Four Ways to Repurpose Content For Social Media

Four Ways to Repurpose Content For Social Media

Frequency and consistency are vital to growing a social media presence organically. However, even the most creative people run out of content ideas sometimes. So if you’re unsure what to post, we have good news: the ideas are within reach. The content you’ve already shared online took time and energy, so why not give it another boost? You can ignite your creative spark again by reviving older content, but with a new spin. 

Today we’ll outline easy ways to create new content from old blog posts, photos, interviews, etc. By doing so, you won’t skip a beat with your posting strategy, and you’ll breathe new life into the content you’ve previously shared. 


How to Create Repurposed Social Media Content 

Adding creative flair to existing media is easier than you think. You just need the right formula. Below are four types of effective social media content and examples of using each one. 


Video and Audio Snippets

What you have: Video interview

How you can use it: Review the interview and note any timestamps that are funny, educational, inspiring, or impactful in a way that aligns with your brand. Timestamps generally should be no more than one minute long. Videos between 15 seconds and 60 seconds are ideal because they are more likely to keep the viewer’s attention, and they work well across all platforms. As a rule of thumb, aim to grab at least one snippet for every 10 minutes of the video. When you’ve trimmed each clip to its designated timestamp, format the video clips so that they are optimized for the platform you’re using. For example, vertical videos (9:16 aspect ratio) are recommended for Instagram Reels and TikTok. Meanwhile, horizontal (16:9 aspect ratio) or square videos are best for native videos on LinkedIn or Twitter.

What you have: Podcast episode (audio only)

How you can use it: This is similar to pulling video snippets, but of course, without the video. In cases where you only have an audio file, you’ll need to create a video file (.mp4) that includes the audio sound bite with an image overlay. In most cases, podcasts typically have a cover image you can use. Same as above, format the .mp4 file to optimize it for the platform. Square video is the most straightforward when using a podcast image, but you can also get creative with vertical videos. You’ll see a screenshot example of an Instagram Reel soundbite we used to promote our PR Talk episode with Emmy Thomas, VP of Brand and Marketing at Logical Position. It shows how the square podcast image sits on top of an animated wave background.

What you have: Blog post

How you can use it: Summarizing the points from an earlier blog post, you, your client, or a team member can record a quick video to share on social media. Video production on social media has come a long way, but you’re camera-ready as long as you have a clean phone camera and a well-lit space. Then, post the video and direct them to the blog URL to learn more. Below is an example of a short video by Veracity’s Cailyn Tegel from her blog post “Four Tips for Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Headline.”


Quotes and Infographics

What you have: Blog post, interview, inspirational or educational video, podcast episode

How you can use it: Even in busy newsfeeds, the right quote will grab attention. Quotes can come from a blog post, interview, or really any form of relevant media. When choosing a quote, you’re looking for impact—one that will resonate meaningfully with your audience. 


What you have: Blog post

How you can use it: A well-written blog post is a wealth of information. From research data to how-to tips, it can all be turned into an infographic for social media. While tall infographics have their place (more on that later), square images are a reliable choice across platforms. You can also opt for a horizontal image to share on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re posting to Instagram, consider creating a carousel post where users can swipe to learn more information. Below are a few examples of simple yet effective infographics we’ve developed from previous blog posts.

If you’re still finding your footing with brand and design, use Canva’s library of templates to get you started. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to find a design that suits your content. Next, just customize the colors and fonts to make it your own. 



What you have: Previously posted photo

How you can use it: A high-quality photo doesn’t need to be retired the moment you post it. In the right context, you can certainly share it again. The key is timeliness. Photos with a post caption relevant to an observance or current event have a higher chance of engagement, perhaps even higher than the first time you posted it. When choosing a photo to reshare, you just want to make sure that the same photos are not too close together in your feed. 


Downloadable Resources

What you have: Blog posts

How you can use it: There are actually multiple marketing benefits to creating downloadable resources from blog posts. First, it’s content you can regularly promote on social media with a few images or graphics on rotation; second, it’s a fresh way to promote the original content; and third, you can capture downloaders’ email addresses to grow your contact list for email marketing campaigns. Here are three ideas of downloadable PDF resources you can create:

  1. Tall Infographic: While social media infographics offer a short summary or highlight a point or piece of data, vertical infographics combine images and copy to map out a complete concept. The standard size of these designs are 800 x 2000 px, and they are a visual representation of a full blog post.
  2. Ebook: Compile some of your highest-performing blog posts into an ebook. With a bit of editing and re-formatting, you can create a “Complete Guide” to a topic of your expertise. 
  3. Fillable Template: Take how-to blog posts a step further by creating a fillable template readers can use for their own efforts. For example, in our post, “Planning Your Content Marketing,” we also offer a free Content Master Plan template available for download. Below is one of the graphics we created to promote it on social media.


Stop Spinning Your Wheels

When it comes to your social media content strategy, it pays to “work smarter, not harder.” Repurposing older content in a new, relevant way allows you to stay consistent and reinforce your brand’s message. So if you’re feeling stuck, look no further. Your next idea is already waiting for you. 

What To Do After You Get Press

What To Do After You Get Press


I wrote this post originally back in 2016 and (not) surprisingly it hasn’t had many views since 2017 so I thought I would update it for 2021. But you know what? I really don’t need to do too much to bring it up to date. A lot of the points made still hold, but here we go!

Four Things to Do After You Get Press

We (still) do a lot of pitching…I mean a lot! But our job and our clients’ job is not done when a story lands or we get a guest post/article placed. Now we need to promote that story, segment, or article. Not only internally, but let’s leverage our professional and personal networks, coworkers, employees, influencers and other partners. Media placements and thought leadership pieces provide 3rd party credibility and it is powerful. Spread the love.

I’ll break it down into four promotional categories: external, internal, partner and paid. The tactics cross over and can be redundant, but use your best judgment and create a documented, repeatable process.


External Promotion

Third party endorsements (the media) can be a great sales tool. Use media coverage in your sales promotions and advertising campaigns. Add a section to your email newsletters if you get consistent media exposure or add stories on a one-off basis.

Let other media outlets know about the coverage. For example, Logical Position landed on Inc. Magazine’s list of Fastest Private Companies. Making sure the local media knows can garner additional exposure, like this inclusion in the Portland Business Journal post.

Add to your website “as featured in” or “as seen on” verbiage. P3 Cost Analysts does this well, it doesn’t work for everyone. I can’t picture an “as seen on” section for brands like Lego or the Trail Blazers.

P3 Cost Analysts

Social Media

Share with your social networks, link to the article, tweet from the post…you can do this more than once (assuming you are at least relatively active).

Example social sharing timeline from Kissmetrics

Example social sharing schedule from Kissmetrics

When you’re sharing the link, be sure to mention and tag the publication and journalist as appropriate. Also, look for other social mentions to share. Did the publisher share on their various social networks? What about the author? Find these mentions and make sure to “like,” “share” and comment as appropriate (if you are the author of the article, be sure to answer any questions asked in the comments). Comment directly on the post, encourage your employees and/or fans to comment and share.

Veracity on Convince & Convert

Tag and mention the writer, publisher and contributors when sharing.

Not only will this further the exposure of the article you are sharing, but you can also use the engagement metrics to give credibility for the next pitch.

Internal Promotion

Have a plan for each of your internal channels to promote media successes including:

Email (or Slack, Facebook/LinkedIn groups, whatever you use to communicate internally)

Do you have a company-wide email list or specific members of your team that should know? They might be aware of the mention and would love to easily share. Make sharing it super easy for them, whether it’s a simple forward of the email or providing sample posts/tweets or social share options.


Mention the coverage at department meetings! Heck, frame the coverage and display it in your office (or Zoom background)! If you put coverage in your public reception area, it gives your visitors a chance to see how amazing you are without you actually having to tell them.

Blog Post

You may even want to write a blog post about the hit. Your marketing team did a lot of work — whether that involved a press release, email pitch, research, visual creation, etc. — to land the story. Use that content to write a blog post that goes more in-depth or features your point of view.

You can also include a mention and link within a post about another topic like I’ve done with an article on Convince & Convert in this very post.

News/Media Section

If you have a media or news section on your website (you should!), add the new hit to it (don’t forget the link). Spend a little time making it look really good, as it can be used as a nice sales piece.

Partner Promotion

Are other businesses mentioned in the story? Make sure they know about it and ask them to share via their marketing channels. Be sure to include a link to the story, along with any images and social profile links you’d like to have included. A simple email will typically do the trick. Even if you don’t already have a contact at the “partner” company, you can reach out. They very well may not even know about their inclusion in the piece and will be more than happy to give it a little boost. For example, here’s a quick email we used that resulted in a Tweet, Facebook post and LinkedIn share:

Hi, just wanted to let you know about the following post that features (and links to) Moxi Works.


Feel free to share as you see fit :), if you do share via social media, please feel free to tag Windermere Stellar on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn.

Share with trade, community or other business associations you are involved with. Many industry trade groups have email newsletters and social channels that are continuously looking for content and ways to appease their members.

The Convince & Convert hit mentioned above was written on behalf of SEMpdx and included case study examples from Webfor and Webranking. A post like that has at least four organizations and three people interested in seeing additional exposure.

SEMpdx Convince & Convert Post

Your extra effort will have a cumulative effect driving more exposure to the coverage.

The media also uses a variation of the formulas above for promoting their content, so sharing — and making sure your partners share too — will get you more exposure. Using the post example above from Convince & Convert, you can start to pile on the exposure by getting in their email newsletters, recap posts and more.

Paid Promotion

Specific sales goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) should be attached to your PR efforts. That doesn’t stop once the story lands. PR is effective because it isn’t paid advertising (remember that 3rd party accreditation). But we can invest some budget in making sure that an article gets to a broader market.

Dennis Yu spoke at an SEMpdx event sharing his “dollar a day” approach to leverage your exposure with a limited budget and additional effort. His method is to spend a little bit every day to reach a broad audience and “influence the influencers.”

To review, spending some time, and potentially budget, to get the story you worked so hard to land in front of more people will bring additional success to your marketing campaigns. It will also provide some great talking points in that next media pitch where you can point out all the places that your article was shared, liked and promoted. Create a documented, repeatable process for what to do once you get that hit.

header image via Unsplash
How to Win the Conversation Through Content Marketing and Public Relations Partnerships

How to Win the Conversation Through Content Marketing and Public Relations Partnerships

Humans have become content generating machines as access to the internet has grown. By one estimate, humans created 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day in 2018. On YouTube alone, creators upload more than 500 hours of new content every minute. Whether through beautiful photographs, insightful podcasts or a witty Twitter thread, nearly everyone turns to the internet when they want to have their say.

The corporate world is no different. Most organizations must have a competent and authentic online presence to reach their target audience and convert them into customers. This inherent need is why content marketing has become the leading outreach strategy for businesses of all different stripes. By participating in the ongoing online conversation, organizations can meet potential customers in the one place everyone visits all the time.

But the internet’s ubiquity also makes it difficult for some messages to breakthrough. So how do you compete with all that online noise to make your voice stand out?


Collaborate to Succeed

In many organizations, public relations (PR) professionals push messages out to the broader public. Before the internet became entwined in every facet of our lives, PR pros did this job by using their industry relationships to obtain coverage for their clients in print and broadcast media. At the time, PR professionals focused so heavily on TV and print outlets because it was the most effective way to reach the public. However, as the legacy media’s importance has declined in recent years, PR professionals now do their work using many of the same tools as content marketers.

At the same time, content marketers are busy communicating for the organization in similar ways. These creators don’t always understand how the blog posts, white papers, social media content, and videos they produce can seamlessly integrate with PR outreach objectives. Instead, both groups work independently toward their own goals and lose out on opportunities to foster collaboration and improve efficiency.

There are no more gatekeepers to information in this new world, and platform access is more egalitarian than ever. That’s why content marketing and PR teams must work hand-in-hand to maximize their effectiveness. Under the proper circumstances, content marketing initiatives can serve as the infrastructure supporting both consumer marketing and PR outreach efforts. Your PR team can also use its built-in messaging and audience expertise to drive an overall marketing strategy. But how does this work in practice?


Start by Rethinking Content Planning and Creation

Most content marketing teams use editorial calendars to plan their output. These documents typically include the content topic, assets the team needs to create, the channel where those assets will live and a timeline for when those assets will go live. PR teams employ a similar approach to structure their outreach efforts. PR calendars use hard news pegs (like new product releases) or more casual cues (like remembrance days) to plan how, when and where they’ll make their pitches. When these two teams work separately, they miss out on opportunities where the PR calendar can inform the content calendar and vice versa.

Organizations can streamline their efforts by creating an overarching marketing calendar that coordinates every outgoing message. In this environment, the content and PR teams create flexible assets that can fill multiple uses. With just a few tweaks, press releases can become blog posts, white papers can become bylined articles and media pitches become social posts. 

With content and PR teams working under a shared calendar and creating content with flexibility in mind, organizational messaging becomes more unified, and everyone’s efforts become more productive.


Next, Own Your Owned Media

In the old days, reporters, producers and editors made decisions about what information was newsworthy. PR professionals could make their best pitch, but publication decisions were often out of their control. While TV, magazines, radio and newspapers still play an essential PR role, they’re no longer the only game in town. As PR professionals have evolved to meet the digital age, they’re taking more control over their owned media as a primary channel for message delivery. Leveraging these owned business assets is a great way to build fruitful partnerships between the content and PR teams.

The first place to start is your organization’s blog. Too often, this space is an afterthought because building an effective blogging strategy takes tremendous effort. However, by positioning your organization’s blog as a media center, where you regularly publish lightly modified press releases, your channel becomes the hub of your outreach activities. Using a shared marketing calendar, your PR and content teams can schedule releases to post on the blog at the same time they hit the wire. Your PR team can also use these blog posts as the hub of future pitch work (more on this later). Either way, your blog is working for you.

The same is true for your organization’s social media channels. While some might argue whether this is genuinely owned media in the age of algorithmic reach restrictions, organizations still have control over the type of content featured here. With PR and content teams working together, social messaging can better align with outreach messaging. That will help your organization become less reliant on earned media outlets and more in control of your online corporate messaging.  


Rethink Outreach to Further Your Impact

With your owned media channels entirely in hand, regularly publishing under a shared marketing calendar, the content and PR teams can begin collaborating to rethink your publicity activities. This reimagined process starts on the blog.


The Blog Drives Your Pitches

PR professionals naturally seek out newsworthy stories inside companies that might garner broader interest. Under the old publicity model, PR teams would package this information in a release and hope that a larger media organization would share it with their wider audience. But when your content and PR teams use your company blog as a media hub, blog posts can serve as de facto press releases. PR teams can use snippets from blog posts or interesting data points as a hook for their media pitches while including a URL that journalists can follow for more information. 

Not only does this approach center a company’s owned media channels in its outreach activity, but it also supports link building as a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. By marrying the efforts of your content and PR teams, you’re streamlining content creation and deployment. You’re also making your owned assets do double and triple the work they did before. Talk about an efficiency boost. The job’s not done, however. Organizations can further magnify their existing outreach efforts through the smart use of social media. 


Social Content with a Purpose

As it turns out, PR messaging makes for natural social media content. Not only are the talking points newsy and interesting, but they’re also packaged in bite-sized pieces, so they’re easily digestible for journalists. As the content team publishes your press releases on the blog, they can also use the PR team’s pitch messaging to share that content on social media.

Plus, your content team can share coverage from successful pitches, but with a twist. Rather than simply linking to the shared content on someone else’s platform, have the content team write a quick post about the coverage to share on your blog. This approach fills a social content hole, expands the reach of your earned media while at the same time keeping the focus on your owned media.


Email, Podcasts, and More

No doubt your content team is working on other initiatives to distribute organization messages. As with the blog and social media, the PR team can contribute their ideas and expand the reach of all your produced content. Email, podcasts, videos and more can serve multiple objectives once the content and PR teams work under a shared mission. 


Who Takes the Lead

Who leads these new initiatives depends on your organizational preferences. What matters most is breaking down the silos that have previously separated content marketing teams and PR professionals. Companies that hire outside PR firms to augment their in-house marketing team will also benefit by bringing those contracted workers more fully into the fold. 

Every time you put something out into the digital world, you’re competing with millions upon millions of other people seeking out the same share of scattered eyeballs. With something as critical as your organization’s message, you’ll need a unified team of communicators working together to reach your audience effectively.

Exceptional Content Marketing with Anna Hrach [Podcast]

Exceptional Content Marketing with Anna Hrach [Podcast]

In the latest episode of the PR Talk podcast, Amy talks with Anna Hrach about what makes great content marketing, how to measure results, what role PR has in content marketing and vice versa, how to repurpose content and more.

Anna Hrach is a Content Strategist at Convince & Convert, an occasional host of the Social Pros Podcast, a highly-rated speaker, and recognized as one of the 50 Influential Women in Content Marketing.

Here are some highlights from the conversation, be sure to listen for more details and insight:


2:22 – How Anna became a content marketer


3:20 – What makes great content?

Anna talks about the criteria they use at Convince & Convert, that the content must be utility-based (see Jay Baer’s book Youtility). It must be something people actually want or need and is helpful to them. But it also needs to help you reach your business goals and your audience reach their goals.


6:36 – A lot of content marketing is providing free advice. How do you reach your business goals by providing free advice?

Providing valuable advice builds trust and building trust is becoming the #1 barometer of a successful brand. Trust is why people choose a specific brand over another, but trust has to be built over time.


8:03 – How do you measure content marketing results?

There are many tools to measure the hundreds of metrics that can be associated with content marketing, but you need to measure what matters. Start by figuring out what matters to you (or your business) most and measure that. Look at the intent of the piece of content (what are you trying to accomplish by producing it), what metrics align to that intent (shares, downloads, sales inquiries) and then you can get an idea of how it is performing.


9:15 – What role does PR have in Content Marketing and vice versa?

Anna talks about the concept of “surround marketing” and how more content is being created than ever before, which causes lots of noise. Surround marketing is the concept that content should be coming from everywhere which includes media and public relations. PR can work with the content marketing team to place content and the content marketing team can support PR.


11:37 – How do we repurpose content (w/o duplicate content concerns)?

In regards to duplicate content concerns, Anna says that content can be quite similar if used in different places, that Google is smart enough to understand when we are varying content to a specific channel or audience. You should be modifying your content for your diverse audiences anyways and if you do that, you should be fine. See this video for more:


15:22 – What do you think about syndicated sites (like Business2Communty)?

Syndicating can be helpful if it helps you reach your audience effectively. Will it reach a different (or bigger potentially) audience? In PR terms, you can think of it like it getting picked up on the wire (AP type wire, not a PR distribution wire).


16:43 – How do you get started in Content Marketing?

Start with strategy (who you are targeting and why), then key messages you want to communicate. But you must set content creation parameters as constraints breed creativity. Then you set your strategy in motion instead of producing “random acts of content.”


18:26 – What do you mean by “constraints breed creativity?”

It is really hard to brainstorm good ideas or be creative when you have no direction. When you give people the world you get crickets, that giving directions (layers and constraints) will really help people get going.


19:45 – What do we do after we have created something we are proud of (the marketing part of content marketing)?

You have to distribute the content after you have created it. You can’t just count on SEO or simply putting out on your blog. You need to use your various marketing changes like social media, emails and newsletters and use content atomization (the act of taking one big piece of content and spinning it into smaller bite-size pieces of content). Share those smaller pieces across your diverse marketing channels. Anna strives to use the 1:8 rule which means you should be able to get eight smaller bits of content out of one big piece).

Sounds a lot like maximizing in PR doesn’t it?


Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

About the guest: Anna Hrach

Anna is a content strategist at Convince & Convert, a host of the Social Pros Podcast and ranked one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Content Marketing. She is also a frequent speaker (including Portland’s Engage Conference).

Connect and follow Anna on social media:

Anna Hrach on PR Talk

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Way back in 1996, when the internet was still in its infancy, Bill Gates wrote what has now become a famous essay entitled, “Content is King.” In this essay, the Microsoft founder described the future of the internet as a place to distribute and monetize content. “.. [T]he broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment,” he wrote. “No company is too small to participate.”

Gates’ essay is so well known because his predictions proved to be remarkably accurate. Twenty-five years later, the internet is awash in podcasts, videos, blog posts, songs, photographs and anything else that can be digitized. Much of this content is free. However, many creators and corporations have figured out how to leverage their talent and available tools to sell content online. What’s more, internet users have shown a near-endless appetite for this material. From searching how-to videos on YouTube, streaming the latest release on Spotify, or reading someone’s take on the day’s political news, billions of hungry eyes are eager to consume relevant content.


What is Content Marketing?

It didn’t take long for digital marketers to use these online tools to produce content for their clients. Unlike digital marketing, which is a more overt attempt to sell products or services, content marketing distributes information using digital platforms to build community and brand affinity or help people make decisions. 

Let’s consider skis, for example. Where digital marketing uses tools like search engine marketing and social media advertising to sell someone a pair of skis, content marketing attempts to create an experience around skiing or mountain adventures, while still pursuing traditional marketing goals. This could be through explainer videos that teach consumers how to maintain tune their skis or an infographic that helps someone choose the type of skis that are right for them. Content marketing aims to create material users find valuable so they’ll associate those positive feelings with a particular brand when they eventually make a purchase decision.

Content marketing is a popular technique in business-to-business marketing campaigns, where traditional digital marketing tools are less useful. Companies can accelerate prospects through their sales funnel by creating content that explains crucial products or anticipates potential customer’s questions or objections. 


Examples of Content Marketing

This technique is as old as marketing itself. However, content marketing has become increasingly popular as more and more of our daily activities move online. Over the years, some companies have found very clever ways to send their brand messages using the approach. 

In 2015, the Unilever-owned brand Dollar Shave Club launched Mel, an online magazine that focuses on lifestyle and culture topics from a man’s perspective. While Mel targets the same audience as Dollar Shave Club, it doesn’t sell razors. Instead, it’s become a respected outlet for thoughtfully written content with a distinct voice. While Mel is now its own company with a dedicated website, some of its content is cross-published on the Dollar Shave Club site, which shows how versatile this kind of content can be. 

Content marketing isn’t only about writing. Search the free stock photo site Unsplash for home office images, and you’ll find a series of photographs provided by Dell’s XPS brand of laptops. These images feature sleek and modern workspaces that any home office warrior would covet, with the sleek and modern XPS laptops front-and-center. Every blogger or web developer understands the value of free stock photography. In this instance, XPS has found a way to harness that built-in demand and provide helpful solutions that also happen to send a strong brand message.

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

The goal of these two examples is not to make a conversion. Instead, they associate a brand with an attractive aesthetic, relatable point of view or aspirational identity. When a purchase decision comes further down the line, it will hopefully be informed, in part, by the content the buyer consumed up until that point.


How Can Content Marketing Drive Public Relations?

Public relations professionals can use content marketing techniques to drive public opinion or sentiment in the same way marketers use content to drive customer behavior. In early 2019, Slack, the popular workplace messaging app, revealed an extensive logo redesign that was met with… mixed reviews. As part of the launch, Slack published a piece of content on its website explaining the very practical reasons why the change was so necessary. Even though not everyone appreciated the new logo design, Slack’s rationale for the change was widely cited by the media. As a result, their content marketing had driven extensive media coverage (see Google News results) including links from 392 domains.

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News


Fifty years ago, a leading business automation company likely would have issued a press release explaining a significant brand change. Today, companies can steer the conversation through carefully created talking points while achieving better results using tools like a company-owned blog and social media channels.

It doesn’t take controversy for content marketing to be a successful PR strategy. PR experts can take day-to-day content like blog posts, videos, white papers, podcasts and more, and break them into smaller, more digestible pieces they can use in many different ways. When done correctly, content marketing creates flexible assets that sales, marketing and PR professionals can use to bring more attention to your brand. It only requires an overarching strategy that guides those efforts


Utilizing Your Team to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Fortunately, you don’t have to be Unilever or Dell to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Instead, you need a focused approach that defines your audience, goals, and deliverables. Here are a few things to consider as you begin developing your own content strategy:

Define Who You’re Talking To:
Every piece of content you create should begin with its audience in mind. Start by defining your audience and the solutions you’re trying to provide.

Set Your Goals:
Next, define what you want to accomplish with your content. This step will inform how you distribute what you produce and the tools you’ll use to measure success.

Inventory the Deliverables:
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have the time or resources to produce videos, don’t try and force it. Instead, assess your company’s strengths and create content that aligns with what you’re best at.

Measure and Repeat:
Track your content marketing efforts and draw on those results to improve whenever possible.

Content Strategy Checklist

Of course, not every company has the in-house resources necessary to undertake a fully realized content marketing strategy. In these instances, organizations may look to outside marketing or PR agencies to fill in the gaps or lead content marketing efforts. Under these circumstances, companies will get the best results by treating third-party agencies as full-fledged team members who are just as invested in the company’s success as its employees are.


“No Company is Too Small to Participate”

Just as Bill Gates predicted all those years ago, any company can benefit from a thoughtful content marketing strategy. In the age of content, your corporate voice is a vital component in relaying your brand message and value proposition to potential customers. Because without it, consumers will certainly get the information they’re seeking somewhere else.

Michelle Brence: Oregonian Editor Turns into Content Strategist for OHSU [Podcast]

Michelle Brence: Oregonian Editor Turns into Content Strategist for OHSU [Podcast]

Breaching the divide: A journalist-turned-marketer shares her PR insights

Michelle Brence has always had a knack for sniffing out a good story. It served her well in her 23-year career as a journalist, which she began as a part-time copyeditor at The Register-Guard in Eugene and later advanced to senior editorial roles at The Oregonian. In her life as an editor, Michelle loved telling meaningful, important stories, and her work was lauded when a piece she edited on drug cartels in Oregon was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Today, she’s no longer working as a journalist, but she’s still telling important stories as the digital content strategist for OHSU. Michelle recently sat down with us to talk about navigating the transition from journalism to marketing, the surprising similarities she’s discovered between the fields, and what she’s learned along the way.

In the Newsroom

Until Brence made the jump to marketing, journalism was the only career she had known. Early on, she worked on the copy desk at The Oregonian, and she recalls that time with fondness. “The copy desk at The Oregonian was a really great group of snarky, profane, incredibly smart people.” There, Brence and her colleagues were the last people to sign off on each day’s paper before it was printed. In addition to writing headlines and subheads, she was often the last line of defense against errors and omissions. “I saw some horrific mistakes almost get in the paper many times, and a few slipped in,” she noted. Brence recounted a story about a time when she was working on New Year’s Eve and jotted a question for the print shop on a page she was copyediting. She was horrified the next day when she saw that the print shop staff had misinterpreted her question, adding a question mark to the “Happy New Year” banner at the top of the page that lent a quizzical note to the standard holiday exclamation.

A Career Shift

With mixed feelings, Brence left The Oregonian in January 2016, largely in response to the precarious state of the print journalism industry, where staff reductions have become commonplace as newspapers increasingly rely on syndicated content in an effort to cut costs and stay afloat. With two kids to put through college and retirement to fund, she realized that she needed to prioritize her family’s financial stability. “I woke up one day and just realized, it’s now. It’s time to go.”

Surprising Similarities

Once Brence decided to leave, her new position was the first one that caught her eye. It helped that the hiring manager wanted to hire a journalist for the digital content strategist role. While that may not seem intuitive, today’s journalists have more in common with marketers than one might expect.

“There used to a be a 20-foot wall between any kind of thought about marketing and journalism. We prided ourselves on not even caring about how our work helped or hurt sales. But as journalism moved into a digital space and we could see what our audience wanted or didn’t want, and as our financial fortunes started to fall, we had to get a lot more savvy and break down those walls. So, it was a lot more familiar than I expected it to be. Understanding what audiences want was something I was very comfortable with. I had a lot more skills than I realized beyond wordsmithing and information gathering,” explained Brence.

At OHSU, Brence is moving into a role where she’ll be overseeing all digital copy geared toward patients, including blog posts and web pages about conditions and treatments. She’s also working to streamline the existing body of reference content to make it easier for patients to find the information they need to be informed partners in their own healthcare. Her journalism skills continue to serve her well as she researches and writes about medical conditions and treatments. “I start immersing myself in the condition, then interview doctors, and then I ask them for papers and presentations that they give to other doctors,” she said.

Brence sees other parallels between her two careers. In marketing as in journalism, she stresses the importance of not telling people what to think. “Just lay out the facts and let people decide for themselves,” she said. “I’m not pitching a product; my job is just to uncover what we have and present it in a way that people can find it. I try hard not to use marketing language,” she said.

“You go into journalism with a sense of mission and purpose. You work ridiculous hours and the pay isn’t really that great, so you have to love it. I feel incredibly fortunate to have landed at another mission-driven organization that makes the world a better place.” Click here to read Brence’s recent article about the groundbreaking brain surgery performed on a child at OHSU.

Cultural Differences

Brence experienced a bit of culture shock when she transitioned to marketing, and admits to still feeling like a fish out of water sometimes. Coming from a newsroom peopled by snarky potty-mouths and quirky characters, the culture of politeness in marketing took some getting used to. In marketing there’s more emphasis on networking and social niceties, whereas in a newsroom the prevailing sense of urgency leads to more terse communications. “It was very common for me to get an email from my boss that said ‘look into this.’ When I got to OHSU I realized that you need to say hello first.”

Another difference Brence cited pertains to competitiveness. “We had news meetings a couple of times a day and you would find yourself competing with other editors to get your story on the front page. You got used to getting asked very pointed questions about why your story should be there.” While editors are conditioned to answer the questions “who cares?” and “why is this important,” Brence stresses that marketers could benefit from adopting a newsroom mindset.

PR Pro Tips

Having worked as both a journalist and a marketer, Brence has a good sense for how to catch an editor’s eye with a press release. Here, she shares her dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t put your needs first. “I was shocked at how many pitches I got that included, ‘hey, I really need to get this out there.’ That’s your problem, not mine.”
  • Don’t host a charity event for the sole purpose of drumming up publicity.
  • Don’t ask for free publicity. Always keep the publication’s audience and focus in mind, and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Don’t write overly long press releases. Essential information should be in the first two sentences. Assume that the editor will spend 15 seconds reading your press release, so get to the point.
  • Do include contact information for both the PR representative and an interview source.
  • Do get to the point quickly, and explain why the product/service/event is relevant to the publication’s audience.
  • Do be familiar with publishing schedules, and understand that deadlines are ongoing.
  • Do give sufficient lead time, but not too much.
  • Do be helpful, but hide the fact that coverage will help you.

A quick word on talking to investigative reporters

Finally, Brence offers this advice to marketers who pick up the phone to find an investigative reporter on the line: Don’t lie. “Usually when people get tripped up, they lie about things that are publicly findable. If you have something out there that’s bad, just get it all out there at once. Face it, and tell the truth.”

About the guest: Michelle Brence

Michelle is the digital content strategist at OHSU. Prior to her current role, she was an editor at The Oregonian, where she led an award-winning team of reporters.

Connect and follow Michelle on social media:

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