There are two ways you get covered in the media- you do the right things which capture the right people’s attention.

Or voila! You get ‘discovered’.

In a perfect world, it would always be the latter. But in the real one that we live in, success lies in finding the golden middle that lies between both those paths.

Your brand is no longer what you tell your consumers it is. At least, it’s not only that. Your brand is built up of:

  • What you tell your consumers- Content Marketing
  • What those who matter tell them it is- Influencer Marketing
  • What they tell each other- Social Media Marketing

 

Your brand’s perception lies at the point where the three of them converge. Identifying that sweet spot for your brand is what new age marketing is all about.

Every opinion counts

With the coming of the internet, every laptop/ tablet wielding person is a potential writer, capable of ‘making or breaking’ your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing has been the most valued form of marketing since forever, but the proliferation of social media has made it even more pervasive.

A study on the impact of WOM marketing by Nielsen in the year 2012, stated that online consumer opinions are the second most trusted source when it comes to word-of-mouth with 70% of respondents agreeing that they consider it a valuable source of opinion. Recommendations from friends and family topped the list with 92% of respondents stating that they trusted them the most. Product forums and customer testimonials have become the new sales tools for the modern marketer who is targeting the ‘new age ubiquitous customer’ who knows where to go to get an honest opinion.

Digital marketing has made the internet the new canvas on which every new blog post, online review and tutorial video is another swish of colour. The point though, is that you aren’t the only one painting your canvas.

The rise of the online influencer

Recent research on the impact influencers can have on amplifying content suggested that getting a post shared by an influencer increased chances of social sharing by 31.8%. Getting 5 influencers to share it, quadrupled that effect.

Those are some pretty great numbers for someone who is yet to be convinced about the impact influencers can have on marketing. Just imagine if that content was not only shared, but written by an influencer.

Now we’re talking PR.

Getting featured by an influencer opens up your brand to their network of followers, increasing chances of adoption. A recent infographic released by The Shelf, states that blogs are the third most frequented consumer decision tool while considering a potential purchase. With 65% of brands participating in some form of influencer marketing, it’s clear that marketers have realised the merit in getting written about by those that matter, rather than just relying on in-house content.
The challenge for brands is to identify who their top influencers are, who command the largest circles of influence and liaison with them to take the message to the audience at large.

Amplify what you’ve ‘earned’

When you write about how your new feature is going to ‘revolutionise the market and change the way we work’, the chances that a reader takes your word for it are quite unlikely. Now imagine getting that kind of a compliment from someone else- a blogger, tech-magazine or a recognized online community.

Seems like reason enough to gloat, doesn’t it?

And rightfully so. Monitoring your mentions isn’t just about figuring out how well your PR strategy is working out or identifying the influencers that matter, it’s also about finding those mentions and distributing them effectively to spread the good word about your brand. Your content distribution strategy doesn’t end at distributing your own content. That’s where it begins. To validate your claims and to earn the trust of the consumer- identify and amplify your earned content. It acts as a double harness, adding credibility to your brand.

Are they really different?

So the question really is this- are content marketing and PR really different?

To be honest, they are. But with marketing as we see it today, a partial view that ignores either one tells only half the story.

In order to reach your audience effectively you need to interject yourself at the point where both of them meet. You need to take into account what you’re saying about yourself, and compare that with what others are saying about you.

There was a time when brands spoke, and consumers listened. Today however, consumers speak- through customer reviews, product upvotes, tweets, conversations and a countless other methods. If brands aim to capture some of that mind share, it’s time they stopped focussing solely on what to say.

It’s time they sat up and listened.