6 Ways to Use Content Marketing for Public Relations

Back in 2002, we were retained to do public relations for a mid-sized customer relationship management (CRM) software company. The head of public relations said, “We have a good problem. I’ve got over 30 case studies sitting on our shelf and don’t know what to do with them.” I asked him if I could take a look at them and find opportunities to pitch horizontal and vertical industry publications. Together, we secured a lot press for the pre-IPO darling. What does this have to do with content marketing for public relations? Can you imagine having that same “good problem” today? The whole strategy would be different. It’s a 2014 public relations professional’s dream… So, what would I do with all of those case studies today? Here’s some ideas:

Turn Case Studies into Blog Posts

If you’ve got 30 or even 1 case study sitting on your shelf, I recommend re-purposing as a blog post. You can either leave in the name of the customer/client – with their advance permission – or take it out and focus only on the story. Sometimes what you did for a customer/client can be as compelling as who you did it for. By turning a case study into a blog post, you can also enrich your search engine optimization (SEO) with a focused keyword phrase, headlines which call out the nature of the program and a link to your product or services page. You may even have a video or whitepaper on the related subject to share – more SEO goodness!

Pitch Case Studies to Reporters (with or without mentioning the name of your client)

You (and your PR agency) have a solid understanding of your business landscape and who’s covering it. There’s a host of opportunities you can execute with previously created content (with or without your customer/client name). Public relations professionals will often scour the web for related stories and pitch the use of a case study to be a part of a future story. Pros will also study editorial calendars of horizontal and vertical publications to find out if the category (ie. supply chain management) or the client (ie. CRM company, etc.) fit into one of the upcoming features and pitch the appropriate editor. PR firms additionally layout the last 3-5 articles of a journalist to try and predict what’s next on the horizon and look into the case study vault to see if there’s angle that will fit into an emerging trend story.

Share Case Studies on Social Media

Once the case study is online or a blog post, it’s ready to be shared socially. Executives often have inlayed SlideShare presentations into blog posts, which have incredible SEO value. But, the key isn’t to just tweet out the latest and greatest blog post. Try to incorporate the use case into live conversations using hashtags, tagging other people / orgs or posting within a group, if allowed. Assuming that the case study is more information and educational vs. promotional for your company, then it may be fodder for others to use in their social programs.

Use Case Studies in Email Marketing

Typically I don’t see this kind of marketing unless a company has reached a milestone (ie. quarterly results, end of year, New Year, etc.) However, don’t be humble. If you’ve hit a mark and are able to talk about it, create a segmented email list (ie. business process management) and report on your latest related successes as it may kick-start a conversation with a potential customer, partner or investor who gets the e-mail forwarded to them from someone on your list. Or, if you have enough case studies, news or other information, you can create a regular e-mail, if you haven’t already. Do some A/B testing to find out what style and content works best, get feedback and get into those inboxes.

Create Landing Pages for Case Studies

I don’t see this done enough. If you’ve written a case study and it’s on your website, why not have a landing page which includes more information about the benefits of the use case as well as a contact form. Maybe the landing page can contain whitepapers and videos too. The more information you provide your prospect, the better informed they’ll be about what they want to get from you, not to forget that the case study linking to the landing page counts toward greater SEO. You can even use online landing page software to give yourself a head-start.

Draft Case Studies into Contributed Articles

I’ve saved the best for last. There’s so much to glean from a case study. Not only does the story evolve for how you solved a customer’s problem, if you can mention the customer’s name, but there’s methodology behind what you did, how you’re positioned, etc. Within one case study, I imagine there could be a few contributed articles that could be broken out of that one story. For example, if you’re a data analytics vendor that implemented real-time analytics for a client, maybe you can write an article on the subject as it would fit within the writer’s guidelines of a target publication.

There’s a ton of value that start-ups and mid-sized companies can get from using content marketing for public relations.