Content marketing remains a fantastic way to engage an audience and grow a brand. Recent research from Content Marketing Institute found that 91 percent of B2B marketers practice content marketing, indicating the benefits are well worth the budget. Whether you are looking at CMI stats or reading the latest content marketing books, it’s somewhat clear there’s a lot of value investing in a complete content marketing strategy.
As a longtime advocate of content and the leader of a content marketing agency, I’m obviously thrilled to see it enriching so many organizations and their audiences — but there’s one thing that still kind of bugs me: The same companies practicing content marketing often separate it from public relations. This is dangerous thinking.
Without a PR strategy alongside it, your content marketing is incomplete. Great content falls flat or goes unnoticed, while new audiences who might otherwise be interested in your brand don’t have a way to build trust with it and end up shying away. Even among companies blending both approaches, outdated PR practices are far more common than more effective modern strategies.
It’s time for companies to take the next step in content marketing. By acknowledging major trends in PR and building a stronger, more up-to-date PR strategy, your brand can get more from its content marketing and position itself as a trusted expert in your industry.
PR AND CONTENT MARKETING IN HARMONY
A good PR strategy establishes your brand positively in the public eye. Through modern PR tactics and campaigns, you reach new audiences, expand brand awareness, and benefit from the credibility of whoever wrote about you.
Content marketing transforms that reputation into revenue. By developing useful, educational content and delivering it to engaged audiences, content marketers generate stronger leads, nurture prospects through the sales cycle, and establish company leaders as authoritative voices in the industry.
The thing is, as content like this has increased in practice, audience expectations have begun to shift. Old-school PR tactics that resulted in blatantly self-promotional, self-serving write-ups don’t interest audiences anymore; authentic messaging and truly valuable, helpful content do.
That’s why PR today is much more about providing value to audiences and forming mutually beneficial partnerships with the influencers, contributors, and thought leaders who can help you reach those audiences.
Modern PR can help meet everyone’s goals: You get your brand mentioned by a publication contributor your audience trusts; this contributor gets access to valuable content her audience will love; and your shared audience finds value in this content that mentions you. Pair that kind of PR with the ongoing education and engagement that content marketing offers, and your digital marketing strategy will be impressive.
HAND IN HAND: HOW PR AND CONTENT MARKETING WORK TOGETHER
Few things make business leaders happier than logging into social or checking their favorite publications and seeing themselves quoted on a trending topic. Press mentions are just that — references to your company or its leaders in reputable, third-party publications by trustworthy contributors or influencers.
Through PR opportunities like these, brands can strengthen their credibility and add weight to their content marketing initiatives. Here’s how it works:
PR establishes trust with new audiences.
Which person will more people believe: someone who claims to be an expert, or someone others in the industry refer to as an expert?
Claiming authority for yourself without anyone’s else validation is like giving yourself a nickname. People will be suspicious, and the strategy won’t catch on. Rather than toot your own horn, you should build relationships with other thought leaders and contributors whose audiences align with yours. What value you can offer them?
When you collaborate with others in your space and do press-worthy things in your industry, you can begin earning mentions that validate your brand and get you in front of new audiences who will be more willing to trust you.
Content continuously engages those audiences.
As your brand is mentioned by the press, audiences will naturally search to learn more about you. What they see when they make that dive often determines how their relationship with the company will evolve.
If you don’t have any content out there coming from you or others in your company, that trust quickly dissolves. Marketers must keep a steady stream of engaging content flowing to take advantage of the boosts that PR offers and keep audiences interested beyond the first impression.
The best marketing strategists can’t see the future, but they are prepared for whatever comes next. PR strategies pave the roads upon which effective content marketing drives prospects through the sales funnel. By understanding this relationship and actively combining PR efforts with content production, brands can turn their existing resources into more leads, more sales, and more revenue.
John Hall is the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a company focused on helping brands and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to gain influence, visibility, and credibility with their key audiences. In less than three years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one of the largest providers of high-quality expert content to the world’s top publications. John is a keynote speaker and the author of “Top of Mind.” You can book John to speak here.