Here is a brief recap of my session: How Content Marketing Applies to PR
I had the pleasure of speaking at the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Wisconsin Chapter in June. Unlike at other speaking engagements, I not only did a 45-min general session, but also a 90-min deep-dive workshop for PRSA members. The attendees were awesome and engaging. I had a great time!
Traditionally, PR departments (or PR agencies) shared information with reporters and journalists. Journalist, in turn, would then share the information with their readers. PR would communicate when there was something new or news-worthy but, this communication was one-way street.
Search, social media and mobile devices completely change how the public receives information. In addition, people are recording and sharing information in real-time. Breaking news could happen anytime and anywhere. PR needs to proactively monitor buzz and have a process to respond quickly. Although crisis management continues to be at the core of PR, the technology PR uses to monitor and the channels they use to communicate have changed and expanded.
Setting aside crisis management, content marketing can apply to PR in two main ways:
When there is something new to say….
PR’s traditional role still has its place (see the image above). A great example is the release of Shutterstock’s Annual Creative Trends. Shutterstock is a site for downloading licensed photos, music and videos. Millions of people around the world purchase creative assets through Shutterstock. By analyzing the back-end data on what people download, Shutterstock is able to shed insight on what’s hot, popular and trendy.
Rather than creating a nice PDF report, Shutterstock created a visually compelling microsite to showcase the types of photos, videos, and music that people download around the world. They also create additional content to promote that microsite, such as blogs and infographics.
The annual Creative Trends report is something new and news-worthy. It’s fitting and proper for Shutterstock’s PR department (if they have a PR team) to play an active role in reaching out to reporters and influencers to highlight the Creative Trends report. In addition, it also makes sense to use an aggressive organic social media outreach. Of course, paid social media efforts will also certainly boost the overall engagement, if budget is available. If PR managers have a holistic view of how paid, earned, and owned channels are used to promote the annual Creative Trends report, they can better help marketing connect the dots while complementing their efforts.
Keep your topic alive
The general rule of PR: if there is nothing new to say, then don’t say it. In today’s over-communicating world, you may just need to create something new to share. This is where content marketing can help. REI, a retail store with a strong online presence that sells high-quality outdoor gear, is a good example.
REI focuses on sharing employees and experts’ knowledge. They share tips and tricks for various outdoor activities. They analyze the pros and cons of different gear to help customers make purchase decisions. Their “Blog” and “Learn” tabs offer a wealth of knowledge.
If you are a PR agency or marketing professional working for REI, you can incorporate corporate announcements and new product releases as content in the ‘blog’ or ‘learn’ sections.
PR and content marketing complement each other. It’s important for PR to understand content editorial just as it’s important for content marketers to understand PR messaging and communications strategy. Moving forward, the line between PR and marketing will continue to blur, so it’s important to act with one voice!
On a side note: It was my first time in Milwaukee, the birthplace of Harley-Davison. Unfortunately, I was in and out and didn’t get a chance to visit the famous Harley-Davidson museum or stroll down the RiverWalk along the Milwaukee River. My good friend, Sara Rude, did drive me around downtown Milwaukee. I got a chance to glance at the RiverWalk and the Historical Third Ward district. I hope to go back and visit this beautiful city in the future.