(Editor's note: To ensure you have the latest information, we have updated this popular post)
Both content marketing and public relations can alone make the difference between meh and stellar results. But combine the two and you can hit it out of the park. Let's consider why PR and content marketing are a good combination, and how you can use the two effectively to bolster your strategy.
But first, let's consider what some pessimists say about using PR to create content and consider the facts underlying this discussion.
Public Relations: Friend or Foe of Content Marketing?
Public relations and content marketing have worked together for years now, empowering companies to reach their various goals.
However, some critics of this union have claimed that PR and content marketing have vastly different goals. They say that the quality of content suffers when it is produced by a PR person.
How do they come to this conclusion?
Ann Gynn of The Content Marketing Institute addressed this very issue in a recent blog post. The overall theme of her post is that PR is limited to awareness, while content marketing does all the heavy lifting in terms of getting leads. She even goes so far as to say that "Your content marketing dies a little each time you only used PR-centered metrics."
Is this true? Not one bit!
Why do I say this?
When we take a closer look at her argument, we find a major hole: her definition of PR.
PR today, especially on the B2B side, is so much more than awareness. It spans all stages of the sales funnel, from awareness, to leads, to conversion. Gynn severely underestimates the role that PR plays within a company, as well as within content marketing.
Before we even heard the term "content marketing," it was PR that handled content strategy. From the very beginning, PR has strategically used content marketing (though we may have called it PR) to boost a company's reputation and encourage sales. This has intrinsically linked these two fields and made PR professionals uniquely qualified to rock at content marketing.
Let's think for a moment about what PR campaigns do for a brand. For starters, PR helps brands to...
- Reach new audiences
- Expand brand awareness
- Establish credibility
- Build trust
These are the very same things that you need in your content marketing strategy.
Bottom line: PR and content marketing are harmonious and companies need to start using them together.
Exactly how do public relations and content marketing work together to reach your company's goals? Let's check out a few tactics that you should know.
8 Proven Ways That PR and Content Marketing Work Together
1. Amplify Content
Publishing content without the right amplification is like shooting a missile with faulty radar -- the chances of its reaching your audience (and converting them) is slim to none.
PR can be used to precision target your audience and make your content more likely to reach and affect them.
First, PR pros know how to determine which subjects are going interest their audience -- what trends are hot and what holes exist on the content front.
Second, they know where to reach their audience for the greatest amplification. This includes what publications their audience reads and how to interact with journalists in order to get their company the visibility it needs.
2. Create a Consistent Brand Message
Whether you are reading this from a strictly marketing or public relations perspective, you no doubt know how imperative it is for your company to have a consistent brand message. Why is this important? The more people who are exposed to your brand and the more often they see it, the more it will stay top of mind and slowly build their confidence in your brand and its reputation.
What role does PR play in this? PR is suited to represent a brand's personality, values, identity, and even value propositions to its audience. Given that PR has this messaging locked down, PR pros can use their expertise to weave this messaging skillfully and consistently throughout the content they create.
PR pros have their finger on the pulse of industry trends and know how to positively influence audiences. Being privy to such perceptions and insights is key to creating content that resonates with an audience and fills a need.
3. Find Content Inspiration in Forums
Having trouble finding what to write about? Look into what people in your industry are talking about on such forums as Reddit, Quora, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
This is a great way to find out what is on the minds of your audience.
For instance, if you find a question that someone posts that doesn't have a clear or helpful answer, you can prepare content that fills that need.
You can also see what topics are being shared most often on social media and create your own take on it.
4. Know and Use What's Hot
With the right PR person by your side, you can see what stories are hot in your industry and run with it.
Some people see a trending headline and shrug it off as a missed opportunity -- but with the right know-how and and tools, you can expand on that story and ride the wave of the trend.
Look at trending stories and find ways that you can improve on them. There are a variety of ways you can do this, including:
- Using new data
- Using interviews
- Taking a new angle on it
- Creating your own survey
- Going more in-depth into the subject matter
5. Boost Your SEO
If you haven't yet, you need to start using SEO for content marketing. And PR is well-positioned to help companies boost their search engine rankings and online visibility.
For instance, B2B PR professionals can use their connections and expertise to create links back to their site from high-authority sites, including media outlets. Their focus on earned and owned content can add powerful links back to your site and boost your overall authority.
Press releases are another way that PR pros can boost online awareness. While links in press releases no longer carry SEO weight, press releases remain in the search engines and can enhance your online credibility and visibility.
6. Nurture Journalist and Influencer Relations
Influencers and journalists are not a once-and-done tool, to be thrown back into the gardening shed once they've served their purpose. On the contrary, as years go on, we see the need to nurture relationships over the long haul -- and PR knows how to do so.
PR professionals know how to pitch to journalists and influencers in a way that attracts them to a company and makes the relationship mutually beneficial.
Influencers can be a powerful force for content marketing. Consider co-branding content with an influencer or using influencers strategically to expand the scale of your content. Earned media can also be an effective way of expanding the reach of your content marketing. We try to get journalists to link back to owned content in a synergistic use of earned and owned media.
The benefits of journalists and influencers are undeniable. First, it gives you access to their vast audience. Second, especially with influencers, it gives you a nod of approval from experts that can be a powerful impetus for conversions.
7. Establish Trust with Your Audience
At any given moment there are myriads of pieces of content taking up space on the internet -- even for specific industries like yours. What makes someone turn to your content and business instead of another?
Trust is a motivating factor in a number of ways. Trust that your content is true and reliable. Trust that your content is high quality. Trust that your expertise sets your content apart. Trust that your business and values are a good fit for your audience.
All of these trust factors create a loyal audience.
And trust is one area where PR excels. PR pros know how to put you in the best light, as well as how to use your expertise and industry prowess to best advantage.
Here are a few PR tactics that naturally garner trust:
- Earned press mentions
- Case studies
- Promoting your awards
- Collaboration with other experts
8. Become a Thought Leader
Thought leadership is an excellent example of the intersection between public relations and content marketing. Public relations can help you to develop your personal brand as a thought leader through such things as speaking engagements, messaging, and social media.
Once you're a thought leader, it helps your content marketing to reach new heights.
People will be at the edge of their seats to see what you have to say about anything that touches your industry. They will be eager to follow the developments of your brand and what you have to offer.
Ultimately, to ignore the power of PR in your content marketing strategy is to severely limit the abilities and reach of your content. Don't make this mistake. Whether you're a solo B2B content marketer or work within a B2B content marketing agency, it's important to use PR to empower your content marketing strategy.
Handpicked Related Content