A new medium for content

Public relations practitioners have seen the media landscape change significantly over the years. With the merger of daily newspapers and consolidation of staff, fewer reporters covering more beats, fewer pages, and some publications folding altogether, finding ways to get relevant content in front of audiences that impact the brands we work for can be challenging.

Digital has also changed the way we write and the methods we use to disseminate content. We’re not only looking for great mainstream coverage but looking for methods that will both proactively and passively support digital marketing efforts. As search algorithms change, we must adapt to make sure content supports traditional and digital efforts.

Changing how the game is played

In recent years, a group of journalists and public relations practitioners decided to take control of content generation and dissemination by developing a national (and now international) public relations and content marketing platform. The 100 Companies was established to address the need for relevant and impactful content to meet the needs of businesses and readers in today’s fast-paced digital world.

Recognizing the need for a concise weekly publication focusing on Atlanta, my network partner Chris Schroder and the SPR Atlanta team developed The Atlanta 100, now delivered to 37,000 readers weekly. Keeping in line with today’s Twitter-influenced attention span, each issue features 100-word articles and 100-second videos about the brands, people, places and events that make up the fabric of Atlanta.

We launched The North Carolina 100 in April 2016 and have grown the circulation to more than 40,000. The 100 Companies network has expanded into 10 other markets since the beginning of 2016. In addition to North Carolina and Atlanta, The 100 Companies now publishes in:

  • Arkansas
  • Boston
  • Colorado
  • Dubai
  • Memphis
  • New Orleans
  • Oklahoma
  • Tallahassee
  • Tampa Bay
  • Washington DC

Additionally, Houston, Alaska and Los Angeles are launching in the coming weeks. With an expected seven more markets by year’s end, The 100 Companies will have a total circulation in all markets of more than a quarter million.

This network gives contributors access to a captive reader base in each market, but more importantly it offers access to the entire network if their content is relevant to a larger regional, national or international audience.

You’ll notice there are no ads in these publications. That is intentional. With the rise of ad blockers and strict SPAM filters, paid advertising throws up a red flag as potential junk, so you’ll never see them in any member’s publication. This improves delivery rates but also delivers only what is intended: content.

Leveraging professional service providers

Many brands have paid relationships with professional writers, PR and marketing companies, or digital agencies. This network is an extension or addition to that relationship and a cost-effective way to re-purpose that content and reach a large audience outside of your current circle of influence. Having content written by a professional gives it the best chance to influence the audience it is being written for, and that is how The 100 Companies monetizes this medium.

Writers from the respective 100 Companies member interview executives within an organization to craft the messaging for articles and include up to two links to help tell more of the story or move someone through the marketing or sales process. Most articles for each market have achieved deeper engagement by including links to blog posts, white papers, e-books, landing pages or infographics that are part of a larger campaign. Others have run standalone stories to feature a thought leader, product or brand with the flexibility to publish custom content at exactly the right time to support other public relations and marketing initiatives.

Consider this expanding medium that can add value to any public relations or marketing campaign when investigating how to increase visibility for a brand, executive, event or other intriguing piece of content that deserves attention.

Author: Chuck Norman, APR
Chuck Norman is our Owner & Principal.

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