Content Marketing’s Tangled Web of Influence


Today we bring you a guest post by Rebekah Illiff of AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.

Can you name the last time you stopped to look at a spider’s web? Chances are, if you hate spiders, it was not recently. But there is much to be learned from these intricately designed feats of art and engineering.

Every part of the web is connected, making it both complex and powerful. If any part is weakened or disconnected, the overall value and strength of the web is severely compromised.

I started mulling over this idea after AirPR’s data scientist came to me with a visualization of a subset of our content marketing strategy, which happened to look exactly like a spider’s web: expansive, complex and continuously connected.


The overarching goal of a savvy content marketing strategy is to build relationships and establish trust and credibility, while often filling gaps in “conversation” when media coverage is slow.

But what is the best way to go about this?

Our data show that content filled with “high quality” (note: not vapid, link-bating text) information will exponentially increase the possibility of your ideas spreading. The reason is simple: readers and colleagues will begin to value your writing as authoritative and will share and reference you in tweets, blogs, and other various content.

Digital is the most consistent and powerful channel available and a content marketing strategy is a huge part of today’s PR puzzle.

In order for content marketing to be truly effective there are 3 key elements contributing writers must execute in order to ensure successful content marketing campaigns.

The content must:

  • Provide ideas and information in a charismatic way that doesn’t just push the brand’s own agenda.
  • Include links to those who inspired your content, gave credence to your arguments, and advanced the overall conversation.
  • Employ thoughtful precision through a wide lens when it comes to selecting the authority sources included in the content.

When you give “shout outs”, the likelihood of others linking back to you and referencing you in future articles increases exponentially. By weaving webs, businesses build rapport and become a part of the conversation with other companies in their space. This in turn boosts digital visibility online and elevates the profile of the brand or company.

Conversely, when you opt to not think through a solid reference strategy or a partner publication isn’t willing to run links back to you, your web becomes less expansive and less impactful.

Case in point:


To sum it up, I will leave you with a great quote from content marketing authority Ann Handley, lifted from this Vocus article: “Content shouldn’t be created as one-off pieces, or even as a campaign. Rather each piece should become part of an ecosystem. The overall ecosystem produces a customer experience that dovetails back to the brand.”

Compare the 2 visually, side by side…and think about this visualization next time you set out to build a content marketing strategy.

Expansive Web A:                                                   Not so expansive Web B:


Those pesky little spiders may just be onto something after all.

About Rebekah Iliff

Rebekah Iliff is the chief strategy officer for AirPR. Previously, she was the CEO of talkTECH Communications, where she created an industry-first methodology for emerging technology companies which positioned talkTECH as one of the fastest growing, launch-only PR firms in the U.S. She is currently a contributing writer for Entrepreneur, Huffington Post and PRWeek’s “The Hub.” Iliff holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.A. in Organizational Management and Applied Community Psychology from Antioch University at Los Angeles (AULA).