Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Public Relations and Content Marketing

In Ideas on April 22, 2009 at 10:50 am

As I was headed in to work the other day, my thoughts focused on how Taylor, the agency I work, for is constantly evolving. We’re such a different company than we were a few years ago. Part of that  is due to some pretty forward thinking by the management, and some is due to external factors. The rise of consumer-generated media, distributed content and the ‘blink of an eye’ news cycle have all been influences.

I’m a big fan of Joe Pulizzi and his Junta42 group as well. They’re all about content marketing and I think Joe will be nodding his head and smiling at what I’m about to say:

PR agencies should think of themselves as content marketing agencies.

Whether it’s a press release, website, media tour, podcast or live event, what we, as marketing communications practitioners, are doing is marketing content. I believe looking at it this way reframes what it is we do for clients. It’s more of a mindset than a completely different skillset.

Content is King

Right now, and perhaps more than ever, content is king.  Two weeks ago the name Susan Boyle would have elicited blank stares.  50+ million YouTube views later and she’s an international talking point. Britain’s Got Talent, and YouTube’s Got Content.  Today, nothing is (or at least nothing should be) ‘one time usage.’ TV appearances live on the web, live events are Tweeted and your brand makes friends on Facebook. It’s all content. Everything your brand produces is content.

Now, rather than simply execute a PR campaign, agencies should be in the business of strategic content management.  That’s something brands simply can’t back away from. You can kill a stand-alone PR program, but to take a pass on leveraging and maximizing your brand’s content is to simply announce, “We’ve given up. Let us know when the early-90s come back.”

Content Marketing: Five Reasons You Should Be Doing It

1. Content marketing is constant

So often traditional PR relies on a “big launch” then it fades away. Strategic content marketing is ongoing, with a focus on keeping the consumers engaged beyond ‘opening weekend’ or the ‘Big Game.’

2. Content marketing is authentic

Content marketing isn’t about synergistically leveraging the best-in-class this, or the enterprise-wide, value-added that. It’s about providing consumers with information they want to share and engage with.

3. Content marketing is through-the-line

Audio, video, text, images – all of it can be repurposed to extend the life of the content across multiple platforms.  People don’t find news anymore, news finds them. The brands that break through are the ones that strategically leverage content by serving it up to consumers where, when and how they want it.

4. Content marketing is self-propogating

A traditional PR program involves hiring a celebrity spokesperson, setting up interviews and then recording audience figures. Content marketing involves repackaging the interviews, hosting them yourself across multiple platforms, but also encouraging others to host and publish additional content based on the original.  When your content generates related, original, organic content you win.

5. Content marketing is cost-effective

You’ve already hired the spokesperson, created the event or filmed the commercial. Your sunk costs are just that, so for a relatively minimal investment, put some additional muscle behind the initiative and extend the length of the program indefinitely. Or, if you can’t afford the $600,000 broadcast commercial, put a fraction of that money towards initiating and supporting direct consumer interaction via Social Media platforms (that’s content too).

The public relations agency is evolving rapidly and the lines are so blurry at this point that anyone can lay claim to authority if they are smart, nimble and can get the job done. I used to say that I think agencies needed to be in the Smart Idea business, now I think agencies need to be in the Strategic Content Marketing business.

Plus Two More Reasons

Speaking of Joe Pulizzi, here’s some additional thoughts from him on content marketing:

1. Content Marketing (at its best) wants to be shared.  Companies should measure each piece of content by how much they feel their customers will share and spread the ideas (this clears away the BS content about the company that no one wants to engage in).

2. Content Marketing is an asset that lives on forever through Google and other sites.  So often, in PR programs, it’s about renting time and attention.  Content marketing is about creating a long-term relationship, and also content that can be found by customers long after the initial buzz is gone.

For more on the conversion of Content Marketing and PR, check out this post from PR 20/20 and this from The Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni

  1. Rick,

    Couldn’t agree more. PR agencies that recognize the opportunities in content marketing will be in an excellent position moving forward.

    Great post, and thanks for the mention!


  2. Thanks for the mention Rick. The transformation over the next few years in the PR industry will be significant – with those who survive being expert content producers for their clients. I honestly don’t see any other way around this.

    Keep up the great work Rick.

  3. […] few weeks ago I wrote about content marketing and I think this sits on top of that notion. What sort of content are you marketing? Are you […]

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