PR is typically associated with press releases, splashy stunts, big announcements, and reputation management. Content marketing, on the other hand, is often seen as a mundane activity that churns out information in an attempt to utilize links, keywords, and SEO to generate search engine traffic.
You might think otherwise, but these two are closely linked in several ways. In fact, if PR teams want to keep succeeding in the ever-evolving digital landscape, they should take their cue from content marketing compatriots. Here’s why.
A Shared Focus on the Top of the Sales Funnel
It doesn’t take much digging to realize that content marketing and PR are largely focused on the same thing: the sales funnel. Not only that, but they’re both particularly interested in the earlier parts of the funnel, which, in a nutshell, consists of four distinct sections or phases:
- Awareness: At this stage, customers become aware of their needs as well as the fact that they need a solution.
- Research: At this stage, customers discover the various solutions available.
- Consideration: At this stage, customers weigh the options and hopefully discover that yours is the best value and price.
- Purchase: At this stage, customers make a decision and complete the purchasing transaction.
While most traditional marketing tends to focus on the latter half of this funnel, both content marketing and PR thrive in the first stage or two. While PR efforts are often meant to increase awareness with a variety of tactics, content marketing is aimed at providing enticing, interesting, and educational content that is typically aimed towards consumer questions and the need to find a solution.
In other words, PR and content marketing tactics may often look different in the way that they are executed. However, they have a distinctly shared interest in kickstarting the sales process by generating awareness and disseminating information. This makes them ideal bedfellows in the long run.
PR’s Evolution Makes a Content Crossover Essential
In many ways, traditional PR has become increasingly focused on the newer concept of online reputation management. Even for larger companies that are in the public spotlight, the Internet has become a crucial communications channel that can make or break everything from your brand image to your overall marketing strategy.
This evolution of the focal point of PR has created an inevitable cross-over with the newer marketing phenomenon of creating content. One of the primary goals of content is to establish authority for a company or a brand. Quality content serves to establish the reputation of a particular entity as a thought-leader in its particular industry or niche.
For example, if a cybersecurity company creates content, it could focus on potential online threats or the best cybersecurity software available. If an educational curriculum company creates content, it could focus on a demonstration of why certain subjects are important in school or highlight learning methods that are utilized within their curriculum.
Regardless of the specific field, content marketing tends to focus on demonstrating why the creators of a particular piece of content are worthy of speaking authoritatively on the subject. This helps to establish a reputation for knowledge and makes them appear as a genuine source of knowledge, information …and bonafide solutions.
This shared desire for PR and content marketing to manage and improve an organization’s online reputation is yet another reason that the two teams should collaborate and take their cue from one another.
Both PR and Content Marketing Leverage Social Media and Influencers
Collaboration between PR and content marketing teams is particularly important in areas where both marketing strategies tend to operate simultaneously.
For instance, social media is an ideal way for both PR and content teams to position a company as a thought leader. When working together, PR teams can use content from their own site to accentuate their social media presence. The ability to offer quality content as a solution in a social media interaction can add a tremendous amount of weight to an otherwise shallow, 160 character response.
Influencers are another area where both content and PR tactics intersect. PR teams use individuals such as journalists and social media influencers to spread awareness and positive messages about their business. When a PR team equips influencers with its company’s content marketing collateral, in particular, accomplishes two things:
- It shows the influencers, themselves, that your company is a capable and knowledgeable authority in your industry.
- It provides the influencers with quality content that they can share with their audiences to back up their endorsement of your brand.
While PR practitioners can learn a lot from modern content strategy, in general, these lessons are particularly effective in areas where both teams tend to operate side by side.
Using Content in PR Increases Efficiency
Finally, there’s the simple-yet-powerful fact that content and PR naturally complement each other when it comes to content creation.
For instance, PR teams can collaborate with content creators to produce quality visuals and infographics. This content then serves two purposes: the content marketing team can use it for its digital campaigns, while the PR team can use it in its presentations and materials. This naturally brings together both teams to cultivate and enhance a consistent image, tone, style, and quality of your brand in the minds of consumers.
Additionally, one of the biggest goals of content creation is to enhance search engine optimization (SEO) and, by extension, increase traffic to a company’s website. By sharing quality content as part of a PR campaign (in a dedicated newsroom, for example), you naturally help to achieve this goal by generating traffic to various pieces of content.
Need a few more reasons? See why PR & content marketing should go hand in hand.
PR and Content — a Match Made in Heaven
Public relations and content marketing are both intimately connected in the modern online marketing-focused world. They intersect in multiple areas, like social media and influencer marketing, and share common goals, such as the desire to establish brand authority and lead potential customers to the top of the sales funnel.
With so much in common, PR teams should take their relatively-new content-creating counterparts seriously. Not only that, but they must be willing to glean new information and marketing lessons from the content portion of their marketing department.
This willingness to collaborate creates a synergistic effect that can improve your company’s marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to spreading brand awareness as well as generating new leads in the sales process.
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