I believe that PR and content marketing are perfect partners.
- Both are strategic marketing approaches that help you to promote your business
- Both are geared towards building trust and authority
- Both PR and content marketing, done well, help to present you or your brand or products/services in a positive light
- And, they both help to raise awareness of the fact that you exist, who you help and how you help them.
A career in PR and content creation
For several years now, I have considered myself as much a content marketing consultant as I am a PR consultant.
Although my career began in traditional PR, I’ve actually been creating content and helping my clients to market themselves using content long before the phrase ‘content marketing’ was coined.
As a communications graduate starting out in my PR career 15 years ago, my day-to-day work in my first PR job was predominantly focussed on media relations. My task was to pick out the newsworthy stories within my clients’ businesses and trying to get these featured in the media.
Local newspaper, magazine, radio and TV coverage was the goal.
And when successful, the PR coverage helped to:
- raise my client’s profiles,
- build awareness,
- position them as experts in their industries,
- attract prospective clients to their businesses,
- increase sales of products or services,
- and got bums-on-seats at events.
But even back then, the role of a PR consultant wasn’t limited to media relations.
The role also usually involves creating complementary written content for consumer or B2B audiences as well. For example, in the form of newsletters, information guides, expert Q&A interviews, copy for our client’s websites etc.
Creative content creation was at the heart of our PR activities then and it has been a big part of every job I’ve had since. And content creation and content marketing continue to be a big part of what I do now, alongside the more traditional PR aspects of my work.
Bringing content marketing and PR together
Therefore, in my mind, it makes complete sense to bring PR and content marketing together rather than considering these two approaches as separate.
Which is why I offer integrated communications services – i.e. both PR and content creation/content marketing – in my business.
I use PR AND content marketing to promote my client’s businesses. And to promote my own business. In fact, I’m as equally focussed on creating and marketing engaging content for my clients as I am on securing media publicity.
Why PR and content marketing work so well together
PR is about managing your reputation. Good content does the same!
Businesses use PR as a way of managing how they are perceived.
As business owners, we use PR with the aim of presenting ourselves and our products or services in the best possible light. We want to make a positive impression and to positively affect how people perceive us. PR helps us to achieve that.
When it comes to content creation, I believe that content marketers need to think like PR people.
If you have poor quality content on your website, that may be very well optimised for search but that isn’t your best work, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
Readers/viewers of your content will discover your blogs/vlogs and quickly make an assumption about you and your credibility based on the content that you put out. Which is why it’s important to be PR-savvy when it comes to creating content.
The thought process should always be, ‘does this help to show me or my company in the best possible light?’. If not, don’t hit publish. Don’t share poor quality content. You could be doing your business more harm than good.
PR can help you get more eyes on your content
Another reason why I believe PR and content marketing should be brought together is that PR, being a promotional strategy, is a way of getting visibility and more eyeballs on your content.
Regular PR articles and press mentions will help boost your profile. It will also help you stay top-of-mind and will, in turn, help more people discover you and your content.
More eyes on your content mean an increased likelihood of gaining fans, followers, subscribers and, ultimately, customers. So, PR can play an important supporting role in your overall content marketing strategy.
Content can lead to PR opportunities
Creating interesting, informative blog or video content, and publishing that on your website and sharing it with your audience, can sometimes be all it takes for someone in the media world to notice you.
If that person is a journalist, blogger, media producer or influencer and they consider the content newsworthy and interesting enough, they may decide to use it. Or may ask you to contribute to an article or programme they’re working on.
So, your content could lead to media coverage and thereby help your message reach a wider audience.
N.B. Actually, it is often much harder to achieve PR coverage than this, but I’m highlighting this as a possibility – it does happen!
You can help yourself get found by sharing your content widely online. But what’s key here is that the content is high quality enough in the first place to provoke interest.
- PR pros have long known that opinions – if particularly controversial or divisive – can be a great way to attract media attention. The media love polarising views that will encourage debate and engagement from their audiences.
So, for example, if you share an opinion within your own content that is particularly controversial or that sparks a lot of debate online, you could be increasing your chances of getting noticed by the media. Which in turn could lead to free media publicity.
- Similarly, if your product or service is brand new or a particularly ground-breaking solution to a problem, and you’ve referred to this in your content which is then read and shared widely online, then it’s feasible that it could potentially fall in the lap of relevant journalists.
Journalists are always looking for a story. The next big thing. Your content could become the source of a story that they want to cover.
By creating content that isn’t just self-congratulatory waffle but is instead useful content that people actually want to read (the central premise of content marketing), and which gets noticed by a member of the press, you could potentially be seeing yourself featured in their publication or on their radio show sometime soon!
This is clearly a positive step that would boost your visibility. Having the press feature you is also a boost for your credibility and helps to position you as an expert or authority in your field.
PR coverage is a content opportunity
I’m a believer in the notion that everything is a content opportunity.
Securing media publicity about yourself or your business is a great excuse for creating marketing content that will help to spread the word further.
By creating either video or written content mentioning and linking to the article (if a direct link is available), you can increase the reach of it and potentially grow your influence further.
It’s one of the things I always do when my clients are featured in the media.
I aim to leverage the opportunity as much as possible; repurposing the PR content into blog articles, social media posts, newsletters, tweetables, social media graphics, comment pieces etc.
This will help to keep the conversation around your press article or radio airtime going.
Both content and PR can boost your SEO
Content marketers know that great content delivers value to the intended audience but also ranks well for target keyword phrases so that it can be found in organic search.
Press releases, when published online, can also help with your visibility. They can include inbound links to your website, helping to drive traffic. And they can be optimised for specific keyword phrases.
Plus, any resulting online media coverage may also include your target keyword phrases and can help with your SEO if a backlink to your website is included.
6. Consistency of brand messaging
Finally, it’s really important that the messages you put out on your website, in your marketing content, on your social media and in your PR pitches and press releases are aligned.
Your brand voice – the style and tone of your communications – needs to be consistent in order to present your company in a cohesive way.
A company with a consistent brand voice projects their messages in a unified way and is more likely to win the trust of the people it’s targeting.
Which is why PR and content marketing teams should work together and sing off the same hymn sheet, so to speak.
In a small business, there is less risk that your brand voice differs since you’ll likely be the sole voice of the business or you only have a small team of people who manage the communications for the company.
But it is still worth recognising that consistency is needed across both PR and content, as it is also needed across social media and your other marketing channels.
My clients are professional photographers who recognise that there is value in both PR and content marketing. If they hadn’t realised it before working with me, my hope is that they soon discover the many benefits of an integrated PR and content marketing approach to promoting their photography businesses.