Sword and the Script

Why PR Should Embrace Content Marketing


PR, content marketing

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by Frank Strong

PR should embrace content marketing.

If there’s one trend that has reached a tipping point in PR — it is content marketing. Content marketing is a perfect blend of SEO and social media for the online marketing mix.  But for PR, there’s one other key point:  media and blogger relations.

Joe Pulizzi, who founded the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance a consumer behavior.”

He simplifies the definition in a subsequent paragraph by stating, “In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.”

Isn’t that also what bloggers and media strive to do? 

 

Crossing a Threshold

The paradigm shift of new media, as Mitch Joel said on a SpinSuck Webinar, was that in the traditional world, the period at the end of the last sentence was the end of the story. Today, with comments, that are often equally interesting, if not more informative than the story itself, it’s just the beginning.

Likewise, in an era of pageview journalism, pitching a story doesn’t end when the story published.   Consequently, Shift’s Chris Penn suggests social promotion in your own channels, after a story is published, should be part of the initial pitch.

For the traditional media relations professional, this concept it enough to make them as uncomfortable as using paid media to earn media, but it’s sage advice.

Just as a pitch doesn’t end with a story — it doesn’t begin with an email either.

My suggestion is — just as a pitch doesn’t end with a story — it doesn’t begin with an email either.  With fewer members on staff and uncontrollable email inboxes, earning the attention of the media has never been harder.  Every day, there are thousands of good ideas competing for a mention and a voice in the marketplace.  Content marketing is the key to breaking the threshold of limited attention.

The applicability in media relations is multifaceted:

  • Good content allows you to reach your audience directly.
  • It fosters a community because people naturally gravitate to good ideas.
  • It demonstrates that our ideas matter.

It is the last point that counts the most from a PR perspective and it’s the culmination of the previous two.  Content marketing is a slow building, but powerful measure of social proof, that the ideas we are advocating are important:  it has a following, it stimulates interest and more importantly, discussion.

A primary function the business media plays, in which I also classify blogs like TechCrunch and Masahble because in many ways they operate like a traditional media outlet, is identifying and reporting on trends.

  • The media uses search for research and content marketing is sound a way to gain rank in search for key ideas.
  • The media is on social networks and observe hot links that zip around the web just like anyone else.
content marketing, media relations

A glimpse of searches for PR services?

Inbound PR

I strongly believe that content marketing will grow to account for more and more of the media relations professional’s time.  I’d go as far as to say it will replace the traditional processes of media relations, with the exception of hard earned relationships.  However, increasingly, those relationships get started with good content and the demonstration that we know, and have proven, what content will resonate with an audience.

Content marketing is a means for reporters and bloggers, just like customers, to find us and our ideas, rather than the other way around.  It is in many ways, a model for inbound PR; content marketing is the new branding, it may also be the new PR.

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4 comments
Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Have you seen evidence that PR is NOT embracing content marketing? In fact, I call myself a content marketer; are others not migrating to the new opportunities that social media breeds for the profession?

 

Maybe as a solopreneur, it's easier to be nimble and adopt and adapt very quickly. E.G. -- yesterday, I made my first landing page and wrote the actual content oriented to that call to action. Pretty exciting and I'm jazzed to put digital marketing into my mix.

 

Are most PR peeps doing such things? I hope so.

bowhite
bowhite

@Soulati | Hybrid PR I have to say, there are still PR people out there who think it's all about getting media hits. But the issue is, the clients think that too! I have spent a long time trying to educate clients, and I have only seen them really get on board in the past 12-18 months. I work mainly in professional and financial services, and they seem a lot more conservative and slow to change, compared to the more consumer-focused companies.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I see evidence every day that PR is NOT embracing content marketing. Look at your own inbox. How often are you pitched by PR pros who have NO idea who you are or what you write about? The big agencies have digital groups, but they represent less than 10% of total employees...and most are doing things such as SEO, social media, events, and crisis. One of my favorite questions to ask people working in these groups is what they do every day. It's rare I hear anything about content marketing or blogging.

Latest blog post: The Three Things, Edition 18

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong moderator

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Yes, I think its the same old cycle we saw several years ago with SEO, and later social. You are ahead of the game, and you are out there blogging and chatting and generally staying on top of things. Separately, there's another purpose for this point:  making the case for the rest of the marketing shop to understand what's at stake for the overall organization from a PR perspective in a content marketing context. 

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