How to Unite B2B PR and Content Marketing for Powerful Results

There’s an interesting proverb that I stumbled on recently: “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” When you boil it down, there’s a lot to be said for teamwork. But what about two seemingly different teams, such as B2B PR and content marketing?

Recently there have been a variety of strong opinions circulating about PR and content marketing. Some believe that PR and content marketing are different strategies, and don’t mix well. According to these individuals, you should either have PR or content marketing — not both.

Does this reasoning stand up under scrutiny?

No.

Let’s take a closer look at PR and content marketing, and examine how both play an important role in your overall B2B strategy.

What is Public Relations?

The Public Relations Society of America puts it this way: “At its core, public relations is about influencing, engaging, and building relationships with key stakeholders across a myriad of platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization. ”

Public relations professionals take on many roles, including

  • Crisis communications
  • Reputation management
  • Media relations
  • Corporate communications
  • Social media
  • Writing speeches
  • Events
  • Product launches

As new technologies and trends emerge, public relations evolves to fit the times. In recent years, PR professionals have had to react to the emergence of fake news, artificial intelligence, and digital storytelling. And we see how public relations has gracefully handled these changes, to the benefit of all involved.

Now that we have a clear definition of what public relations is, let’s move on to content marketing.

What is B2B Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”

Content marketing is different from traditional forms of marketing. While marketing traditionally focuses on self-promotion, content marketing avoids it. In essence, content marketing serves the needs of the audience. The goal of content creation is to demonstrate the expertise and credibility of a brand to begin to nurture prospects and ultimately convert them. This might be through blog posts that answer key questions or eBooks that delve into deeper industry trends and issues. As propsects move down your funnel, content may include later-stage content such as case studie and webinars.

Content creation covers many different types of media, including:

  • Whitepapers
  • eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Slideshares
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

Content marketing incorporates various strategies to reach a target audience. These could include social media, SEO, and paid media, to promote and amplify content.

The type of content you create is contingent on your goals. For instance, if your objective is thought leadership, then you’ll want to create in-depth content (such as ebooks, videos, and white papers) that highlight your industry expertise and knowledge. If you want to generate leads, you’ll want to generate leads, think webinars, demos, case studies and other later-stage content.

How PR and Content Marketing Are More Alike Than You May Think

These two B2B strategies both focus on shaping brand perception. This includes generating:

  • Awareness
  • Credibility
  • Thought leadership

From its beginning, PR best practices have always included some type of content marketing — they may not have had the fancy term for it that we do now, but it was content marketing nonetheless. It might for example have involved placing an op-ed on behalf of a client and distributing copies of the op-ed to prospects. To underscore the importance of content marketing to PR, the national PR organization PRSA includes in its list of PR functions: “Overseeing the creation of content to drive customer engagement and generate leads.”

Previously, PR was often limited to earned media, but now it typically integrates earned, owned, paid, and shared media as part of its strategy. This helps align PR and content marketing to work closely together in creating and distributing these various content types.

Let’s examine owned media for a moment. This includes media that you own and will always be among your assets. Think your website’s blog or eBooks that you create. Normally, this would be considered content marketing. But owned content is also an important part of public relations, where you can use your owned media to highlight press mentions and boost your brand image.

Another example is thought leadership — the idea of being the go-to authority and trusted source for others within your industry. You attain this status through the creation of in-depth content, speaking engagements, and the way you position yourself on social media — all of which blurs the lines between PR and content marketing.

As PR and marketing converge, PR increasingly takes on the role of content marketing, including SEO, paid media amplification, and even in some cases lead nurturing.

All of this showcases the symbiotic relationship that exists between PR and content marketing. Bottom line, each one helps the other. How is that? Let’s examine six key ways that these two strategies work together and benefit each other.

6 Effective Ways to Combine Your B2B PR and Content Marketing Strategies

1. Your Content Can Fuel Press Relations

Content is generally used to establish expertise and spread brand awareness. But it can easily go a step further and put you on the map for some well-deserved press.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re a manufacturing company that has recently won an award for safety. You could write a blog post about how to create a safe working environment, and highlight your recent award.

Imagine what happens if a writer for an industry magazine stumbles upon your post and realizes that your industry knowledge would be useful in a story he’s working on. Your content has created an opportunity for earned meda. This shows how your content marketing efforts can also advance your PR interests.

2. Speaking Engagements Direct Attention to Content

Choose a member of your team to speak at an industry event. This puts your brand in front of your target audience, who is listening attentively and taking note of your brand.

Use this platform to highlight your content. In fact, your content can become the nucleus for your presentation. Mention and quote from specific pieces of content. This not only puts your brand in the spotlight, but directs new audiences back to your content for more information.

3. PR Brings in an Audience

Public relations puts your brand in the spotlight — but that spotlight has some definite perks for your content marketing. As people get to know your brand, they will turn to your blog for your expertise, insights, and educational content.

Aim for media outlets that your target audience frequents. Don’t know? Ask your sales people to check with customers. Don’t forget to include a link back to your blog in your content.

This strategy only works if your content team has a rich selection of content waiting for prospects.Teamwork between PR and content marketing can ensure that the right content is strategically placed for potential audiences to peruse.

4. PR Helps Content Teams Think Outside the Box

Much of the time, content creation teams are focused on a brand’s image. While the content isn’t self-promotional, the focus is on buffing a brand’s perception — what content will create trust in the brand?

PR helps teams focus on the big picture: the public. What kinds of content does the audience read? What stories are popular? What industry trends are emerging? PR teams have a unique perspective on the “it” topics, and can help content creation teams to create fresher content from a unique angle.

5. PR Allows You to Be Promotional

Content marketing is often about educating prospects on your industry. It’s not touting your brand but exposing prospects to top industry thinking.

PR to some extent gives you an outlet for self-promotion. An effective PR strategy tells people what you have accomplished, what you’re doing now, and your future plans.

But after you’re spotlighted and people know about your brand, what’s next? Content marketing. A well-rounded content strategy will build on the foundation laid by your PR efforts. It prevents your brand from becoming a one-hit wonder, and cements you as a powerful presence in your industry.

6. Collaborate with Others Within Your Industry

Collaboration allows you to expand your reach to new audiences and heightens your expertise. Reach out to another well-known thought leader within your industry and create a valuable piece of content that both of you can promote. This makes content creation easier and puts you in the public eye.

You could also use this collaboration for mutual distribution. Each of you can distribute each other’s content through a blog and newsletter. This expands your reach and bolsters your reputation as a thought leader.

You might even do this with influencer marketing. This leverages those within your industry with a particularly large social media following and uses their influence to benefit both your PR and content marketing. You get a new channel to distribute your content and win the attention of the influencer’s audience.

A Few Points to Remember…

  • Use your blog to highlight recent news and attract the attention of industry journalists
  • Use your public relations strategy to attract new eyes to your content
  • Think of content creation from a public relations standpoint to gain a wider and fresher perspective
  • Establish your brand reputation with public relations, and nurture that reputation with your content marketing.

Returning to our introductory proverb, teamwork will inevitably strengthen your cause. Help your PR and content marketing teams to work together, and the results will speak for themselves.

This article originally appeared in The B2B PR Blog.

This article was written by Wendy Marx from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Infographic: Taking the Pulse of PR and Social Media Jobs

We’ve always been fans of being informed and prepared, whether for your next media outreach initiative, competitive analysis, or potential brand crisis and, of course, we regularly cover the importance of making data-driven decisions. That’s why, when we met the Monster folks at a conference last September, we knew we wanted to work together on an infographic that showcased data that only they could provide. But this time, it’s not about getting your job done, it’s just about getting a job—and building a career in PR and social media.

While working with Monster and putting our findings together, we discovered that “career intelligence” can be illuminating no matter where you are on the career ladder. Are you well along on your PR career path and assessing your next move? Recently graduated and looking for a starter social media position? Considering a mid-career transition into comms, based on skills you’ve developed elsewhere? It’s wise to keep track of what skills are in demand, what new ones might be popping up, where the jobs are, and how to focus your ambitions with realistic expectations. And, as we move into virtual work environments (email, Slack, conference “calls” with streaming videos), knowing if there are jobs out there that are more likely to offer a remote option can inform your choices as well. Part of the reason why we produced this content is that we firmly believe that, like many potentially life-altering choices, it’s easiest to plan a career trajectory well before it’s time to make the move.

We’ve also included top PR and social media blogs (ranked by reach). While reading PRDaily or Social Media Examiner probably won’t lead to a new job, they cover the latest news and best practices, and the insight offered is invaluable in keeping yourself informed and moving forward in the field. At the very least it’s conversational fodder for future discussions with colleagues and at interviews.

And, finally, our infographic rounds out with G2 Crowd’s ranking of technology tools to use to get your day-to-day work done. As you can imagine, we’re proud to be the only media intelligence platform included in their 100 Best Software Companies, based on reviews from PR and social media pros working today. Let us know if you’d like more info on how you can use data to inform your decisions at work.

Check out the infographic below for the pulse of PR and social media jobs. And, remember Monster has career resources and thousands of listings to help you land your next PR job or social media position.

PR and Social Media JobsPR and Social Media Jobs

How Earned and Paid Media Are Merging—and How It Impacts PR Pros

If there’s one constant in the world of public relations, it’s change. The profession is evolving at a dizzying rate.

One change on the radar of some PR futurists is a blurring of the lines between earned and paid media.

Earned and Paid Media Are Merging

It once was that the two were completely separate. Public relations pros secure what is known as earned media, meaning no money changes hands. It’s purely editorial content. Then, there was paid media, also known as advertising. With ads, nothing appears unless it’s paid for the brand.

What we see now is a blending of the two, which some call native advertising or sponsored content. It differs from traditional advertising in that it isn’t relegated to the margins of the digital or printed page. Sometimes, the audience can’t tell the difference between the two. Recent examples include Porsche in The AtlanticAirbnb in the New York Times, and Under Armour in Complex.

As they merge, we have the makings of a sea change in the industry.

How Does This Put the Role of PR Pros in Question?

Many in public relations have a degree in Journalism, so their roots are in earning editorial coverage. Now, with the advent of these paid options, it casts the role of PR in a different light.

Some view it as good news because it gives them another alternative to earn media for their client – which is undoubtedly tougher to garner these days. More public relations people plus fewer journalists equal more competition. Native advertising gives PR pros another way to get those stories out there. Another pro is that a paid placement provides more control over timing, leaving less to chance.

Others in the profession are slow to come around. They see it as going against the very grain of their journalistic training–never shall earned and paid mix. It muddies the water, without a doubt.

What Does This Mean for the Future of PR?

While there’s debate about who should own what, some ask if it should it be a conundrum. If PR people are equipped with the journalistic skills needed to communicate the client’s message, should it matter if there was a payment made for the placement?

Because PR pros excel at storytelling and writing, this should be a smooth transition. Some make a case for PR and marketing to work closely together on native advertising initiatives because marketers have complementary experience analyzing data which can help brands determine the best channels to get that story out.

“This blurring of media lines will underscore the need for more alignment between PR and marketing efforts in the coming years,” says Amy Osmond Cook of Osmond Marketing. “Paid and owned media, when not executed properly, can often come off as too promotional. PR, when not analyzed, can be an expensive endeavor with few results.”

Do the Lines Between Paid and Earned Media Need to Be Redefined?

Franco D’Onofrio, director at Twiga Communications, makes a case for redefining the line between paid advertising and PR. He believes content creation can still fall to public relations practitioners.

“If we consider the simple definition of PR – the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics – the nature and intention of native advertising places it firmly in the domain of PR.”

Does this mean more ad agencies will partner with PR firms? Or bring PR in-house? Perhaps.

In the past, anything “paid” sat squarely in the advertising category, while anything earned was firmly in the PR camp. Now, however, we have public relations pros paying to promote social media content to further amplify earned media.

So, shouldn’t the content sit wherever it sits best? Native advertising isn’t an ad, in the traditional sense.

“Since native advertising is designed specifically to be part of the media narrative, rather than a banner on the right, then there can be no arguments about who should oversee this,” says D’Onofrio.

Of course, the world of advertising is undergoing massive changes, as well. Traditional ads don’t work anymore. 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. It may make sense from both perspectives to have these two collaborate on more content.

Will PR Pros Get on Board with These Changes?

Some already are. Others are reluctant. But, as the song goes, the times they are a-changin’. Where will PR land when the dust settles?

This post was initially published on this site on November 2, 2017. We republish timely posts for our readers who may have missed them the first time around.

Infographic: Top Contenders for Amazon HQ2

The race is on. Once Amazon announced that they were looking for a city to build a second headquarters (HQ2) in North America, more than 200 municipalities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States tossed their figurative hat in the ring. Unsurprisingly, interest was robust as the contenders for Amazon HQ2 knew the new campus would rival its first headquarters, a sprawling 40,000-plus employee operation outside of Seattle.

Cities vying for the honor hope to welcome the project’s over $5B in new construction and eventually, as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. With stakes high, excitement for Amazon announcements rivaled that of prospective Olympic host cities. Recently, locations were whittled down to 20, and those that made the cut few were equally cheered and hissed in the news and on social media.

This pageant doesn’t come without some demands from Amazon, most notably, an educated workforce, tax incentives, and accessible transportation. You can be sure that the 20 remaining contenders are rushing to prove they can check every single box for the HQ2 committee. Talking heads, predictably, have some strong opinions about the viability of certain cities over others and this could influence social media channels.

What predictions might impact social media opinion? There was Moody’s early analysis, predicting a strong showing for Austin with their tech-savvy workforce. While Detroit was noticeably absent from the top 20, Pittsburgh (another blue-collar town) made the list. And still, quite a few analysts are eyeing Atlanta, whose oar is already in the Amazon game with its Whole Foods/Prime Now program. While more strategic opinions hold that proximity to DC (and opportunities for lobbying) is going to be more important than access to Los Angeles’ international port.

While we don’t know the educational, labor, and transportation statistics of the chosen cities, we do know that some cities are mentioned on social media more than others as they all compete for HQ2. Here we narrowed down the contenders down to the top 10 and benchmarked them against each other. Does our list match up with Amazon’s? Only time will tell.

Contenders for Amazon HQ2

If you would like to better understand your market or industry using media mentions or social data for your city, company, or brand, we can help.

How Gen Z is Changing Companies’ Marketing Plans

It seems like every day I read another article about how Millennials are killing another industry. But Millennials are in their late 20’s and early 30’s, and they are no longer the largest generation. Gen Z already commands $44 billion in spending power and is a larger generation than their predecessors. Marketing to them is marketing for the future.

Each generation requires a different marketing strategy. The rapid evolution and integration of tech into our daily lives has made generational differences even starker. Gen Z grew up with social media as a fact of life, and they consume more online content than any other generation.

So what are the best ways companies marketing plans can target Gen Z?

More and Better Video

Gen Z is the video generation. They log more time on YouTube than they do on TV. They grew up having watched independent channel creators make incredible videos, and they gravitate towards great video quality.

As a result, Gen Z is probably the most visual generation that markets have ever had to contend with. They’re watching videos all the time, and they want them to be impactful, beautiful and geared towards them.

Personalized Messaging

Gen Z is looking to buy from brands that feel like friends. They love brands that are on trend, that speak with a consistent voice, and that have a personalized message. They don’t want clunky brands that come across as desperate or inauthentic.

Personalizing a message for an entire generation is no small task, to be sure. But it can be done in small ways. Break your audience down and market to groups within the whole. Gen Z girls between 12-18 is an easier group to market to.

Cultivate an In-Store Experience

Gen Z shops in stores much more than Millennials. This ties in with their love of personalization. They go to stores for the unique experiences they can have there, as opposed to staring at the same website that everyone else sees. They also want to connect with the brands they’re supporting; being in stores and able to talk to employees, touch the items, and be immersed in the store itself matters to them

If you have a brick and mortar business, look to engage Gen Z there. Use your storefront to your advantage and promote your individual offerings via classes, events and in-store specials.

Gen Z will have the most purchasing power in the market in the next few years, and it’s a lead they will likely command for years after that. Marketing plans need to include Gen Z targets to stay relevant and to keep business booming.

This article originally appeared in Due, it was written by Kara Perez from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.