While a strong marketing strategy remains the core fundamental, with clients at the centre of the planning, the way businesses communicate with the market has changed dramatically. Social media and content marketing have become pervasive communication channels for B2C and B2B, and in the process, public relations is being sidelined to some degree. Or is it?


There is some commonality

Whether it was an advice piece in Professional Planner, a grab on the nightly news, or an interview with a talkback radio shock jock, public relations was a core method for delivering thought leadership to clients.

The value of public relations (PR) is the third-party endorsement it delivers to your brand. In truth, to reach the public through a radio or television interview or a magazine article, a message is poked and prodded by a legion of news directors, editors, chiefs of staff and journalists before it sees the light of day. In other words, you need a strong news angle to have any chance of gaining media traction. It’s for this reason public relations is considered a more independent channel than traditional advertising.

Refining a story and getting the pitch right for a journalist can take time – and still a comment or story in a newspaper or a radio interview is never guaranteed. It’s for this reason content marketing has gained traction with marketers. Good content delivers messages directly to consumers without the filter of a journalist. It enables a planning firm to completely own the message and to release content when it best suits you (and your clients). Moreover, it is easy to track in terms of reach and effectiveness. But does this mean PR is dead and buried? No way Jose!


PR is still vital


PR has its place in modern marketing and the rise of content marketing is good news for its continued usefulness. The big media companies are cutting editorial staff as their revenues are eroded as their advertisers diversify into social and digital channels. Yet the old media mastheads and channels will continue in some shape or form, and this provides an opportunity for a savvy PR program. As editors and journalists are forced to ‘do more with less’, a strong PR strategy and execution can provide them with ready-to-use content, which doesn’t require much finessing for their readers, viewers and listeners.




A cosy alliance


Consistency is the key to the delivery of a marketing strategy, whether it is through a television advertisement, a tweet, a speech or a radio interview. Having a strong consistent message across your communication channels makes it easy for your clients to embrace your services.


Content marketing is designed to be fast and easy to consume, as can a quick response media release. Like public relations, content marketing aims to position your business as a thought leader in your industry. It’s for this reason that PR and content marketing can co-exist. Your PR program can deliver your thought leadership to a wider audience in a different way.


A media release and a blog, for example, might use distinct writing styles, be delivered in the first or third person and so on. However, the angles and messages should be in synch with your marketing strategy.


A valuable PR strategy provides value by the way it manages and targets the media specifically. An expert PR specialist, for example, still provides more than just content. They have access to journalists, industry bloggers and publications. They understand what angles tickles their fancy, and how to time the delivery of a pitch to ensure your firm gains maximum coverage.


PR isn’t on marketing’s endangered species list. It remains a core marketing communication tool, and in tandem with your other content channels, it can drive your messaging further.

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Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry.