communications strategy

Got content marketing? You need some PR with that

Sandra Stewart | June 15, 2016

Consider this: America has nearly five PR people for every reporter, double the rate from a decade ago. That means competition for reporters’ attention is fiercer than ever, so PR teams need to be lucky as well as savvy and creative to get coverage, especially absent major news.

At the same time, the tilting PR-to-journalist ratio reflects a dwindling number of journalism jobs, and more publications than ever rely on contributed articles to fill their news holes. As a citizen and a former journalist this makes me sad. As a communications consultant, I have to say: this presents an opportunity to get around the PR problem while increasing returns from your content marketing investment.

To realize this value, content marketing and PR teams need to work together to identify content that’s provocative, deep or newsworthy enough to be pitchable: it takes an extra level of skill, creativity and collaboration to get your content placed in established publications. Most pieces will need some recasting to serve both content marketing and PR needs. But it’s worth the effort.

If you produce a well-researched white paper as a lead-generation tool, for example, you can extract the highlights in an executive-bylined article. If you create narrative-style customer case studies that illustrate successful problem solving, you can pitch them to trade publications (minus the upfront product promotion) as well as featuring them on your website or in your newsletter.

Additional exposure to people you might not be reaching otherwise is only one benefit of using content as a basis for PR outreach. Bylined articles demonstrate your executives’ expertise and knowledge, which positions them as thought leaders in your market and makes them attractive as sources for reporters. Published articles can also help your PR team interest a reporter in a fuller exploration of the topic—quoting your expert, of course.

Content marketing strategists often advise people to think like a publisher. That advice typically is geared toward building engagement with your own platforms (blogs, social media channels, online magazines). But if you embrace a publisher mindset and produce engaging, substantive content that starts conversations, contributes to your field or provides genuinely useful information, your investment should result in content that has a life outside your own channels and powers more consistent PR results.


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