It’s a rare window of opportunity: the unpredictable hand of PR fate and timing many of us may only encounter a few times in our careers (sniff). The journalist from your primary target publication, coveted and read from cover to cover by all your would-be customers has called for a chat about a 400-word-sized editorial space they need to fill and…they’re open to suggestions!
You’ve got the perfect story: not too salesy, not too empty, not too cliched…and you can meet the deadline because you have the content ready to go, already approved by the upper echelons. It’s PR nirvana.
But doh! You fluff the sell-in. You email the journalist (along with a few others, coz two birds and one stone, you know) and give them a showreel on how not to use hyperbole – what a super, smashing great idea right? Ahem, well, no.
It seems obvious but getting the sell-in right can take some doing.
Whether you’re an in-house marketer, from an out-house agency or you’re a small business owner, the following tips will help you with some successful story selling:
Don’t email. Use the phone. If, unlike the example above (and let’s be truthful, an unlikely everyday scenario) there’s no phone call from a journalist with a magical space to fill, you have to be proactive with a sell-in. And there’s nothing that says pro-activity less than a snoozy, impersonal email. Don’t waste time crafting the perfect message. Get to the point with a call, it’s direct, less time-consuming and allows both to respond to more subtle inferences. Speaking to people builds relationships better, faster and stronger.
Have a look at other stories in your target publication that have been written recently. If you want to pitch a story on ‘predictions for automation in warehousing for 2018’ and there’s just been a feature published on the ‘impact of automation in warehousing’, chances are you’re too late with the idea. Go back to the drawing board and look at a fresh angle, there’s nothing more cringeworthy than selling in an ‘exclusive’ that was written two weeks ago. Reading target publications regularly will develop an instinctive feel for the direction of key areas of interest, allowing you to predict with more accuracy where and how to pitch forthcoming article ideas.
Be enthusiastic. Not just about your story but about your company. Have you ever listened to a story told by someone who is passionate? Even if you don’t share their passion, the enthusiasm is contagious and although it may not secure you the article right now, it’s goes a long way in priming that relationship for a future pitch.
Get rid of the robin. The round robin, that is. No one likes to feel like a number and neither do journalists. There’s a time and a place for a distribution list when numbers count, but for quality content it spells desperation and lack of thought to a journalist.
If, like many, you’re a fool for a DIY program and the curious but genuine satisfaction that comes watching grey damp walls transform into magnificent magnolia in 60 minutes, then you may just be a natural when it comes to repurposing content. The similarity lies in the ability and keenness to breathe new life into something and turn it into profit. Or perhaps you just like making profit.
Either way, if you or your company have an interesting article, video or blog that has already proved popular, instead of uninspiringly hitting the share button on social media, try to be a little more canny with your content.
Fit for repurpose?
Begin by assessing the original aims of your piece of content when it was first used and what you now want to achieve with it. The secondary purpose may be to target a new type of customer, to engage with customers in a particular part of the buying process or it may be to generate more overall awareness of your products and services. You may choose to do this by converting an eBook into an article, a screencast into a slideshare or a blog into a vlog. It’s a simple principle, but there are some pitfalls to watch out for.
Repurpose don’t resurface
Editing content is fine if you need to update a name or add in a few new details but repurposing means you are recreating the rationale behind your content and appealing to a different set of ears than before. Think about what this new audience wants to hear and how they want to hear it.
Levels of customer knowledge can also affect the way you craft your content. For example, a knowledgeable customer will overlook content that is obvious and well-versed, while some-one new to the types of products you sell, will appreciate the simplicity of a straightforward how-to blog, for example.
Consuming bitesize information is a typical behavior at the start of customers’ journeys. A stage when they haven’t yet bought from you but are learning more about the industry and the products you offer. Lighter information, like a 300-word top tips piece or an infographic are therefore going to work better than an intricate 1000-word whitepaper. As customers become more familiar and knowledgeable with your offerings, it is time to repurpose that content, using it as basis for a more detailed approach that will help and inform your pro-spects and ultimately convert them to a customer.
Don’t forgo the SEO
Search engine optimisation is arguably one of the main reasons companies look to repurpose their content; it helps to build and maintain a regular online presence and increases visibility in search engines, often to a whole new audience.
In a constantly fluctuating world, the relevance of content can quickly change and topics that are relevant today, might not be tomorrow. The main mistake to avoid with repurposing content for SEO is to ensure no duplicate content is published. Duplicate content is material that is very similar or a match of previously published content, using this will result in a lower page rank.
Remember, whatever the reason for repurposing, when choosing the right content, opt for the strongest piece you have, the one that achieved the most positive interaction. Keep it high quality and make sure you have a clear objective for all your repurposing activity.