Lee Odden

Making the Most of Limited Content

Note from Lee: Another contributor to Online Marketing Blog, Karen Sams who also writes her own blog at Media Relations Blog, makes her debut in this post about the ongoing challenge to gain original content for clients. Fresh content isn’t only necessary for making web sites attractive to search engines, but it’s also a critical component for marketing efforts in any channel – including Karen’s specialty: Public Relations. Read on to find excellent tips on how to make the most out of limited content.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a PR professional is eliciting content from clients. When I do identify valuable nuggets of information, I know that I need to leverage every aspect of that nugget across an array of tactics, including:

– Press Release
– Media Pitch
– Byline Article
– Link Building
– Email Campaign
– Podcast
– Video
– Social Media
– Tradeshow Presentation

Managing content this way not only means that you get the most out of every concept identified, but you also have a checklist to follow to make sure that each subsequent campaign creates maximum exposure for your client.

So how do you elicit content?
I have found that sitting down with key team members for a brainstorming session is the best way to identify content. Team members bounce ideas off one another and I am the privileged fly on the wall that listens and consumes. Most of the time, I will hear the beginning of an interesting concept and will then need to probe further to flesh out the idea into a compelling media pitch.

With non-marketers, there is no point in asking for emerging industry trends and interesting concepts. They have no idea what you are asking for and find it difficult to think like a marketer when their background is completely the opposite.

Here are a few techniques I use to elicit content for PR purposes:

  • Ask targeted questions about how your client‚Äôs service or product directly impacts their customer‚Äôs business.
  • Assume they read industry publications. Ask them if they read any interesting articles lately in their tier 1 publications and whether they agree or disagree with the perspective portrayed.
  • Leverage customer questions. This is a great way of identifying customer needs and how you can engage them via PR.
  • Look at competitors – what are they doing and saying? How is your client different? What‚Äôs their value-add?
  • Use editorial calendars to cultivate thought. What are publications going to be looking at over the next year?

Remember, clients have some great knowledge to share; it is your job to expose the PR concepts that are lying dormant in their heads and leverage each nugget as much as possible to achieve maximum impact.

Do you have elicitation techniques that you use? Please share your successes with us – we’d love to hear from you!

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar AndrewRedfern says

    Good article Karen. Limited content is the bane of any marketing manager. One item I would add to the list is giving away a freebie.

    For example a recruitment company could give away a report on typical salaries for each industry. This would boost the brand of the company and possible gain some more links. All the best keep up the good work!

  2. Avatar rogers place says

    This is one nice site. Keep up the good work and sharing the Great information. Will visit again and recommend to others.

  3. Very good post.

    Remember, clients have some great knowledge to share; it is your job to expose the PR concepts that are lying dormant in their heads and leverage each nugget as much as possible to achieve maximum impact.

    I agree with you regarding this issue. Client could not know the PR techniques, but he knows his business better than we do.


  1. Friday Night Link-o-rama » Small Business SEM says:

    […] Speaking of writing… another problem small businesses often struggle to overcome is the need for quality content. If that sounds familiar, check out Making the Most of Limited Content by Karen Sams on the Online Marketing Blog. And while you’re there, don’t miss Lee’s SEO Benefits from Blogs. […]