The Austin Take: Following Trends to Make Content Effective

8.24.16

This past week, I had the opportunity to sit in on one of my former professor’s presentations at The University of Texas Club at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium titled, “Making Sure Content is Seen & Shared: Trends in PR and Content Marketing.” The event was geared towards communications professionals and was hosted by The Association of Women in Communications.

The presenter, Dara Quackenbush, who is now an account director with PR Newswire, explained how trends are impacting the way that content is presented from both B2C and B2B perspectives, and how its effectiveness has evolved in past years.

We live in a world that rotates on an axis of influence and communication, which becomes quite evident through the way that social media has overtaken print as the main news source for consumers. Unless you live under a rock, your life is highly influenced by social media, whether or not that thought makes you cringe. Most of us sleep with our electronic devices in the same room and most probably reach for them first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.

sleep-with-devices

With that noted, marketers and publishers must adapt to the changing consumer in where, when and how they consume content. For example, most people are usually on-the-go during the day, at which point they scan their social channels through mobile devices, however, the actual content conversion doesn’t always occur at first glance.

Mobile devices aren’t the easiest on the eyes, which brings us to the 80/20 rule, where eight out of ten people will read the headline and only two will make it to the article’s content. This explains why it’s common for readers to absorb only the “punch line,” like that of breaking news, which creates a lack of understanding in terms of content digestion (scan vs. read). We all know that one person who mentions a topic or piece of news with no substantial backing on the actual issues/cause; and how frustrating that is!

news-with-no-substantial-backing

Readers today are also very adverse to “push marketing,” which includes paid content and ads. It’s becoming more common for consumers to block this type of content and instead choose to read thought leadership articles, “pull marketing.” According to the Content Marketing Institute, readers have reported that thought leadership affected their decisions 100%, since 2014. Consumers enjoy content that is interactive and allows them to place their trust in a brand because they feel, through thought leadership content, that they are in the hands of experts. Since the highest source of traffic to B2B and B2C sites is from organic search, it makes sense that communications professionals dedicate 39% of their budget to content marketing, to create thought leadership and digital engagement.

I’ll leave y’all with some additional tips from PR Newswire on how to create a release that is more effective in securing news:

  • Dump the jargon
  • Use bullets
  • Keep it brief, 600-800 words max
  • Use quotes that sound natural
  • Include a call to action in the 1st or 2nd paragraph
  • Limit hyperlinks to 2-3 (per Google)
    • Keep those links relevant and send them deep in the site
  • Include visuals
    • Almost half of the top performing releases include visuals
    • Presently, only 86% of releases do not include visuals

multimedia-leaves-lasting-impression

What did you think of today’s Austin Take? Let us know in the comments, below!