PR & Content Marketing - It Is Time To Tango!

Date:   Wednesday , August 17, 2016

A pioneer in India\'s PR domain, PRHUB analyzes the communication needs and goals of its clients and provides customized campaigns using both traditional news media and emerging digital & social media channels to create tangible momentum for our clients.

Content marketing and PR are twins bound by the umbilical cord at birth, and together, they make for a potent weapon in the marketing mix.

PR & Content Marketing At A Certain Level Are Just The Same

From my earliest days in PR, first with MelCole and later with Weber Shandwick, to my 13 years as an entrepreneur now, most of what PR professionals do, centers around content. It is just that we didn\'t call these (pitches, press releases, fact sheets, backgrounders, media kits, contributed articles and CEO speeches)\'content\' then, but that\'s precisely what it was. The only change today is that we can all connect directly with audiences and build a community through self-publishing, in an easy and cost-effective manner.

Engaging Content = Effective PR

One of the most effective ways to elevate your profile is to establish yourself as a reliable source of perspectives, insights and expertise. The more quality content you put out over a period of time and higher the number of followers you are able to influence through it, the more your brand gains; not just getting attention, but also quality leads. Being connected and visible on social channels increasingly impacts traditional PR positively, such that your views are many a times picked up as inputs into stories or journalists/editors reach out to you because they see you as an opinion or thought leader on a certain subject. If I can go one step further, it is easy to surmise that \'Content is key to building social relationships that can boost earned media\". A pingback is more likely to earn a response than an e-mail pitch.

PR Needs To Move Beyond Its Earned Media Addiction & Push Mentality

Traditionally, PR is wired to a push mentality - making a \'push\' to launch a new product, concept or an initiative. Content marketing on the other hand, strives to create a \'pull\'. Let us face it; connecting with and creating value with many niche influencers, whether they be journalists covering a specific topical beat or a passionate blogger with an engaged community, can be as impactful as a hit with a mainstream publication. Further, leveraging earned media will help you narrowcast or amplify its reach to the relevant TG, which is worth every marketing penny spent.

Place Equal Focus On Consumers As Much As Journalists & Influencers

PR has always focused on understanding journalists and then influencers more than end consumers. It is time we started understanding who the consumers are, what drives them,and other consumer aspects. This knowledge or insights gained then allows you to plan content that is of interest or is useful for the consumers. And consumers having turned publishers, there is always the opportunity of a journalist or influencer being reached as well, not to mention the power of directly engaging and conversing with consumers.

Become The Media (Owned Media)

At PRHUB, we embraced social and digital as part of our integrated push, earlier and more deeply. As I did this deep dive over the past 2-3 years, it has become apparent that \'Owned media\' is the way to go for any brand. With a good plan, sustained investment and great content, any brand or company can aspire to get there. If we can move beyond being a gate keeper to content, to a creator, driver and generator of content, we have the power to sit at the decision table as we know consumers and possess the power/ability to reach and engage them directly. Infact, there are examples like American Express and General Mills, who are able to monetize marketing editorial with external advertisers and syndication. In essence, it is all about creating more owned assets which attract, engage and inspire earned and shared media. Those same assets can work with paid media for customer acquisition objectives as well.

PR Professionals Who Reskill Themselves Are The Best Content Marketers One Can Ask For

We are used to creating content for decades now, and are diverse ones at that. Some of us, savvier, have also done blog posts, creating infographics or even SEO tuned online press releases. If we add content planning, community engagement and social asset/content promotion into our skillsets, I bet we make better content marketers simply because we already understand the nuances of messaging and brand persona building.

PR-Content Marketing Integration Makes For The Most Potent Weapon In The Marketing Mix

There is an explosion of content out there, making it nearly impossible for any content to stand out. And what is the value and even purpose of content creation if it is not seen by your target audience? The only way content can stand out is by being visible. Just imagine, if the content gets picked up by a leading print or TV outlet or even a major blogger or a social influencer with a million following? As PR professionals, all we need to do is to extend our focus to the new age influencers to encourage editors, journalists and influencers to give the content, the powerful boost it needs to go viral.

Integration of content marketing with PR can empower the role of PR to have greater and more significant impact on bottom line business goals. By providing news content that traditional sources are not, brands are creating new connections with their communities and customers. While much of content marketing falls under the realm of corporate marketing, the expertise in messaging, content creation and media relations that PR professionals bring to the table are highly relevant. It is time for PR and content marketing to tango, in the larger interests of brands and consumers.