When done the right way, press releases can still have value, but the internet and the rise of practices like content marketing have transformed the relationship between brands and audiences. The latter expects more value from their relationships with the former and demands authenticity from the brands they trust.
Shameless self-promotion may not fly in today’s world, but brands can still use PR to their advantage – it just needs to be done in a way that is genuine and actually helps the audience, too. When practiced properly, PR can increase visibility, secure the credibility that comes with coverage from an outside publication, and position a brand as a leader.
That’s where content marketing comes in.
The goal of both content marketing and public relations is to improve a brand’s image by offering content that shows the audience what makes a company credible and trustworthy. While PR looks to increase visibility through outside sources, content marketing looks to boost a brand’s reputation from within.
These strategies clearly are not the same, and neither one can replace the other. However, they can work together to inform an approach to communicating with the audience.
Content marketing is all about conveying authenticity and providing actual value to audiences, which makes it a perfect complement to successful PR.
Here are three essential lessons from content marketing that can help improve a brand’s PR strategy.
Build the brand as an industry leader
Building relationships in PR is no easy feat. Media contacts receive countless emails and daily calls, all from people trying to get their company’s name in front of the public. One tried-and-true method to setting a brand apart – and getting it noticed – is positioning it as an expert in its particular industry.
Emails from experts are much more valued than those that come from just another PR pro – especially if the editor or journalist doesn’t know the pro.
PR has emerged as an amazing tool, not just for people in communications and positions of leadership but sales, marketing, recruiting, and even engineering. PR can help amplify leaders in all areas, which can result in some amazing opportunities.
Prioritize audience value
It’s easy for PR professionals to focus on their own companies. When the job is getting the company’s name out there, the PR pro will want to do everything possible to make the company look good and demonstrate all the great things about it. Unfortunately, what PR wants to say may not always align with what the audience wants or needs to hear.
PR has emerged as an amazing tool, not just for people in comms and positions of leadership but sales, marketing, recruiting, and engineering
In fact, according to The State of Digital Media 2018, a survey of online publication editors conducted by Influence & Co., 79% of editors say the content they’re pitched is too self promotional, and 56% say it’s not relevant to their readership.
“These contacts at online publications are basically saying that what’s landing in their inboxes may be helpful to the brands that sent those pitches, but they’re not valuable to their audiences,” acknowledges John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co.
When the role of the PR department is to hype the company in any way it can, the idea of prioritizing value to the audience might seem counterintuitive. But when working with media contacts to obtain press coverage for the brand, PR communicators must remember to consider the end reader. Offering relevant, valuable content to the reader will generate better and longer-lasting relationships with editors and journalists.
Distribute, distribute, distribute
Without effective distribution, content marketing is worthless. Creating great content is only half the battle; you need to know how to put it in front of your audience. The same goes for PR.
The “If you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work when it relates to a company’s communication efforts. Simply landing a press mention or feature about a company won’t generate any brand awareness, credibility, or engagement if no one in the target audience actually sees that content.
Earning a press mention only to sit on it when it goes live is a waste of time. With so many ways to distribute content and maximize the value of the press earned, the method of dissemination is less important than just getting the word out there. This not only helps relationships with media contacts by driving traffic to their sites but also improves the brand’s visibility.
Offering relevant, valuable content to the reader will generate better and longer-lasting relationships with editors and journalists
With the PR and marketing worlds diverging, it’s more important than ever that these two groups learn from each other and work together. If PR can steal a page from the content marketing playbook, it can achieve increased visibility, more successful content, and overall better results, even in this time of shifting audience expectations.
Want to learn how to make content that audiences want to read?
Download: Make Killer Content_Write Like a Journalist in 15 Ways blog.