Content Marketing Applied: A Look at Analyst Relations
Editor’s Note: This guest post by Andrew Hsu of SpotlightAR covers a growing trend that was completely foreign to us before they became a Divvy customer. It’s been fascinating to learn about the parallels between analyst relations and content marketing and we felt compelled to let you in on this unique topic, which can really benefit agencies and brands.
What is Analyst Relations (AR)?
Analyst Relations is a sub-specialty within in the family of Public Relations. It differs from general PR in that instead of pushing for broad media coverage, AR is aimed very specifically at a handful of respected industry analysts with the aim of garnering their attention and thus coverage in their research.
A few of the larger analyst firms that AR professionals target on behalf of their clients include Gartner, Forrester and IDC. However, there are many more, smaller analyst firms beyond the big guys, each of which cover a specific industry or topic.
While the practice of marketing to these analyst firms has been around for quite a while, the recent adoption of techniques introduced by content marketing practitioners into AR has created a pretty significant leap forward in the practice of AR. With the right analyst relations strategy, coverage in annual research reports and “Top XXX Companies” lists are a strong reality. With coverage comes credibility and significant new business development opportunities.
The Unique Challenges of Analyst Relations
In the not-too-distant past, AR professionals were taking a very PR-centric approach to AR, broadcasting press releases and stories to analysts with the hope of being “picked up”. They quickly found that these techniques were quite ineffectual and became frustrated at the lack of connection between effort and recognition.
When we asked analysts why they weren’t covering these stories, it was quickly evident that PR-like communications simply lacked either the degree of specificity the analysts needed to warrant inclusion, or they lacked the applicability to the research the analysts were currently pursuing.
In comparison to most of the general media, industry analysts are much more sophisticated on the subject matter they cover. Additionally, their research cycles on any given topic naturally migrate from “what is it” and “why it matters” to “how should you be reacting” and finally to “what exactly should you go do”. Thus, for any piece of content to be meaningful to an analyst, it has to be related to what the analyst is writing about, be at the degree of detail that the analyst needs, and be delivered to the analyst at the right point within their research cycle.
Feeding Content Marketing
The good news is that we know that analysts love content that’s both specific and relevant; the bad news is that the cost of developing that content is extremely high. High enough that the cost of developing these points-of-views were almost always daunting enough to bring AR efforts to a halt.
The opening up of new social media channels, however, has completely changed the economics of AR content development. Today, any content that is developed for a Forrester or Gartner analyst can be used to feed the always content-hungry content marketers. Most pieces can be repurposed/repackaged and pushed as blog content, email articles, whitepapers, etc., turning what was a bespoke message for one analyst into brand building, thought leadership-establishing ammo for a much broader audience.
With such a content-centric focus, it turns out competent content marketers are actually much better suited for analyst relations work than folks who come from a pure PR background. In the next couple of years it will be interesting to see what professional opportunities analyst relations will provide to content marketers, and how the inclusion of that talent will continue to evolve the practice of analyst relations moving forward.
Now it’s your turn…Is analyst relations on your radar? Is your company doing it? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience.