I can remember the time when PR companies would be dismissive of the need for advertising and advertising agencies would do vice versa in order to protect their own patch. Direct marketing agencies would dismiss both. What the clients ended up with was disconnected marketing conducted by agencies that would only reluctantly work together under duress and with suspicion.
Thankfully the silos have been broken down a little, largely due to the emergence of online as a powerful channel for marketing, and with it has come the whole new area of content marketing. Indeed, such is the clamour for good content across online platforms, Forbes recently reported that the top new marketing job recruited and hired in 2014 will be a Director of Content.
At the higher end this may well be the case. But for many, particularly those in the SME sector – and that’s the vast majority of businesses in the UK – content needs to be a fundamental part of their marketing strategy moving forward. The conventional wisdom that PR builds relationships and content marketing tells stories may be true but to remain relevant, PR has to undertake and deliver on both.
If your PR or marketing agency is working with you to conceive, develop and implement your marketing communications strategy and your content marketing, presumably, has similar objectives to your marcomms, then the two have to work in harness with each other to be most effective.
Content marketing and PR are two sides of the same coin. The days when SMEs could afford to take on a PR agency to work purely on raising brand awareness or delivering on reputation management are long gone. Thankfully. Today PR and content have to deliver together on brand awareness and reputation management but, crucially, also on business development. A PR agency that purely focuses on conventional media relations is fast becoming anachronistic. A PR agency that delivers content for media as well as across social and digital platforms, including podcasting and blogging, is one that is best placed to help your company engage with customers and potential customers across multiple touch points.
This approach represents an intelligent use of external marketing support, should deliver better value for money, contribute to more likely achievement of your commercial objectives and demonstrate the worth of your agency far better than any spurious calculation about equivalent advertising value or readership reach possibly can.