Building strategic visibility using a content-first approach to PR

The content you publish, distribute and amplify can have a significant impact on your brand’s visibility in the marketplace. But you need to be strategic about it. Just banging out stuff willy-nilly simply adds to the noise and helps no-one.

Brands that get it right, as a rule, have earned their strong presence largely due to the high-quality content they have produced over an extended period of time.

Quality content will find an audience. It gets shared, liked, bookmarked, recommended, commented upon and discussed. Maybe it gets linked to or even republished. And sometimes it will find its way up the search engine rankings, where it gets discovered, clicked on and read, watched, listened to, shared, liked and commented on again and again.

All of this leads to online visibility.

Now, it goes without saying that the more interesting and relevant your content is, the greater the chance of online visibility you’ll achieve. The brilliant thing about content marketing for PR is that it’s cumulative. Unlike an advertisement that’s here one minute and gone the next, content in all its forms hangs around forever. It’s an asset that has the potential to work for your brand over the long haul.

Brand visibility via content marketing manifests itself in a variety of ways. People click through to your content as a result of:

  • Your own organic and paid-for distribution efforts. This can comprise your brand’s website or blog, a subscription e-newsletter, social media channels that people follow, plus any medium where you’ve paid for exposure, such as Facebook ads, online sponsorship or native advertising through a third-party website.
  • Organic third-party distribution (earned media). This includes members of the public sharing your content through their personal social networks and email. If this sharing is done by a bona fide influencer in your industry, that’s a win; this could take the form of retweeting your tweet or, better still, linking from the influencer’s own blog to one of your articles. An online publication or industry blog might also ask permission to republish your article, a journalist could quote you in a story and a podcaster might ask you for an interview. Any of these is possible when you produce high-quality content on a consistent basis.
  • Discoverability through search. The more quality content you publish that gets liked, shared and linked to from authoritative sources, the better the chance of it getting discovered via search engines. Of course, savvy SEO techniques can also play a key role here in terms of the judicious use of keywords and phrases, but, from personal experience, I’ve generated plenty of Google juice for my blog content over the years without it being specifically optimized for search.


The above are all powerful ways to build a varied quilt of visibility for your brand in the marketplace. Granted, unless your content gets picked up regularly by a TV network or mega-popular publication, you’re not going to have the reach of a paid-for advertising campaign with decent dollars behind it. But the collective exposure – over time, in front of the right audience – can pay dividends for your brand, as many of the examples contained in this book demonstrate.

The power of digital serendipity

We often discover and then consume content in nonlinear ways.

Sometimes we’re purposeful about it. For example, a Google search might feature an article from your company blog that addresses an informational need we might have, or provides color for a research report we’re writing. Better still, we subscribe to your podcast or follow you on Twitter, and when you share your content, we spot it and click on it.

We might also land on a brand’s content through sheer luck in any number of possible ways:

Someone you follow on Twitter or are connected to on LinkedIn shares a video featuring a noted thought leader discussing an industry trend relevant to you, and up it pops in your feed.

Or this video is featured in a story published by an online publication that covers your industry.

Or a speaker refers to this video at a seminar you attend and you subsequently check it out, quite possibly then and there, and potentially share it with other attendees.

Never underestimate the power of digital serendipity!

Initial exposure

A word about building brand visibility through content. I’m talking here about creating content that people in your desired target audience communities will find useful, helpful, inspiring, empowering, even entertaining. It’s content that catches their eye and resonates in some way, hopefully to the point where they share it with their networks of friends, peers and connections.

Better still, they might take action, like subscribing to your blog, podcast or YouTube channel, and they might even be motivated to buy something from your business or sign up for your cause.

Such content might be longer-form, such as a 10-minute mini-documentary, a 40-minute podcast interview, a 1,500-word blog post, a whitepaper or research report, an online tutorial or an 8000-word e-book.

But in all probability, initial exposure to your content will come down to a fleeting micro-moment.

People see your name, or a link to your content, in a tweet, a Facebook post, a LinkedIn update, an Instagram feed or on YouTube or SlideShare.

Maybe an industry publication links to your blog or website, or your podcast is recommended by a popular podcatcher app.

Some people might discover you randomly while doing a Google search.

Or someone could email an article you’ve published to a friend or colleague.

I call these micro-moments #RespectfulReminders.

These are not blatant promotional messages that annoyingly interrupt someone’s day but brief content-driven interludes that respect people’s time and intellect and add value in some way, no matter how minute.

Repetition of messaging

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual research report on the state of trust globally, public skepticism and dispersion requires repetitive messaging. On average, two-thirds of people (64 percent) need to see or hear a company’s message three to five times before they believe it, while 18 percent need to see or hear a message from six to 10 or more times. SOURCE

If that message is overtly promotional, we’re more likely to tune it out unless it has some special relevance for us at that particular time. For example, we’re looking to secure a new home loan, so naturally, we take note of home loan rate messaging from financial institutions.

But if the message is wrapped up, conveyed and reinforced by credible content (like thoughtful commentary that shows genuine expertise), it could lay down foundations of trust.

I’ll leave the last word on brand visibility to five-time New York Times best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk, who made the leap from obscurity when he was running his family’s New Jersey liquor store to global recognition as an authority on digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

The elevation of his personal brand resulted from the strategic omnipresence Vaynerchuk built up over time by creating compelling content. His speeches, books, videos and other premium content, in turn, led to earned media coverage in magazines and newspapers and on blogs, podcasts and network television.

Exposure equals leverage

Exposure equals leverage, says the man known to millions as Gary Vee. It certainly does for him.

In an article on, Vaynerchuk wrote about the business model behind The #AskGaryVee Show, a long-form online video show in which he answers questions about social media, business and entrepreneurship. He wrote:

The business model behind #AskGaryVee is pretty simple. It’s a 100% broad awareness game. I just want more exposure. Why? Because exposure is leverage, my friends.

So what does that leverage get me? A LOT. Let’s just take a look at the short-term results:

  1. I get paid more for public speaking.
  2. I sell more books.
  3. I get asked to do more TV spots.
  4. I end up on stuff like 40 Under 40 lists.
  5. I get more employees coming into VaynerMedia (
  6. I get more users coming to WineDeals (
  7. I get to scale my POV more efficiently to my existing employees.
  8. My mom gets to see me every day.

Putting out content is ALWAYS a good idea, Vaynerchuk says.

He’s the proof!



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Welcome to the frontline of the communications revolution!

G'day, my name's Trevor Young. Subscribe to the PR Warrior blog today and receive regular updates from me on all things PR, social media, content marketing and thought leader branding.

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