Content marketing is imperative for brands to build trust in an information saturated world. Consider these statistics:
- 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing (Source).
- 86% of people skip TV ads, 44% of people ignore direct mail; 91% of email users unsubscribe from company emails. Conversely, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading an article about it and 70% of people learn about a company through an article than an advertisement (Source).
- Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media (Source).
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (Source).
- B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Source)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (Source)
Despite content’s undeniable role as the present and future of marketing, companies are still trying to figure out who owns content marketing within their organizations. With the convergence of paid, owned and earned media, content marketing blurs the lines between traditional roles in marketing departments.
Content marketing requires the collaboration of an entire marketing team to succeed. However, when answering the question of who should be driving the content campaign or strategy, analyzing the key skills required for the job reveals that they are most in line with the skill set of the Public Relations team. Here’s how:
They both rely on storytelling. For years, PR pros have crafted compelling narratives about their brands in order to get their stories told in the media. Similarly, in content marketing it doesn’t matter if you distribute your content in the most effective way to the most targeted group at the optimal time. If the story isn’t relevant, the piece has failed. Worse, consistently bombarding your audience with irrelevant content can actually damage the view of your brand in the long term.
Public Relations professionals are, at their core, skilled storytellers. There is nobody in an organization with a better ability to craft a message that will resonate with the intended audience than its PR team, and this skill can be effectively applied to content creation.
Both need to establish brand credibility and trust. Content marketing tries to build trust with a target audience through providing useful information. PR pros have had to convince journalists to view them and their brands as a useful information source for years. Enough to get media outlets to want run whole stories about them. For free.
Because of this, they are adept at providing information in a nuanced way. This skill is invaluable in establishing the long term credibility that is at the heart of content marketing. Used to cultivating relationships with journalists over several months, or even years, PR practitioners understand the value of building relationships and trust that ultimately results in a desired behavior (in this case, a sale).
Both must reach key influencers. For content to be effective, it needs to reach its target audience. PR pros have been building relationships with influencers for years. They know where they are and the best way to reach them. Once a message is disseminated through its various channels, continuous evaluation of the analytics will help refine this approach, but your PR team’s insight into your customer landscape will give you a solid place to start from.
At its heart, content marketing creates a story about your brand, builds trust and manages relationships. And isn’t that what PR has done all along?
For more information on Content Marketing, visit the Content Marketing Institute.