July 24, 2019

The Virtuous Content Cycle


Despite the increasing shifts in the marketing-related landscape, the good news is that content itself is a tangible outcome, so we can all agree it matters immensely for any sort of campaign: PR, comms, marketing, or social. The “virtuous content cycle” is a simple yet effective framework for understanding how content plays an important role in marketing and how each face connects to the other.

Virtuous Content Cycle visualization



If you want a great resource for building a solid brand foundation before the content strategy (sometimes we tend to get ahead of ourselves) we recommend Andy Cunningham’s book Get To Aha!  She was Steve Jobs’ marketing and communications strategist during his rise to fame and understands fundamentals like no one else.


Here is a quick overview of what you may find inside the “content bank”:

  • Hard news items: product launches, funding announcements, ground-breaking reports backed by company-owned data report. (Note: this is what traditional comms pros focus on and where they shine.)

  • Thought leadership articles that support a specific point-of-view established by the company. (Note: the task more comms pros face is getting these byline articles into industry publications, and requiring good writers to work alongside them to do so.)

  • A company docu-film or video series that highlights company offerings, customers success stories, or a behind-the-scenes look at the team. (Note: comms pros often ask for these resources to help bolster profile story pitching for the company, as they are good reference materials.)

  • A long-form “playbook” or book you can use as a de facto industry resource. (This helps establish your brand as an expert, and makes PR outreach and “attention-getting” exponentially easier.)


Once the content has been distributed and “picked up” by an outside publication, or published on an internal channel like your CEO’s LinkedIn profile, you can leverage it for marketing and sales materials, customer emails or newsletters, and even investor relations communications. In other words, content distribution doesn’t have one cycle; it has many cycles and iterations over time.


Unfortunately, many shady practices for building backlinks exist today. Do your homework and ask for references before you engage any professional or company making claims to boost your SEO overnight. A great resource for building out your content web is a company called Fractl.


Before you start an initiative, make sure you have a fundamental understanding of what is being measured. This often requires access to analytics—powered by software systems such as Google Analytics, BuzzSumo, or Onclusive. Sometimes the metric is as simple as a number of media placements achieved, and the UVPMs or website authority of those outlets. Every engagement is different, which is why we must ask the question at the beginning.

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