Why Your PR Won't Exist Without Content Marketing (and Vice Versa)

In seventh grade biology, I was strangely obsessed with symbiotic relationships — situations where both parties help themselves by helping each other. Think of dogs and people, or, if you like Looking for Nemo like me, think clownfish and anemone.

I like the idea that out in the wild there are these relationships where different organisms – sometimes completely different species – are helping each other. For example, some species of small fish feed on the parasites of larger fish. Or catch a certain species of ant that lives on the acai tree: The tree provides food and shelter for the ants, in return, aggressive little ants that will attack anything that comes close to the tree.

It's the classic "You scratch my back, I scratch you" move.

This is the relationship that public relations professionals and reporters should have with each other. Too often, however, this is not the case.

Public relations has a bad rap, which annoys me because I'm Contently's communications director. Often, our PR specialists are portrayed as opportunistic rotators who don't do our homework and driving reporters crazy . On the other hand, journalism critics often say that reporters are overworked and/or lazy, copying and pasting content from press releases instead of actual coverage.

While both stereotypes exist, the reality is that there are many people in the media - like the ant and the acai tree - with their own motives but working together for the good. shared.

From a public relations standpoint, I've found that there's one key to your success in completing this symbiotic relationship: valuable content.

Let's look at a few examples of how you can use content to boost your public relations game.

Initial research

This summer, we did a study about how readers perceive native ads (spoiler alert: They're confused). We invested a lot of time and resources into the survey, and we saw some of our highest engagement times ever. But original research also led to another great benefit — the press loved to cover it, and we got substantial information about the research from the publications our ideal customers read.

When the press reports on the research, other institutions take on it, creating a halo effect that allows the PR team to provide valuable information to reporters who will take your research more seriously. Our research coverage ranges from full featured articles to project mentions in trending sections of the content marketing industry.

Think of it this way: Your content provides value to reporters, reporters provide value to readers, and readers provide value to your publication. It is a virtuous cycle.

Guest mail line

Editors have a relationship love Hate with operating lines. Hopefully they provide publishers with a great opportunity to get famous names to contribute interesting insights that lead to clicks and reader loyalty. But what often happens is that editors get a poorly written corporate message wrapped up in a weak narrative—something top-level outlets will never publish.

From a PR standpoint, having your CEO draft your own line can be a big hassle. They often use a lot of industry jargon, and editing your boss's work can be awkward, to say the least. However, if you're already creating content as a company, then you'll have systems in place to make this whole process much easier.

Another plus of content marketing is that you'll have a place to publish no matter what. For example, our CEO, Joe Coleman, recently wrote a short about combining technology and talent for Fast Company , introduced our company to a new audience and positioned our CEO as a thought leader. But if Fast Company Disclaimer of this piece, we were able to publish it here on The Content Strategy. Either way, readers will benefit from Joe's insight.

Quoted stories

One of the things I do to demonstrate ROI on public relations is follow press coverage . Take last quarter as an example, roughly 81792 For larger papers, like our original research or on a particularly hot topic, I use our articles as an opportunity to proactively contact reporters, this could become a full feature. Doing this also gives me the opportunity to offer reporters something interesting that has nothing to do with promoting our brand message or our product, which helps foster our relationship. us and prove that I understand their pulse.

A great example of another brand doing this is General Mills has turned an interesting blog article into a feature in New York time S the gold standard for journalistic reporting.

And as an added bonus, in the same way that content can help you achieve your PR goals, PR can help a content team achieve its goals. A few weeks ago, at the Contently Summit, Paul Dunay, financial services marketing lead at PricewaterhouseCoopers, explained that a key indicator of content marketing ROI is obtained from the media. This success can come from members of the media covering existing content or from reporters who have read the content and, therefore, require interviews with executives. Either way, PR . Score Yours will skyrocket.

Expert comments

At the highest level, overarching brand awareness is one of the most important PR goals. Now, creating intelligent content for our own publication and within the larger media community has positioned our executives as industry leaders. This approach resulted in a lot of media inquiries not only for highly targeted citations to the audience we wanted to reach, but also for appearances in national media. , introduce the name and reputation of the company to a wide audience.

For example, Dillon Baker, an editor at Contently, regularly writes about the future of media, a hot topic these days, and after he writes a timely article about it. editorial independence received media attention, Columbia Press Magazine asked him to speak about the record. The interview positioned Dillon as an industry expert and his story CJR billed as the “brand marketing giant”, winning for both the content and the PR team.

Opportunity to speak

Speaking engagements are great lead generation tools and are an important part of public relations initiatives. The key to speaking is that you need something new or remarkable to talk about, and that's where content comes in.

Because conference organizers have seen our executives published or quoted in notable media including TCS, they know that our speakers will not provide give the audience a thinly veiled sales pitch. In other words, our reputation in the events world is solid, resulting in numerous requests to speak.

Content also gives me a steady stream of articles and media appearances that I can use to proactively introduce speaking opportunities — especially helpful when trying to break into a new location. For example, Contently opened an office in London earlier this year, and for a PR person, building connections in a new city can be difficult, let alone a new continent. By putting together a toolkit that included a highlight reel of previous appearances and links to executive lines, we were able to promote speaking engagements in the UK, which This ultimately helped us make contacts in the new market.

Current Joe Coleman CEO at London Social Media Week


As I mentioned above, content marketing and public relations should generally not include advertising. But there's a time and place for corporate announcements, and if you've set up the system well, they don't need to be sleepy.

Let's take a look at General Mills again: After launching a new beer (yes, a beer), the media team published a article (it doesn't sound like the robot that wrote it!) on the company's blog about the product. Within a day, it led to press coverage in national newspapers such as Luck, NPR and NBC News because General Mills built this announcement as a cover story. Plus, by presenting news in a format that people actually enjoy, journalism has a reason to link back to your website, increasing your blog's visibility.

Really, there are three symbiotic relationships at play here: the relationship between public relations and journalism, the relationship between public relations and content marketing, and the relationship between content and newspapers. They all cannibalize each other, creating a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone involved.