ADPR Insight 18.04.2019

The Role of Digital PR in “Unicorn” Content Creation

The value of content is becoming increasingly important – people want to see articles, videos and posts that are engaging, interesting and informative rather than those that are just “clickbait” or written for the sake of content volume. Today, we’re looking at the idea of “Unicorn” content and explaining how it can be even more effective when combined with a distribution plan.

What is “Unicorn” Content?

The “Unicorn” is a piece of content that ticks all of the boxes, and does so in such an effective way that it will organically reach a large audience. It is shared widely because it is something that people want to shout about.

In an age where people are calling for more authenticity from brands, effective Unicorn content often makes a statement and is founded in a brand’s purpose. In the UK, supermarket Iceland partnered with Greenpeace to create an advert which tackled the environmental concerns surrounding palm oil. Banned from TV for being too political, the campaign was then shared across social media platforms and was widely reported on by news outlets across the globe.

Source: Wired

Another example of global Unicorn content in 2018 was the Nike advert with Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick is an NFL player who sparked controversy for kneeling during the American national anthem in order to protest police brutality. Nike used him as the face of their campaign with the slogan “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”. After the campaign went live, Nike received 5.2 million social media mentions over a 72-hour period.

While big brands have the status and financial capability to produce Unicorn content, it is still really important for smaller brands to create purposeful content which truly engages with the target market. As well as brand awareness, Unicorn content has significant benefits for SEO, particularly if you host the content on your own site. This is because a large volume of people will link to that one piece of content on your site, which consequently increases your website’s authority.

On top of this, it can help to deliver on conversions; the more traffic that you can drive to your website with interesting and engaging content, the more likely people are to click through and take further steps.

The Importance of a Digital PR Plan

The dream scenario is to create a piece of content that simply takes off on its own accord with little work or effort from you. However, while this can happen for big brands like Iceland and Nike, it is extremely rare for this to happen instantly for smaller, less well-known brands. High-quality content will create organic buzz and gain exposure, but only if you let people know it exists! Otherwise, it is highly difficult to generate a significant response.

That’s where Digital PR comes in. Unicorn content works best when it’s combined with the creation of an effective distribution plan – this ensures you can tell the whole world about it!

Marketing plans which incorporate a wide range of strategies are those that will provide high rates of success. It’s not a case of Comms vs Content vs PR anymore – those silos no longer deliver and the best result for a client is a bespoke mixture of all elements of the PESO model (paid, earned, shared and owned media). Integration is key!

How to Implement Effective Content Distribution

Once you’ve chosen to go the extra mile with your content creation, you will need to create an effective distribution plan.

If you’re yet to produce the content, start by measuring the success of your or your client’s existing content. What has achieved the highest engagement? How can you produce something similar, but even better? Once you have a quality piece of content – whether that’s an article, a video, or a social media post – you will need to draw attention to it.

Develop a list of relevant contacts and influencers who you can reach out to. It’s good to use tools to keep track of this – for example, there is a useful template from Moz which allows you to see the progress of your Digital PR outreach.

Source: Moz

Aim to contact high-quality, well-known websites and online publications that have a natural fit with your content topic. The idea with Unicorn content is that, once you’ve got the ball rolling and the word out there, then shares will keep happening organically with little work from your end. It’s the initial outreach that is really important because it lets people know that your content exists.

So there it is – an exploration of the role of Digital PR in Unicorn content creation. We hope this article has been useful and you’re feeling inspired to create and share valuable new content.