn.
Of course, almost every piece of content you create for any of these reasons can be repurposed into many formats. An infographic can form the basis of a blog. An eBook makes a great Slide Share presentation.
The best content is content that aligns with your needs and gets you the desired business results. These are three key areas where you can have a serious impact.