Content marketing is fast becoming one of the most valuable ways to gain loyal customers. Why? Because people want to be offered relevant, useful information to help them along their buyer’s journey. Less and less do customers want to be blatantly sold to, meaning ‘pushy’ advertising is losing its power. Google wants to see great content produced by genuinely helpful writers. In turn, it pushes these websites further up the search engine results page (SERP), which makes them more discoverable for customers. In this blog post, we outline what the benefits of content marketing are, and how they can affect your business, and discuss whether this method is taking over more traditional PR techniques.Of course, producing content takes time and results don’t happen straight away. The goal is to inevitably get your content read by your target audience and shared across social media. However, this won’t happen without serious dedication and consistent posting. Building these natural links and traffic is most beneficial for businesses, leading to happy, paying customers! But what is the most effective way of doing this?
PR has a more direct approach to gaining customers. Generally, PR is about managing reputation by using all forms of media and communication. PR Officers gain understanding and support for their clients while trying to influence opinions and behaviours. Their success is measured in terms of media placements and press mentions, but these results may not necessarily generate trust between a customer and a brand. This is because it can be more difficult to offer personalised content by using PR techniques.
The Digital Age
One of the roles of a PR agency is to research, write, and distribute press releases to targeted media. In the past, it wasn’t too difficult to be noticed by the media as long as you knew the steps to take in order to get there.
But things have changed. With the birth of the internet and the technological advances that have come along with it, marketing has had to evolve and adapt pretty quickly. Some argue that original PR techniques just aren’t as effective anymore; with so much going on in the media now, it’s very difficult to cut through the noise with traditional methods.
So that’s where the benefits of content marketing come in.
With the use of long-term strategies, online blogging, and the ability to self-promote through social media, marketing has become a marathon, rather than a sprint. Producing original, helpful, and authentic content is more likely to get noticed and be valued by customers as it is more personalised. Content marketing helps customers to solve a particular problem, whereas PR techniques are often self-promoting, focusing more on the success of the company rather than the customer’s interests. People like storytelling, people like to know the humans behind the brand, and people like to feel like they are part of a community.
And content marketing can provide them with this.
Better SEO = More Exposure
Online shopping has become a common practice around the world. With a predicted 2.14 billion digital buyers by 2021, you would be seriously missing out if you didn’t start marketing online. As mentioned, producing great content will be recognised by Google, pushing your website further up the SERP. Digital buyers can be influenced in a number of different ways - blog content, email marketing, social media, and - more recently - online influencers. The attention your content gets, the more links will be built, the more leads are generated, and the more discoverable your website will be. Seeing the knock-on effect?
There has been much debate on whether PR is the new way to build links back to your website. Although content marketing is highly effective, it can also take a lot of time and patience. PR offers a different strategy to get links back to your website; it helps to build brand awareness, which in turn drives relevant traffic to your site. Many say that the links are built much more naturally through PR, especially when a brand is passionate when telling their story. Alternatively, some may say that PR agencies don’t see the value in digital link-building as their success is measured by the number of press mentions and clippings they can get for their clients. For example, a PR agency could get a company referenced within a news story, but not worry too much about including links back to their website. This could be seen as an old-fashioned method of marketing, as there is now a growing number of people who believe that digital marketing is the way forward.
Combining the Two
So, we know what the benefits of content marketing are, but will it ever fully replace more traditional PR methods?
Businesses can’t really be without content marketing now that the customer is demanding a more personalised service. But, combining it with PR techniques could have great benefits for your business. Capital One, for example, are overlapping PR marketing with content marketing in a bid to tell a holistic story for their audience. In this article, they say that PR sits at the centre of a branded content ecosystem. Imagine a Venn diagram with 3 circles: 1 being what consumers are interested in, another being what is culturally relevant, and the other being the story of the brand. According to Capital One, the commonality between the 3 circles is where PR makes the most impact.
If you need to announce a big, time-sensitive news story relating to your business, PR is the way forward - PR agencies can help secure press mentions in lots of publications through media outreach methods, and quick. This will hopefully create a certain buzz with the right audience, who can then go to your website and read your content for more details. Working in unison with a PR team could help your business survive in an increasingly crowded digital world.
The evolving world of marketing...
The world of marketing is always growing and evolving, impacting on the types of techniques we use to reach our audiences. It’s vital to keep up with these changes, incorporating new methodologies into our marketing strategies in order to keep attracting new customers. Content marketing is new, it’s exciting, and it certainly has brilliant effects. But, perhaps we’re not ready to completely say goodbye to older PR techniques; combining the two could actually be hugely beneficial.
What does the future hold? Well, as everything is becoming digitised, we see content marketing becoming the most used technique. What do you think? If this was a race, would content marketing already be winning?
If you want to produce great content for your website, why not get started today? We provide a free health check to help you build better digital marketing strategies. So request your free marketing report and one-hour expert consultation now…