How publicity and content marketing work together

July 21, 2015

How publicity and content marketing work together

Media coverage can certainly be a major driver in raising a start-up’s profile and growing its user base. In fact, a 2014 study from Nielsen found that earned media is 88 per cent more effective than “owned media” (content marketing). Why? The study found that consumers seek out trusted, third-party articles more than branded content. In other words, they care more about other people are saying about the brand rather than what the brand is saying about itself.

But to really build a solid digital presence for your start-up, you need a blended approach of both publicity and content marketing. And there are a few things we can learn from blending both. Here are a few tips.

Don’t underestimate producing original content.

Third-party media may be apparently more effective; but increasingly more brands are becoming publishers themselves in order to cultivate that presence. If you have a story to tell, consider blogging or guest blogging about it as well. It can go a long way. Cut through the noise – that way, when pitching and interacting with journalists, you’re more memorable and credible than before.

Think like a media outlet.

Many brands are consumer-focused as they ask themselves questions like “what will people get out of this?” or “is there value?”

While putting your audience first is essential, it’s also important to think like a journalist yourself when developing content. Ask yourself why you’re writing this particular story and if it’s worth the time, research and effort. Speaking of which, act like a journalist too! Conduct your own research and interviews, and take the time to develop a thought-provoking story. Become a reliable and trustworthy news source yourself.

Create visual content.

Creating engaging content is also important. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a press release – videos and infographics are great alternatives to telling your story, if you can do it right. They’re certainly more eye-catching and shareable, and they stand out.

Engagement is key.

As I previously blogged about, having a good story to tell is only part of the equation. You also need to be engaging and building those relationships. What we can learn from digital marketing is the power of social media to make that happen.

Pull – don’t push.

The push versus pull strategy is common among marketers and can be applied to public relations efforts too. Increasingly more brands are adopting the “pull” mentality. In other words, instead of simply “pushing” their products and services onto consumers, they’re focusing on creating compelling content, engaging with stakeholders and being thought leaders – thus creating a gravitational “pull.”

From a PR standpoint, it’s pretty much the same. Instead of focusing so much time on pitching and “pushing,” balance it out with creating your own content and developing relationships to gain interest too. Amplify your reach through both external and internal mediums. Use that blended approach to build trust, stand out and become a reliable source. That way, you’ll “pull” consumers and other stakeholders – including the media – towards you.


Samuel Dunsiger

Samuel Dunsiger is a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. He has written for variety of print and online outlets. He has also worked for a boutique PR agency in San Francisco that specializes in startups, and supported the media relations’ activities for a range of brands and non-profits. Follow Sam on Twitter, @samdunsiger.