PR Summit Recap: Top 10 Content Marketing Tips

Bateman Group’s director of content and media strategy, Scott Martin, led a panel at the PR Summit exploring why content marketing needs to be driven by big ideas. The all-star panel included John Rampton, writer at Fast Company; Drew Hendricks, writer at Forbes; and John Boitnott, contributing writer at USA Today. As a former USA Today journalist, Scott brought his expertise to the group by posing questions about the current and future state of content marketing, unveiling the top trends and best practices journalists are seeing in the field today.

Buzzfeed was a hot topic of conversation throughout the panel. With its speculated $200 million funding round and reported 160 million unique visitors last month, the site has built a powerful content platform enviable by every writer, PR pro and journalist. Whether it’s discussing the latest pop culture fad or recapping the must-know facts about foreign affairs, Buzzfeed’s catchy headlines and easily digestible list format appeal to audiences everywhere and have set the bar high for content marketing. Scott and the panelists dove into the depths of content marketing to address the burning question on all of our minds: How can content marketers emulate Buzzfeed’s success?

Key takeaways from the session included speculation about the future of Google+ (no, it’s not dead) and the requirement of content amplification programs to get the most bang for your buck. To take a closer look at what your content marketing program might be missing, here is a list of top takeaways from the session.

  1. Connect with people. Based on firsthand experience, John Rampton shared an example of how breaking news laid the groundwork for a viral campaign. When Steve Jobs died in October 2011, John built a website on Fast Company to commemorate his life which was eventually shared across social channels by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, NBC and even Apple.

  2. Be helpful. If you want to relate your company to your audience, write an amazing story that will first and foremost help your audience.

  3. Spend a third of your total time on the title. Buzzfeed writers reportedly spend 30-40% of their time writing an article on developing a catchy headline. Clearly, it works.

  4. Be a citizen of the internet. According to John Boitnott, successful content marketers will lead by example, keeping up with the latest social media sites and searching the internet for interesting and informative content.

  5. 99-1 rule. As a best practice for gaining trust and readership, write 99% about other people and 1% about yourself.

  6. Invest in content amplification. Companies spend hundreds of dollars writing posts and often neglect to put in extra time and money in social promotion. Scott cited Outbrain as a valuable way for companies to boost their content and ensure it is worth the investment.

  7. Tag your content. Aside from SEO and internet marketing best practices, aim to tag your content with 5-8 keywords to ensure people will find it.

  8. Establish credibility with Google+. Drew shared that while people might say Google+ is dead, it will ultimately influence reputation and credibility because it has the ability to link everything. He likened it to the yellow pages, in which every business and individual must have a presence in order to be searchable.

  9. Continue experimenting with new tactics. Tap into your own experience, discuss ideas with peers, investigate and always be on the lookout for the next successful tactic.

  10. Lead conversations. As John Rampton eloquently stated, “I don’t like to find customers. I like to lead conversations on social media.”