Public relations is the practice of creating mutually-beneficial relationships by providing relevant and timely information to an audience that already exists. Content marketing, meanwhile, is all about creating content that attracts and retains new audience members.
While these concepts may seem like opposite ends of the communication spectrum, combining content marketing and PR offers a new approach to lead generation for your organization.
Current Challenges in Lead Generation
Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are on the rise. About 60% of marketers say that their CAC has increased over the past three years, making it more important than ever for companies to both identify potential leads and increase the chances that these leads are quickly converted into paying customers.
Content marketing excels at the second part of this equation. As a result, companies are earmarking more of their marketing budgets for content-based campaigns; as noted by the Marketing Insider Group, the most successful companies now spend up to 40% of their total marketing budget on content-driven campaigns. PR budgets are also growing as companies look to keep existing connections strong — in the U.S. alone, businesses now spend more than 6 billion per year on public relations efforts.
The result? Spending to keep current customers and drive conversions is on the rise. However, for many companies, lead generation is hampered by content nets that are too wide to capture the ideal audience, and PR approaches that focus too much on maintaining the status quo.
Can you use PR for lead generation?
Yes. By combining traditional PR approaches with content marketing strategies, it’s possible to leverage existing audiences as a jumping-off point for new connections.
On its own, PR is designed to keep current audiences interested and disseminate key information about business operations to relevant news and industry outlets.
By integrating techniques that content marketers use to drive engagement (quizzes, questionnaires or user generated content), it’s possible for PR teams to generate new leads that have existing connections with current audiences in order to capture more of the target market.
How Content Marketing and PR can Work Together
PR and content marketing are two sides of the same coin. Both focus on creating and communicating valuable information — just for two different audiences.
When it comes to PR, the goal is to educate existing audiences, such as loyal customers, stakeholders, and social media followers, about topics of interest. Assets created by public relations teams — such as press releases, white papers, or eBooks — are often posted on news sites or shared with industry publications to reach an audience that’s already listening.
Content marketing teams, meanwhile, focus on consistently creating high-value content that’s both timely and relevant and then sharing this content in hopes of generating new customer interest and expanding the overall audience. Content marketing teams are often responsible for email campaigns that encourage users to click through on new products or download reports; they may also create newsletters and social media posts and coordinate marketing partnerships such as those with social media influencers.
Combining these two approaches makes it possible to find and generate leads that are likely to become loyal customers.
Not sure where to get started with lead generation under a content marketing/PR model? We’ve got you covered with seven strategy options.
How to Generate Leads with Content Marketing and PR Strategies
Find new channels
Combine science and art
Talk up your accomplishments
Create a reciprocal content framework
Lean on established connections
Keep communications open
1. Find new channels
News travels fast. So fast, in fact, that even digital news outlets often can’t keep up. For businesses, this means that it remains important to submit PR pieces to familiar news sources and industry publications. It’s also worth finding accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that offer similar news coverage at speed.
By using a combination of familiar and fast-moving options for content distribution, companies can increase their reach and their impact.
2. Combine science and art
While PR’s focus has long been on written content— press releases and white papers that contain the science of data collection and statistical interpretation — there’s a growing demand for visual content that offers a lower bar to entry.
The result? Marrying the in-depth content created by PR teams with more broadly-applicable infographic art developed by content marketing experts will help your content reach the widest audience possible.
3. Repurpose content
When it comes to content marketing and PR combined, there’s nothing wrong with copying yourself, so long as you do it the right way.
Here’s what it looks like in practice: You create a white paper or eBook about a new product, then repurpose this content to create multiple, shorter blog posts. The result? You capture both PR and content markets with similar — but not identical — content.
4. Talk up your accomplishments
Don’t be shy about awards you’ve won or honors you’ve received. Often listed on press releases, companies may be reluctant to mention awards in content marketing efforts for fear of veering too far away from social conversation into sales.
In reality, it’s worth highlighting what you’re good at, both on your website and in any content marketing campaign efforts. While there’s a balance to strike here between self-love and self-awareness, the evolving nature of consumer expectations has customers seeking out brands who have the credentials to back up big claims.
5. Create a reciprocal content framework
Your content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Consider a white paper used by PR teams and then reposted as a blog and social media link by content marketers. If content teams can prompt engagement from potential customers, such as giving feedback or leaving comments, this can help inform the focus of the next piece of PR content, which in turn gives rise to the next content campaign.
6. Lean on established connections
Both what you know and who you know matters in marketing. It’s worth leveraging PR connections to help drive content strategies. These could be social media influencers, industry experts, or even long-term customers who are willing to share your content.
For influencers, this could mean an ongoing freelancer arrangement that requires a specific number of posts. For long-term clients, discounts or other offers could pave the way for content sharing.
7. Keep communications open
Last but never least in the fast-moving world of consumer purchasing trends? PR and content marketing teams need to stay in constant communication. This both reduces the risk of redundant or outdated content making it to news outlets or onto social media sites and helps ensure that new campaigns are coordinated for maximum effect.
Examples of Content Marketing and PR Lead Generation Strategies
So what does this combination of PR and content marketing look like in practice? Let’s take a look at four real-world examples.
1. Wells Fargo
PR is about digging into the details, while content marketing focuses on the outcome. Both work in favor of Wells Fargo, which donates up to 1.5% of its total revenue to charitable causes every year.
As a press release this is good information, but as part of a larger content marketing campaign, especially during the covid-19 pandemic, it’s a great way for the company to show themselves doing some good and connect with new customers.
Ford is focusing on sustainability and has committed $22 billion for vehicle electrification efforts to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal with a substantial timeline — but it also fits neatly with the current public focus on green initiatives.
By creating a narrative around this sustainable approach, Ford has the potential to reach environmentally-conscious consumers who would have otherwise avoided the popular vehicle maker.
Google is also committed to energy reduction but has had more impact on the social side of corporate social responsibility (CSR) thanks to its outspoken CEO, Sundar Pichai, who is willing to engage both industry and world leaders in areas of social responsibility and equality.
As a result, Google is not only able to leverage its massive data resources to deliver relevant PR statistics but can back it up with socially-conscious action that makes for compelling content.
Streaming giant Netflix offers paid parental leave for parents — most take between four and eight months but they can take up to a year — putting them well ahead of most corporations.
While the parental leave itself is a great talking point, combining information about this program with details about the ongoing success of the company at scale creates a great content narrative, one that could pay significant dividends over time as companies grapple with the ongoing impact of The Great Resignation.
PR and Content Marketing: Making the Most of this Dynamic Duo
PR and content marketing together can bring lead generation opportunities to the table. Public relations offers relevant information for interested parties to help create reciprocal relationships, while content marketing makes it possible to streamline the process of lead-to-customer conversion.
By combining forces, these disparate delivery methods become a dynamic duo, capable of generating leads that are more likely to convert — and more likely to share their experiences with other potential customers.
Want to make the most of this practical pairing? Use PR to establish and reinforce relationships with industry insiders and influencers, then lean on their connections to distribute purpose-built content that helps generate high-quality leads across your target audience.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?
Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.
Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:
Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.
The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”
So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?
No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.
Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.
Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?
So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.
It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.
But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?
I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.
It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.
What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.
So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.
Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.
It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.
That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.
This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.
The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.
Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.
In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.
Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.
The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.
He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.
Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.