As you know, public relations (PR) is such a popular concept. Who has not heard of it? It has been around for decades. On the other hand, content marketing is a relatively new term. PR and content marketing are two disciplines that may seem similar at first glance. In fact, they do have a lot of similarities. However, there are significant differences as well. So what are these differences? And most importantly, does your business need PR or content marketing, or both?
Through this article, let’s identify similarities and differences between the two concepts. By the end of this post, you will distinguish between PR and content marketing and what is suitable for your business. First, let’s figure out the definitions of two concepts.
Definitions: What is PR?
So what exactly is PR? Well, according to the Public Relations Society of America, “PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and the public.”
Definitions: What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the marketing and business process for 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.”
Now, what can we understand from the two definitions of these concepts? The main point you can identify is the connection between PR and content marketing. You could say that content marketing is a subset of PR. Basically, PR is all about the overarching practice of conveying the right message to the target audience as effectively as possible. Likewise, content marketing is mainly a digital tactic that is mostly used by PR practitioners that focuses on creating and distributing content apart from traditional media channels. Simply put, content marketing mostly focuses on establishing and then using your own publishing channels. However, it can also utilize channels like social media platforms.
Differences and similarities in methods
One of the main similarities between the methods used by content marketing and PR is that they both use writing, design, and communication media to convey a message. Each aims to cause the public to take the desired action, like purchasing a product or visiting a website.
Let’s now look at some key PR tactics:
Maintaining coverage in the news (It could be in print, broadcast, online, or all of the above media).
2. Damage control
Preparing for and responding to negative press coverage to effectively reduce or dismiss its negative consequences.
3. Speaking opportunities
Checking for opportunities to speak, pitching a speaker, crafting the speech, and coordinating the engagement. This includes pitching news coverage of the speech and leveraging it through different media, such as social media platforms.
Going after opportunities to win appropriate, reputation-enhancing awards and recognition.
On the flip side, here are some tactics used in content marketing:
Writing blog posts that are keyword-focused to create an audience, convert prospects into clients, or to increase the loyalty of customers.
2. Case studies
Showcasing real-world scenarios of a product or service in a specific, measurable, and engaging manner.
Coming up with visual-driven content to present concepts more interestingly and smoothly than is possible with just words.
Making serialized audio content that showcases a compelling story surrounding a product or organization.
The connection between PR and content marketing
Going through all the explained points, you get to see the connection between PR and content marketing. Did you notice that most tactics classified under content marketing have been used by PR practitioners? But they are certainly content marketing in the fact that they involve making and distributing content apart from traditional media.
Plus, you may have noticed that content marketing tends to be less concerned with relationships. However, it is quite the opposite. This discipline just has a slightly different approach to establishing relationships. In content marketing, meaningful relationships are created by offering quality content that answers important questions. It helps when it comes to creating a trusting relationship between the person asking questions and the one (or organization) answering them.
The primary difference between content marketing and PR
The main difference between PR and content marketing is that PR communicates messages to audiences that already exist. For example, readers of a magazine or members of an organization may hear a speech. On the other hand, content marketing builds its own target audience. Certainly, there are advantages to having an existing audience. One of the major benefits is that the message being conveyed is benefited from the authority and trustworthiness of an already established channel. Likewise, there is an advantage to creating an audience from scratch. The benefit of building an audience is that you “own” it. You can tap into it whenever you want, versus being obligated to gain the permission of someone, such as an editor, to do so.
PR and Content Marketing: Measuring Success
We have now established that PR and content marketing use tactics that are different from each other. So because of that, we can assume the way they measure success also differs. And yes, the two realms view success differently.
When it comes to PR, success is measured by factors, such as viewer impressions, the number of media placements, and the authority of the media outlet in which the stories are placed. Apart from that, actionable metrics are also taken into account. This includes the number of website visits or leads generated from digital news media, which, unlike print or broadcast media, allows you to track readers’ actions prompted by consuming the media. Usually, content marketers focus on the latter, measuring their success rate according to referral traffic, engagement metrics, and conversion rates, etc.
PR and content marketing: what is suitable?
Now here is the big question. Which is the right call for you? PR or content marketing? Well, the answer is a bit more complex than the question. It’s not one over the other. Usually, content marketing and PR work best when combined together. You can use traditional media to direct traffic to digital channels and vice versa. Combining PR and content marketing can incorporate the real world and the virtual world for higher effectiveness in both.
So, how can you implement the two disciplines? Don’t worry. We will give you some tips on how you can combine PR and content marketing correctly to get the best outcomes.
- Pitch your infographics to the news media. Since they are constantly seeking great art, you’d have a chance.
- Repurpose bylined columns published in the news by turning them into blog posts, keeping in mind where each column was originally published.
- Showcase award icons on your official website’s homepage. Write about your awards on your blog and put out press releases about your wins.
- Use the topics of white papers and case studies as the topics of your speaking engagements, and provide printed copies of the content at the engagements.
- Take news reports about your business and turn them into printed inserts in sales proposals.
There you have it! You’ve got to learn about PR and content marketing. Now you know the definitions, the similarities, and the differences between the two disciplines. You’ve also got to learn which of these is best for your business. The answer is not one over the other. Instead, combining the two can generate the best results. A solid marketing strategy is critical for the success of your business.