Most businesses these days switch from traditional marketing to digital marketing to curtail costs and increase ROI. But the digital marketing strategies are yet to make traditional marketing strategies obsolete. Public relations (PR) is one of the conventional marketing strategies that are used widely by businesses in the age of digital marketing. Your business can easily boost the performance of content marketing campaigns by leveraging the benefits of PR.
Despite appearing identical, content marketing and PR differ from each other in several aspects. When you decide to add PR to your content marketing strategy, it becomes essential to understand what makes the traditional marketing strategy similar to and different from the new-age marketing strategy. Also, you should evaluate the financial benefits your organization can leverage by supporting content marketing with PR.
What is Content Marketing?
Dictionary.com describes content marketing as
“marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way.”
As the name suggests, content marketing is a form of digital marketing that focuses extensively on the creation, publication, distribution, and promotion of a variety of digital content. The content marketing strategies focus on influencing the purchase decisions of a targeted audience by delivering relevant, valuable, and informational content through multiple channels of communication.
Businesses launch different types of content marketing campaigns to relate and connect to different segments of customers. Hence, a content marketing campaign may focus on the creation, distribution, and promotion of a specific type of content – blogs, articles, videos, infographics, ebooks, case studies, whitepapers, newsletters, reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content.
According to a research paper released by the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers launch content marketing campaigns to attract and influence customers. At the same time, another research paper released by the Content Marketing Institute suggests that many B2C marketers launch content marketing campaigns with the aim to create brand awareness, educate customers, and building credibility.
What is Public Relations (PR)?
Wikipedia describes public relations (PR) as
“the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public in order to affect the public perception.”
Unlike other marketing strategies, PR strategies focus on maintaining a relationship with customers and improving a business’s public image. While launching PR campaigns, marketing professionals focus extensively on gaining positive media coverage. Also, they emphasize on enhancing credibility and exposure using mostly free media. Many businesses make PR an ongoing process to leverage a slew of benefits in the longer run.
Some businesses these days implement digital PR strategies, while others still implement traditional PR strategies. Both traditional and digital PR strategies aim to achieve the same objective. But traditional PR strategies leverage conventional media like newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. At the same time, digital PR strategies leverage digital communication sources like social media, websites, and blogs, along with traditional media outlets.
The performance or effectiveness of PR can be assessed using two different parameters – increase in sales revenue and improvement in a business’s reputation/credibility. That is why; PR professionals often find it challenging to measure the performance of PR campaigns accurately. They calculate ROI on PR campaigns using a slew of metrics – brand mentions, engagement, sentiment, reach, earner media value, and website traffic.
What Makes Content Marketing Different from PR?
PR is a traditional marketing strategy, while content marketing is a form of new-age digital marketing. Both PR and content marketing help businesses to get higher ROI in the longer run. That is why; many bloggers describe content marketing and PR as the two sides of the same coin. However, you must keep in mind the important differences between the marketing strategies to add PR to your content marketing strategy successfully.
It is common for businesses and brands to launch PR campaigns before a special event or occasion. They launch PR campaigns with the objective to gain more exposure and publicity through positive media coverage. But most businesses make content marketing an ongoing process to generate leads and boost sales continuously.
While launching PR campaigns, businesses create and distribute content related to a specific brand, product, service, or event. Hence, the content is written in a formal tone. But content marketing campaigns allow writers to experiment with many writing styles and tones. Content creators and writers further focus on conveying information about a product or service by keeping the readers interested, engaged, and entertained.
The PR campaigns always target a wider audience or the general public. But professionals create and distribute a variety of PR materials to target different audience segments. On the other hand, content marketing campaigns target the customers of a particular product, service, brand, or vertical. Content creators have to keep in mind the target audience while creating different types of content for marketing campaigns.
The PR campaigns always leverage free media. Hence, the businesses can launch PR campaigns without increasing ongoing costs. It still needs to hire PR professionals to launch and run the campaigns successfully. A business has to invest resources and funds to create a variety of digital content. But it can distribute and promote the content through both free and paid communication channels.
The decision-makers use different sets of metrics to measure the performance of PR and content marketing campaigns. They evaluate the performance of PR campaigns using metrics like brand mentions, press mentions, media placements, and impressions. But the decision-makers measure the performance of content marketing campaigns using important metrics like referral traffic, backlinks, conversion rate, and engagement rate.
Why Should You Add PR to Your Content Marketing Strategy?
Your business can generate leads and increase sales revenue by launching different types of content marketing campaigns. But you cannot achieve the preset marketing goals without making your content stand out from the crowd. You can easily make the content noticed by more customers and prospects by integrating PR as an integral aspect of content marketing strategies. You can leverage a slew of benefits by adding PR to your content marketing strategy.
Facilitate Idea Sharing
You can make content marketers and PR professionals work as a single team by including PR activities in your content marketing strategy. The integration will provide the content marketers and PR professionals with a consolidated platform to share ideas and discuss industry trends. The PR professionals will help content marketers to create superior content. Likewise, the ideas shared by content marketers will help PR professionals to make the materials more impactful.
Expand Content Outreach
You cannot run content marketing campaigns successfully without making the content stand out from the crowd. Your writers need to create unique and engaging content and marketers have to deliver the content through the right channels. PR strategies make it easier for your business to expand content outreach by publishing blogs and other content on popular and reputable websites. Your business can send unified brand messages to more customers and prospects through multiple communication channels.
Sustain Customer Relationships
The primary objective of PR campaigns is to sustain relationships with customers. The PR professionals will help content marketers to build relationships with many influencers and top journalists. The content marketers can publish high-quality content regularly by availing of the assistance of editors and influencers. Hence, your business can easily gain the trust of customers and sustain a relationship with customers by enhancing reputation and credibility.
Leverage New Communication Channels
While launching digital PR campaigns, PR professionals these days use a slew of new communication channels, including online newsrooms. They use online newsrooms as an important online source to distribute press releases and share messages from entrepreneurs/business owners. Content marketers can easily leverage these new communication channels by collaborating with PR professionals. Also, they can make PR campaigns more effective by providing PR professionals with original research and industry information.
Project Yourself as a Thought Leader
Many entrepreneurs and founders these days launch PR campaigns to build personal brands. The PR professionals build and sustain personal brands through interviews, speaking engagements, media coverage, and social media presence. The content marketers will help PR professionals to project you as a thought leader or influencer by providing original and insightful content. You can further enhance your personal image by distributing informative and insightful content through both PR and content marketing campaigns.
Boost SEO Campaigns
While launching PR campaigns, businesses create and distribute press releases regularly. But the PR professionals often lack the skill and expertise required to optimize the press releases for search engines. The content marketers will help PR professionals to boost the search visibility of press releases by implementing various white hat SEO techniques. Also, they can leverage the press releases as a powerful tool to build high-quality backlinks and divert more search traffic to the website.
Despite being a traditional marketing strategy, PR can make your content marketing strategies effective in generating more leads and drive sales conversion. But you have to eliminate the differences between the traditional and digital marketing strategies. Also, you must explore ways to embed PR activities seamlessly into your content marketing strategies.