Journal – Content-Centric Communication: How Companies Integrate PR and Content Marketing

In a communication world in which the boundaries between media genres are increasingly blurring and social media trends are driving the publishing world more and more, it is increasingly difficult to define and delimit the PR discipline. If my company’s blog post gets retweeted, will it be a success for the PR makers or for the social media people? Should this distinction even exist? More and more companies want to adapt their communication to these new requirements and interlink their PR with disciplines such as social media and content marketing. How can an integrated content strategy in the B2C and B2B area succeed?

One possibility to shed a little light on the complex chaos of modern corporate communication is the PESO model. It divides communication channels into four types: Paid, Earned, Owned and Shared or Social. While with paid communication, for example, the budget is converted into reach through media switching and self-published with own (owned) channels, reach can be “earned” in the earned area. The story, the content or the form are so attractive and relevant that multipliers and recipients take them up or consume them voluntarily.

Before the Internet age, PR in the sense of public relations and press work was practically the only way to “earn” attention. Without a traditional media partner as a multiplier, the options were limited. Therefore, PR professionals had a lot of practice preparing their messages in such a way that they were picked up as often as possible. Personal relationships with the important gatekeepers did the rest to ensure this success.

In order for a story to be picked up in classic media, it must meet a number of criteria, for example contain news, be culturally significant or surprising. These criteria summarize the news value theory, which is certainly known to the reader. Now every multiplier has the property that it can reach a larger number of recipients than the sender itself – which in practice means that the criteria of the multiplier ultimately determine which information reaches its recipients. Not every reader of a magazine decides individually whether a topic reaches them. Rather, it is the membership of the group of these magazine readers that ensures that he comes into contact with certain information.

In PR practice, this means that companies sometimes align their messages more with the requirements of the media than with the overlapping but rarely congruent interests of their actual target group. The “Every company is a media company” media revolution, which has already been extensively described in the marketing scene, now means that the possibilities for direct communication with the target group are increasing more and more and are now also somewhat sluggish in German compared to the English-speaking world Have sufficiently differentiated the communication market to make new communication technologies a standard that is worth thinking about.

Content marketing and PR: related, but often divided

When the content marketing trend picked up speed a few years ago, old-school PR professionals took it for granted to take it for themselves. After all, they were – at least felt – the king of long forms, the expert on content. And even if the ability to bring even complex content into a tastable form is often very pronounced among PR learners, a shortcoming soon became apparent: traditional corporate communication often only knew a few channels, the most important of which was usually cooperation with multipliers , read journalists, was.

So it was now possible to create extremely high-quality content and put it on the website or on social media. And then hope that journalists or bloggers will pick them up. Meanwhile, however, other, originally digital disciplines, passed the modernized corporate communication left and right: professional bloggers, inbound marketers, SEO specialists and integrated communication specialists.

As a result, it became clear in many companies that “content” is more of an online discipline and is accordingly produced by the appropriate specialists. A surprisingly few communication departments have an established and well-functioning interface between content marketing and PR. Mostly – at best – it is a collaboration based on a collegial exchange.

The contribution is an excerpt from the Book “Digital Management – The Guide to Excellent Management in the Age of Digital Knowledge and Communication” (ISBN-No .: 978-3-658-23052-4). Stefan Epler first published his essay there.

About the author: Stefan Epler has been with Lewis since 2008 and has played a key role in the transformation of Lewis from a PR agency to a broad-based communications agency. He has been Vice President Marketing Strategy at Lewis since the beginning of 2020 and is responsible for expanding the service portfolio and the agency’s digitization strategy in Germany.

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