March Comms Sheds Light on The Art of Working with Content Creatives
Last week, March Communications sponsored a fantastic event in partnership with the PR Club of New England, focused on the art of working with content creatives. We heard from four content experts and creatives – Jennifer Bonney, Senior Creative Director at PAN Communications; Lindsey Flynn, Content Strategist and Leader; Owen Mack, Managing Director of Cobrandit Video; and our own Manny Veiga, Director of Content Strategy at March Communications – on facilitating synergies across entire agency teams, tips and tricks for maximum impact, and more.
As content becomes more integrated in our day-to-day work and the campaigns we create, it’s crucial PR professionals understand how to work with our editorial counterparts to effectively and efficiently drive home results. Below are a few snippets from the discussion.
What is the demand for content today?
Five years ago, content teams were constantly trying to prove their value. The majority of our work was one-off, project based. Now, we’re often an integral part of retainers. The process is a much more strategic part of go-to-market and communications brand plans. And what’s more, it’s a necessary part of the process.
How can a full team – from PR folks to content creatives – best work together to accomplish client goals?
It’s best to have a well-rounded team. In each meeting, make sure you have someone at the table that can speak to each part of the project, whether that’s content, digital or media. And, make sure they stay at the table from beginning to end. That way, everyone is there for the initial client ask and clearly aware of their goals.
Beyond that, always make sure you’re steering conversations back to what you’re trying to accomplish. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy to lose sight of the project at hand. This can be especially true for eager PR professionals. It’s common that they hear the word “content” and think everything under the sun is possible. In these instances, make sure you’re consistently revisiting the original client ask. Ask yourself what makes sense and what will work.
There needs to be a level of trust, as well. PR professionals need to trust that content leaders will always recommend the best strategies, and creatives need to trust that their PR counterparts have the historical knowledge of what the client may or may not go for.
Above all else, try to be open minded and challenge the status quo. If you reach a point where the team can’t decide on a direction, just give it a shot! Challenge yourself and continue to learn.
What are some of the top considerations for PR practitioners and content creatives executing on a project?
Clear lines of communications are crucial, especially during the editing process. Be direct, yet justified, in your feedback and always make sure the final decision maker is in the loop from early on.
Brand guidelines are also key. Requesting the guidelines should be one of the first things you do as a team. Messaging and voice can get lost in translation when you’re playing a game of telephone. By asking for the standards first, you’ll never lose sight of the brand or spend hours on unnecessary activity.
Finally, make sure the team gathers all the brand assets. It’s critical but is often the last thought. The client may think they know the program front and back, but then you get to the end of the line and messages don’t match, fonts are different, and whole design layouts are completely off.
To close, what’s popular right now? And, what’s on the horizon?
A few years ago, no one could have guessed that infographics would ever make a resurgence. eBooks too! Now everyone wants to get their hands on them. But we aren’t talking about basic, one and done infographics – everything needs to be connected. So, we’re seeing infographics lead to social shareables, blog posts and more.
As for the future, we’ll see anchor content start to play an even larger role in communication strategies. And, content experiences will become more popular too. Readers and site visitors have started to seek paths and next steps after content. They aren’t just thinking about the content itself, but rather where they will go after. This will be pivotal in shaping the way an agency plans and leverages content.
Lastly, personalization. Technology is finally getting to the place where soon we’ll be able to make content for very specific types of people. We’ll go beyond simply doing individual cuts and will start seeing content with the ability to recognize different audiences.
Strategic integration and transparency across the entire communications team is key to maximizing program effectiveness – we knew this fact, but last week’s discussion cemented the importance of working with content creatives for our agency. If you’re curious about March Communications’ content program, contact us here. We’d love to work with you!