The practice of public relations is about influencing public opinion and guarding reputation. Content marketing is focused ultimately on outcomes like lead generation and sales.
In terms of the old marketing funnel describing the different stages in the buying cycle construct (awareness, consideration, preference, choice) PR is arguably more “upper funnel” because it builds awareness and reputation. Content marketing is positioned deeper within the cycle, in the realms of consideration and choice.
By skipping the media and publishing to reach audience directly, PR is missing the credibility that is earned through the media. Indeed, PR is defined by third-party validation, but the media is not the only source of credibility. Every link, tweet, like, Google +1, Stumble, bookmark – any Web connection that shares information – is a form of validation. Individually, they may not make an enormous difference, but over time the aggregate of voices definitely matter. It’s good old fashioned word of mouth marketing, done online and that answers that important question: I’m thinking about buying X, do you have any recommendations?
People don’t hate marketing, they hate interruptions. They’re obstacles that are intentionally placed between readers and the information they seek.
Content creation, finding interesting angles, telling stories – all of these are skills that are as valuable in social media as they are in public relations, they just need to be adapted slightly for the digital age.
The biggest leap is in community management. It’s not about control any more – the new role of public relations is to both facilitate and steer the discussion.
Public relations is more important, more valued and more integral to an institution’s success than ever before – from information to strategy, from press releases to reputation building and brand positioning. Public relations is more involved in brand building – in helping companies actually build their products and their brands.
Any kind of marketing or communication that is going to be effective on the outside needs to start on the inside. It needs to start with fundamental actions and behaviors inside the company. And that’s where public relations is important.
Today people need to understand how businesses work. You’ve got to be able to take that creative energy and the creative thinking that is so important to any communications effort and develop an understanding of how it can drive business.
It will always be about content creation in the public relations business. Going forward, from a communications perspective, the more talented you are in creating compelling content across the spectrum of communications modes, the more effective you’re going to be, and the more opportunity you’ll have.