Is earned media part of your content marketing plan? Is content marketing part of your earned media plan? If not it should be. In our business, we see firms with just content marketing, just public relations, or both but each function working in a silo.
During the early days of content marketing adoption, one of the selling points to justify the costs of content marketing was to eliminate your public relations program and bring your story directly to the market. That sounded great but companies that eliminated dedicated PR resources and strictly relied on blogging, premium content and social media amplification soon found that they were less visible and considered less credible in the market. Content marketing lets you control your message but earned media gets more eyeballs and more third-party credibility.
Are You Confused About Content Marketing and PR?
The two are distinctly different and each plays an important role. The goal of content marketing is generating leads. It primarily uses brand-generated content to educate a target market, creating brand awareness that generates leads to boost sales. Published on a company-owned blog or website, firms promote this content using SEO, social media and email.
The goal of public relations is to secure earned media. Earned media is a third-party endorsement of your brand that builds trust, credibility, and reputation in addition to raising brand visibility. Public relations fosters relationships with journalists and industry analysts to earn media coverage, and secure awards, as well as speaking opportunities for a company’s executive team.
Strategies for an Integrated Program
All businesses need both a PR strategy and a content marketing strategy. Integrating both can yield great results. Here are four strategies to consider.
Orchestrate Combined Efforts – For each campaign, identify where PR efforts are needed and where content marketing efforts are needed. Without orchestration, efforts are wasted and you lose the synergy created by the two functions. For example, you may have just concluded a survey and created an ebook with the results. The PR team can develop a press release talking about the new insights and work with journalists on a stand-alone article or as part of a bigger trend story. The content team can develop a campaign where they promote the ebook using targeted email, advertising, and social media. If the content team begins their campaign before the PR team has time to secure earned media, it may limit the PR team’s ability to garner earned media since the findings will no longer be news.
Tip: Develop a master editorial calendar that takes into consideration the news schedule. Refine it every 30 days as the market will evolve and priorities will change within the company.
Have both your PR team and your content team write blog posts - PR challenges content teams. Successful public relations specialists pitch journalists and bloggers day in and day out with story ideas. Because of this, they are astutely aware of what content will resonate and what will not.
Client Results: Four out of the top five most read blog posts of all time were written by the PR team and have garnered 2-3 times more views than content developed by branded content teams.
Amplify News and Earned Coverage – You want to amplify your news to both your targeted lists as well as the broader market. The death of the press release is greatly exaggerated. Wire services distribute press releases to hundreds of distribution points providing the opportunity for more people to see it. You would be surprised at how many people pick up the phone after reading a press release looking to speak with a sales rep. In addition, use content marketing tactics – blog post, email and social amplification to get the word out.
Client Results: We find that our B2B clients that have a robust news program generate 20-30% more leads than our clients that do not.
Maximize Your Content ROI – Both the content and PR team need to be involved during the creation of premium content. A good infographic or ebook can have greater impact if it developed so that it can be leveraged by both groups.
Tip: An executive talk at an industry event can be leveraged into an ebook and promoted to your targeted audiences.
B2B public relations and content marketing work hand-in-hand to raise brand visibility. By using an integrated strategy, you will be able to develop and leverage content across many channels to drive more inbound traffic looking for more.
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