Content marketing – What is it? How can you make it work for your brand?

what is content marketing

The digital age has seen everyone with an internet enabled device becoming publishers of content online. Brands too have had to move into the space where consumers are playing, consuming and engaging.

Hello – the rise of content marketing!

Content marketing involves creating and sharing entertaining online videos, blogs and social media posts that don’t explicitly promote a product or brand but with the intention to stimulate interest, engagement and conversation.

It is an effective, cost efficient way for businesses – including small businesses – to grow their brand presence, connect with their customers, increase engagement and drive sales.

Now remember… anyone and everyone can be a publisher of online content. So, there is some stiff competition for consumer attention. To cut through the clutter, get noticed by the desired target audience and inspire engagement, brands need to be relevant, engaging and entertaining. Consumers also expect good quality and consistent content from the brands they love. They are filtering what they want to see in an era when digital advertising spend has never been higher.

So how can brands ensure that they share content that adds enough value to make consumers want to see it?

Here are some things to consider:

• Consumers’ media consumption patterns are always changing and they are setting the bar higher for companies to deliver relevant, engaging and valuable content. Paid online advertising has a much lower click-through rate than organic search results and therefore it has never been more important for brands to analyze their potential customers’ behavior, where they are engaging online, and deliver relevant and targeted content on the right platforms to connect and engage with them.
• Brands should be engaging with their ‘ideal’ customers through a combination of paid, owned and earned media of which earned and owned media should be their ultimate focus. Earned media usually results when a brand produces targeted marketing content which attracts site reviews, third-party social media mentions and for instance references by journalists or social media authors. Owned media relates to a brands’ own content which is compiled and controlled by them including websites, videos, podcasts, blogs, social media pages and more.
• For most brands the challenge is to increase their earned media with key findings indicating that purchasing decisions of 93% consumers are influenced by online reviews. This is substantiated by a B2B survey indicating that consumers will most likely purchase a product or service if they are able to read a trusted review (McCabe,2018).
• The most effective way to drive the value of and engagement with earned media is to produce entertaining and relevant content that desired customers want to see, share and follow. Traditional advertising mostly focusses on the brand itself and not necessarily what potential customers care about. However, brands that successfully manages to create relevant content is reaping the rewards with increased brand advocacy and returning customers.
• Content creation is challenging for marketers. Most marketing or advertising agencies are phenomenal at producing concepts, creatives and identifying marketing channels, however they most likely don’t specialize in creating content that resonates with, rather than simply sells, to customers. Content should always put people first, focusing on what the customer wants or need. It should evoke emotion and always be authentic. This is where digital PR agencies and communications consultants play an integral role in the content marketing funnel. We believe that PR consultants should become brand journalists for their clients. Content-conscious PR consultants specialize in digital content planning and creation and know what will resonate with influencers and specific consumers.
• Content has to be objective, informative, newsworthy and relatable to your target audience and ultimately be of value to them.
• Another important challenge for brands when it comes to content marketing is being able to measure the results. Every agency focusses on different analysis but to create a successful content marketing strategy, brands must have good and measurable insights.
• Content creation is extremely time-consuming but if it is planned well, original content can be re-purposed for your customers’ other preferred channels. Social media content such as stories, tweets; blogs and short articles as well as e-newsletters are the most popular content types produced for B2B and B2C brands currently.

Brands that manage to hit the sweet spot with their content marketing have this in common: They create original and high quality content that is both entertaining and adds value to the customers with whom they want to connect. They also invest in analyzing their campaign results so that they can learn from it and evolve.

We can help you. Talk to us!

Make the most of your positive media coverage

A client recently asked me to point her to an example of a local company that strategically displays their media coverage on their website. After searching for about 30 minutes I gave up, realising that not many businesses take advantage of media coverage on their own channels, specifically on their websites.

It’s a missed opportunity, investing in public relations to generate the coverage, and then not fully utilising it for its benefits. A positive piece of media coverage in a targeted publication, written by a reputable reporter can strengthen the business’ / spokesperson’s credibility.

Public Relations is a powerful marketing tool, the benefits of positive media coverage that includes the business’ key messages are manifold. Strong content educates and creates awareness of the business or its initiatives. It can also give the business a competitive advantage and increase customer interest, conversions and new business.

Why would you not take full advantage of the hard work that’s gone into securing that great media article? When it inks or goes live, amplify it!

Boost credibility and increase your SEO value by promoting the links on your website, social media, newsletters and email signature. You can also use it in business proposals and presentations, share it with stakeholders and repurpose for further use.

Consult your PR / website / marketing / digital marketing team about potential options such as the ones mentioned above to maximise your return on investment.

Going fishing.. What’s not to love about PR?


The topic ‘career satisfaction’ often comes up in a social setting with friends. When the ‘are you happy with your job’ question comes up, I really don’t need to think about it, the answer is always ‘absolutely’. Usually what then follows is ‘why?’

I studied public relations and pretty much worked in a fast-paced agency environment since graduation, so I wouldn’t really know what another professional career could offer, but I don’t care.

What’s not to love about public relations? It fits my personality, fuels my passion and never gets boring. I always smile when people ask me ‘what do you do?’ while observing the look on their faces as they try to figure out exactly what a PR person does. I even think my lovely dad still doesn’t fully understand, after explaining it about a million times.

I won’t bore you with the definition. Instead, I came up with a way to explain my passion for the career in a social setting that is more relatable, and one that now even my dad gets.

For me, public relations is like fishing, and I absolutely love fishing!

Landing a positive media story for a client is like catching a marlin. But first you need the right bait (information from client), then you need to rig it up carefully (draft a good, targeted pitch for the right reporter) cast the bait and wait, hoping the story is a fit. When you receive positive feedback from the reporter the feeling is beyond rewarding, knowing you are able to help a client meet some of their business objectives. And when the coverage inks, it’s celebrating ‘the one that didn’t get away!’

My point is, when I can’t go actual fishing, my career resembles an activity I thoroughly enjoy. And I can think of so many other ways to compare my day-to-day activities to other things I favour such as mingling with and meeting new people, constantly learning new things and being able to make a difference. Fingers crossed I get to do it for many more years before a robot takes over, but that’s a story for another day (imagine explaining that one to my dad).

International communications agency rises…

Introducing The Mail Room Communications

The decisions of two close friends in different parts of the world has resulted in the creation of a multinational full service public relations agency.

The Mail Room Communications got its start in South Africa in 2006 with founding director Azelle Evans; her friend Leandri Smith simultaneously started up PR Republic, eventually selling that business and emigrating to New Zealand.

The associates have put their heads together to create a ‘multinational The Mail Room Communications’, with operations and offices in each of the three Southern Hemisphere countries. Smith, who upon arrival in New Zealand in 2011 spent four years as an account director at Pead PR, subsequently started and ran a Kiwi version of her successful South African business, also named PR Republic.

“Azelle and I had the brainwave of creating one international agency instead. After all, many clients operate across South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. That means we have a point of difference, with media contacts and first-hand knowledge of each of these markets. They may have commonalities, but they also have unique features.”

The New Zealand PR Republic, Smith confirms, merges into The Mail Room Communications, with clients including LayerX – vGRID, NZGBC, McLeod Duminy, North Port Events – Facilities Integrate, Fairway Bay and SPCA Blue Tick. Evans says Mail Room Communications SA has several multinational clients including Canon, EA and Sun International.

“We’re going to build on this client portfolio in all three countries to create a multinational PR and integrated communications agency which is capable of supporting the growth ambitions of our clients.”

She adds that working with an agency which has ‘feet on the ground’ in key geographies presents its clients with potential opportunities to collaborate on creative campaigns. “We can apply international knowledge and expertise along with local insight where required. And by merging with Leandri’s already successful Kiwi business, The Mail Room hits the ground running, with a proven track record as a group.”

Smith has already rebranded PR Republic NZ to The Mail Room Communications, but the official launch of the multinational group and its associated commercial arrangements is scheduled for December 2017. Smith will serve as New Zealand director, with Evans acting as Australia and South Africa director.

“It makes sense to have a presence in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We’re going to build on the current success of both businesses and launch Australia with a strong drive to get all three branches running successfully. And who knows where it will go from there.”