Public Relations & Content Marketing: Which Is the Better Fit?

September 13, 2013 Bria Jordan

People often confuse the different skill-sets that fall under the marketing discipline. The prevalence of Social Media, coupled with the change in popular search behaviour, means the concept of marketing is experiencing a lot of change. Whether you’re an established brand or new to the market, it’s often hard to decide where to allocate your budget for the best return on investment. Here we’ll examine the benefits and opportunities of Public Relations and Content Marketing to see which is best for your business.

What’s better for Building an Audience?

Public Relations is effective for building an audience immediately: A successful PR strategy may get your brand the attention you desire. But Press Releases and Public Relations events are single-use tactics: It can be difficult to continue engaging the customer base after the event has concluded. Doing so requires additional events or communications, which increases costs.

Getting attention is one thing; keeping it and building on it is another. Content Marketing is often a better, more strategic way to build an audience over time, usually through Social Media sharing and discussions. If a client is interacting with you, they are already aware of your brand. If you are interacting with them on a regular basis, you are continuing to build and improve that relationship with them.

What’s Better for Your Business?

Most Press Releases are short, and used for a singular reason: Its information is limited to one purpose, and is sometimes not the best way to promote the full scope of a business or product’s ability. They discuss the benefits of the specific item or service, but aren’t able to further the discussion due the limitations of length. Press Releases are only a one-time release which further limits the amount of information given.

Because its benefits are seen over a longer period of time, Content Marketing is beneficial for explaining the overall benefits of a company or product. It allows for a more in-depth analysis and discussion, which could increase conversion. Content Marketing is able to explore the product or service’s benefits in greater depth because it isn’t bound by the size limitations of press releases. It is a longer term solution as you can continue the discussion over a longer period of time and in more detail, while getting valuable client interaction to quantify interest.

What about Crisis Management?

If you are experiencing a crisis or issue, Public Relations are often the best route to take in order to prevent escalation. A professional Public Relation practitioner can be invaluable in navigating crises in an efficient manner, without a significant loss in revenue or customers.

Crisis Management is situational and specific, and Content Marketing is less effective at managing an issue at one time. Although it is valuable for reiterating the message of the crisis communication afterwards, it is not the best option in an emergency.

How does it affect Search Engine Results?

Because a Press Release is usually based on a specific service or product, its limitations extend to its potential to increase search engine results. It’s not created with search algorithms in mind, so they rarely get exceptional search engine results.

Content Marketing often takes into account the desired keywords their audience is looking for and integrates them into the copy. This helps to achieve better search results over a longer period of time.

What about the Bottom Line?

Public Relations, depending on the chosen tactic, can be much more costly than expected. For instance, launching a product with an event can cost thousands of dollars for a one time experience. Event costs can include food, drink, staff, insurance, permits, and rentals. And that’s on top of retaining a PR firm or hiring an internal employee to manage it.

Content Marketing tends to be a more cost effective return on investment than Public Relations, as the cost of acquiring a new client far exceeds that of retaining one. For instance, if you hire a writer to produce content, it may cost you a small amount of money – once. But from there, it has the ability to engage people on a long term basis, and help increase conversions.

What’s your take on the PR vs. Content Marketing debate? Share it with us in the comments!

About the Author

Bria Jordan is a Search Engine Optimization and Social Media consultant. A published writer for the last 14 years, she can often be found celebrating her off-time by bicycling through the city or cooking. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats.

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