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Lee Odden

How Public Relations & Communications Can Win the Content Marketing Race

By Lee Odden     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Online PR, PR Conferences, Public Relations

Public Relations Content MarketingIn today’s fast moving search and social web, content flows in every direction throughout a variety of platforms, formats and devices.

With a global population of over 7 billion, there are over 2.3 billion internet users. More importantly, there are 6.7 billion mobile subscribers – 91% market penetration (source). Ubiquitous internet access is enabling consumers and brands alike to create, consume, publish, interact and transact – anytime, anywhere.

At the same time, “newsrooms have 30% fewer reporters than in 2000, which corresponds with 31% of US adults that have stopped turning to a news outlet because it no longer provided them with the news they were accustomed to getting.” (Contently)

Brands are answering the call to create more value for customers by publishing news and content marketing. In fact, 86% of BtoC and 91% of BtoB organizations are now using content marketing tactics.

As companies adopt a publisher model of content and media creation, many are beginning to rival the reach and influence of the publications in their industry. Amex OPEN Forum and General Mills’ Tablespoon are great examples of this.

What do these changes mean for Public Relations and Communications professionals? How is PR competitively positioned compared to marketing and advertising in a content centric web? Read on for answers to these questions and more.

By providing news content that traditional sources are not, brands are creating new connections with their communities and customers. While much of content marketing falls under the realm of corporate marketing, the expertise in messaging, content creation and media relations that many Public Relations professionals bring to the table can offer a competitive advantage in 3 key areas:

Storytelling

There’s an old expression that has held true for me over the past 15 years: “Facts tell, stories sell”. Content Marketing is the ability to tell brand stories that consumers and the media will care about. Who better to find and tell those stories than PR and Communications pros?

It is often said that people make decisions based on emotion but justify them with logic. Therein lies the intersection of PR and content marketing. Stories can connect with customers on an emotional level and the architected narrative of content marketing can provide a vehicle for both facts and stories that matter to your customers.

Editorial Based Marketing

Before “content marketing” became the catchphrase, I used to call what our Marketing/PR agency did “editorial based marketing”. PR professionals understand how news organizations work. Businesses are investing in content from planning to production to editorial. Corporate Journalism is on the rise and PR professionals are perfectly capable of fulfilling those functions or supporting them to create compelling brand content. Content designed to engage also inspires action – whether it’s a social share, a purchase, a referral or an inquiry to do a story.

Influencer Marketing

Working with industry and media influencers has been the stock and trade of media relations professionals for years. Numerous tools from Traackr to Klout to Kred can support the need to identify influencers based on their ability to affect action – not just high follower counts. PR professionals are well positioned to identify and engage influencers for a variety of content marketing based outcomes ranging from guest blog posts to co-creation of content with industry thought leaders.

Now more than ever, creating content that influences growth in market awareness and new business requires an integrated approach. While this has been a challenge for many PR professionals as marketing and PR functions converge, the good news is that through a model of Attract, Engage and Convert, organizations can better plan, implement and optimize the performance of their content based PR programs.

At the upcoming PRSA Digital Impact conference in New York (Friday June 28, 3:15pm), I’ll be discussing details of this approach along with tactics and examples in a presentation: “Attract, Engage and Convert: How PR Can Get Ahead With Content Marketing“.  The 3 key areas I’ll be covering include:

  • See a company successfully integrating digital marketing and public relations.
  • Get five best practices for 360-degree content marketing and digital public relations.
  • Find tools for better content planning, management and amplification.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Is your company integrating public relations and communications with content marketing? Are you making investments in corporate journalism and are those efforts working in tandem with both PR and Marketing objectives?

Photo: Shutterstock


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