Massively increase your audience, boost engagement – and don’t pay a penny

Think like a publisher to access free media opportunities

Content marketing can serve different purposes. It may be the incentive for a lead generation campaign. It may be driving SEO, or it may be positioning a product or service in a favourable way: building brand capital.

Whatever the case, there is an expectation that distribution of the content will either be on a brand’s own website, email, social etc, or will be paid.

There is another option that can be cheaper and more effective but demands insight and real editorial skill.

Media outlets are desperate for content

Times are tough for media owners around the globe. Print media that operates on the ad revenue and/or cover price model is generally suffering most. Some digital outlets are thriving but many are also struggling to find the revenue to pay for the content that fills their sites.

Content marketers must take some of the blame for this. We’ve been creating free-to-access text and video that we can control – and the investment we’ve put into content has often come from ad budgets.

Some media sites have turned to native advertising to replace this lost revenue. This suits some brands but unless it’s done really well can leave the consumer with a nasty taste in the mouth, as though they’ve been duped.

Websites and magazines are faced with a problem. If they fill their pages with paid-for, promotional content their readers will leave. They need proper, quality content that is objective, insightful and well-written – but they don’t have the revenue to pay for it.

Quality content marketing to the rescue

This is where content marketers who really understand the media and editorial landscape can make their play. They offer a regular stream of quality content that is entirely free of product placement and marketing puff. They deliver it in a tightly subbed and error free format. They may even source images. In return, the media site gives a by-line to their writer and a link to their site.

This, crucially, is not PR. You are not sending out press releases and then chasing busy editorial staff to see if they will be published. The content marketer must develop a relationship with the editorial team to understand what is required. It may be opinion pieces or industry insight. It could be special reports or features on new trends. Perhaps there is a regular pitching process where ideas are sent in for consideration.

None of this is easy. The content marketing team needs the support of the wider business to identify the individuals who should be put in the media spotlight.

There is the challenge of ideation and then the writing process itself. It may be that some form of ghost-writing is best. An expert journalist interviewing the in-house expert and then producing an article for further amendment can be a sensible option.

That’s certainly the route chosen by some Content Cloud clients who use the platform to find writers with specialist B2B knowledge.

Distribution and impact

In return for all this hard work your brand is benefiting from greater distribution and the prestige that comes with straight editorial as opposed to paid promotion. You’ll be developing a relationship with the media channel that is likely to come back to you for quotes and further beneficial coverage.

If it sounds like excessive effort, ask yourself this: shouldn’t you always be aiming to create content that is good enough to be published in the pages of a leading industry magazine or website. Is that not an indicator of quality?

Perhaps there is a good reason that your content is not suitable for third-party publication. Or perhaps there is scope to reset the quality bar for all the content you produce.

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