Why does my content marketing suck? | THINK PR Espresso

I read a piece over the weekend called ‘Why content marketing sucks?‘ and it made me mad. The author makes the point in the piece that content marketing doesn’t suck – she just used the title to get people to read her post.

The irony is that she’s demonstrating, perfectly, the reason that most content marketing sucks. Badly.

The problem is that the action/outcome appears to be to get people to read something, rather than anything that is of value to the individual or business. A link-bait title also sets unrealistic expectations and, invariably, disappoints the reader. How do you feel when somebody wastes your time? How would you feel if somebody hooked you with a sign outside their store offering a 50% discount, only for you to find that once in the store there was no discount, it was simply a tactic to get you in the store?

How likely would you be to do business with a company that operated in that way?

Startup and SmallBiz PR and marketing tip: If you want to improve the quality and effectiveness of your content marketing don’t chase anybody that is willing to click a link. Focus on the people that are likely to become your customers and provide them with valuable content. You might find that when you ask them to take an action – whether it is to share something, buy something or tell others like them about you – they’ll be far more likely to agree.

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Smart PR is Effective PR

Public Relations Espresso

I’ve read a few articles in recent days about smart PR and marketing, including this one by Jackie Nagel on ‘The New Normal‘.  Smart PR and marketing is, to my mind, effective PR & marketing – it delivers the right message to the right audience at the right time in order to achieve the desired outcome.  In the case of public relations it is to build and sustain a mutually beneficial relationship; with marketing it is to get the audience to take action on your behalf, because they want to.

I gave a presentation at the end of last year that looked at why the traditional – media-centric approach to PR is, if it ever was, no longer smart.  Take a daily publication with a circulation of 300,000 per week and apply the direct marketing 5% rule and you find that you are actually talking with about 7.5 people.  This is without factoring in the added complexity that your target audience may read the paper on a day that you’re not in it.

Apply the same rule to a website with a similar weekly audience but with a 15 minute news cycle and you can see the chances of you getting in front of your target audience with editorial coverage is even more unlikely.

I’m not saying nobody will see it.  Neither am I saying that nobody will click the link or Google you.  But how many of those people are likely to be become your customer, or make the investment you’re seeking?  Sure, it could happen – but I could also win the lottery this week.

Smart PR and marketing takes a different approach.  It identifies the audience, understands why they might be interested in your company or product.  It works out what you need to say to them to start a conversation that gives you the opportunity to influence them – whether it is investing in your business, buying your product or telling somebody they know about you.  It understands what the right time to start the conversation is – for them.  Too many PR and marketing programs assume, incorrectly, that the right time is when they are ready.  Smart PR and marketing also understands that the delivery channel is critical to getting the outcome you want – and that, in many cases, social media is not the right one.

Still not sold on smart PR or marketing?  Ask yourself how many planes you’d be prepared to get on in order to get to your intended destination?  How many randomly dialled telephone calls would you make to try to find the person you wanted to talk with? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But that’s what the majority of companies do with their PR and marketing every day.

If your business deserves smart PR and marketing give me a call on 647.773.2677 or email me at lyndon@thinkdifferently.ca We’ll help you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time and using the right delivery mechanism.

Online communities or fiefdoms?

Public Relations Espresso

Today on the THINK PR Espresso I’m pondering the curious world we live in – one lived largely online and where conversations are started… as long as it is OK with the community owner or moderator.  An experience today left me scratching my head and wondering whether we’re creating online communities or whether they are actually just fiefdoms.

Listen to my experience and you decide.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

What Use Is Hype

The common belief is that the more you hype something the more attractive it becomes to your target audience.  The truth is that the more you hype the less believable your claims become and the higher you set expectations, the more likely it is that you will fall short.

The 80:20 Rule of PR & Marketing

PR Espresso, Public Relations Espresso, THINK DIFFERENT [LY], PR for Entrepreneurs

You know the 80:20 rule, right?  80 percent of your new business comes from 20 percent of your customer-base – so why do the majority of companies not spend the same proportion of their marketing energy, resources and budget on one-fifth of their customers and audience-base?

10 Things PR Agencies Don’t Tell Startups & Smallbiz


Public relations can help an entrepreneur grow their business – but there are often huge barriers to entry.  Retainers are expensive, it is often unclear what a PR agency does, and many small businesses don’t feel they’ve the outcomes they wanted from public relations.

Here are ten things you should know before hiring a PR agency for your startup or small business.

1. If the first question an agency asks is, ‘what’s your budget?’ keep looking.

2. PR is about more than just media relations.  Most agencies sell media pitching services [publicity] and call it public relations.  If they don’t understand the fundamentals of public relations and are unlikely to be able to help you build the relationships you need to grow your business.

3.You don’t have to pay for a retainer.  Public relations programs should ebb and flow in parallel with your business and a retainer is simply a revenue guarantee for the agency.

4. Understand what you want the outcomes of a PR program to be. Set commercial objectives, not just hard to measure ‘awareness’ or ‘coverage’ or, the PR agency favourite, thought-leadership!

5. Expect to do some ground work before you do any outbound PR work.  Defining your audiences, fine-tuning your value proposition, getting the message right and figuring out the best way to deliver it are key pieces of an effective PR program.

6. The value of a public relations professional is in the advice you get, not in the activity done on your behalf. Most agencies charge based on the volume of activity they do, not on the quality of the advice they give.

7. PR is about more than just media relations.  Most agencies sell media pitching services [publicity] and call it public relations.  If they don’t understand the fundamentals of public relations and are unlikely to be able to help you build the relationships you need to grow your business.

8. You should be doing your own media outreach. Public relations is a strategic process of building relationships and if somebody else does your media work THEY have the relationships.

Journalists would also much rather to talk with you than a paid spokesperson. Hiring a PR agency often puts another barrier between you and the people who will help you grow your business.

9. Public relations should be something that touches all parts of your business – from sales to marketing, customer service to front of house.

10. Less is, often, more.  Quality always tops quantity and an effective PR plan will deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time and using the right delivery mechanism.

Also, review what you’re doing regularly.  Public relations agencies traditionally do annual reviews but in today’s real-time internet world you should be reviewing your PR plan at least every 30 days. It will enable you to make small tweaks and changes that will increase its effectiveness.

Building relationships

Steve Balmer says that the Startup community has a cultural problem.  Commenting at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford he said that there is an, incorrect, expectation that success and failure come quickly. The same is true for using public relations to build relationships.  Those that are patient and persevere, however, are more likely to build a sustainable business.