You want to build trust with your audience and increase brand awareness.
Is it time to increase your PR budget, or would content marketing be a better investment?
That’s a trick question: The answer is both.
PR and content marketing work best when they’re working together. Because the terms “public relations” and “content marketing” can drum up about 100 different definitions and opinions on the tactics they involve, let’s quickly define what we’re discussing before we go further.
Public relations is the practice of getting others to write about your company, your leaders, or your products and services in a positive light. Content marketing is the practice of producing content (written, visual, video, audio, etc.) coming from experts within your company that educates and engages a specific audience and distributing that content to that audience.
Unfortunately, too many marketers focus on one over the other—frequently PR instead of content marketing. Reasons vary, but often it’s because content marketing is much more time-intensive and requires more ongoing involvement from various team members.
Any company can hire a PR firm to land it a few quotes or features here and there. A content marketing strategy that includes consistent guest posts, on-site blog content, long-form white papers, and ongoing newsletters that are all tied together can be a bit more to handle—especially when you consider that effective content marketing requires you to have something to say (and to say it well) if you’re going to educate and engage your audience.
All this investment in content pays off and does so over time—and not just in the ROI of the content itself. Content marketing can give your traditional PR efforts a boost, too.
Content generates press coverage, which fuels content
When an expert at your company consistently publishes content showcasing her (and, therefore, your company’s) expertise, people notice. Some of those people are journalists and contributors who can use your content as a jumping-off point to write about you or your company or quote you as an expert in their pieces.
Press coverage can multiply the effects of your terrific site content because it leads more people to it. For example, when your company earns a mention on a list of leaders in your industry—such as this one for content marketing companies —it can attract visitors. (Need proof? That one piece of PR alone has generated more than 15,000 visitors to our site.)
Incorporating content marketing and PR
An effective communications strategy incorporates both PR and content marketing—if you want to increase awareness and build trust with your target audience, you need different types of content that validate your company and educate your audience.
You need validation. PR offers the validation of someone speaking positively about your company. That’s what PR is, right? Someone—a journalist, a reporter, or another contributor—believes your brand is cool enough to feature in some way. Maybe it’s on a top 10 list, or maybe it’s through an interview with your CEO. Whatever form it takes, it’s someone outside your organization saying, “Hey, look at this company.”
Content marketing—specifically guest posting—provides the validation that your ideas are notable, too. Getting published in external publications your audience is reading demonstrates to your audience that an editor who’s not in charge of your own company blog thinks your ideas are worth sharing. This type of validation is incredibly important when you’re trying to build trust with your audience.
Your audience needs education. PR informs your audience about you and your company, which is key; you can’t start a conversation with people if they aren’t aware you exist.
Pairing this PR with content marketing enables you to educate your audience members and help them solve their problems. Consistent content allows you to go into more depth on these topics and teach your audience members how to address pain points—and even explain how a company like yours might help them.
Seeing the full benefits of these efforts requires you to do them together; your PR and content must be in alignment. When your content marketing and PR work in tandem, they multiply each other’s beneficial effects.
You’ll find that your own content is seen by more people who find it from the press you’re garnering, and you’ll start to notice journalists reach out for quotes and insights about topics you’ve written about in your content because they know you as an industry expert.
Your company will start to be revered as the industry leader it is because your audience will hear great things about you—and valuable things from you. It’s the best of both worlds.
Kelsey Meyer is the president of content marketing agency Influence & Co.