PR or Content Marketing?

Jan 30, 2014

By Tamara Franklin

In developing your marketing budget for 2014, your organization may ask the question “Should we be doing public relations or content marketing?” However, this question can be quite misleading, given that public relations and content marketing go hand in hand.

PR vs. CM

According to the PRSA, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

The Content Marketing Institute states “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Both definitions focus on the relationships between an organization and its core audience. The fact is, the concept of content marketing isn’t all that new, we just haven’t called it by that name until recently. PR agencies have years of experience integrating PR, marketing and advertising, along with SEO, social media and content marketing.

Public Relations agencies are skilled in messaging, content planning, social media and promotion,  giving them a competitive advantage in the content marketing arena over many of those that label themselves “content marketing experts”.  

Some of the content you’ll find PR professionals creating include:

  • Newsrooms
  • Blog Posts
  • Press Releases
  • Case Studies
  • Social Content
  • Newsletters
  • Contributed Articles
  • White Papers
  • Events
  • Videos, Images, Audio

At their cores, content marketing and PR are both storytelling disciplines. In PR, the goal is to inform the public about your product/service/company through the media. This is done by crafting a story, in a manner that is so compelling that the media tells the story through their channel.  

In content marketing, we are telling stories that our public will want to consume. It’s virtually the same thing, only eliminating the middleman (traditional media). While PR still employs the traditional methods, modern PR professionals are already using new media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to further their reach and communicate directly to end users.

Impressions generated through traditional PR can be converted into content marketing pieces by taking full advantage of the repurposing potential. A webinar can be adapted into a SlideShare presentation or a blog series, a speech easily morphs into a bylined trade publication article, and a survey report can turn into an infographic. This adds tremendous value to the PR component of your content marketing initiative.

At the end of the day, both content marketing and PR have the same business goals:

  • Increase brand awareness 
  • Educate audiences 
  • Build thought leadership 
  • Improve positioning
  • Cultivate customer loyalty

PR and content marketing should never be looked at as separate efforts. When you combine PR’s ability to incorporate key messaging into content stories with marketing level accountability – there’s a clear competitive advantage over utilizing only traditional PR or only content marketing alone. The most powerful content marketing programs are assimilated into a company’s PR plans. Savvy organizations have broken down the silos, allowing these two disciplines to work in tandem, recognizing that an integrated marketing team can achieve much greater success than a segmented one. So, if you're thinking of choosing between PR and content marketing, don’t.