Whether you work for a PR agency or are part of a corporate communications team, the jobs are the same: Build trust with target audiences, increase brand awareness, and ultimately, help grow business. Today, a constantly shifting, commoditized landscape makes achieving those goals more challenging than ever. Media relations used to be the ticket. Land prime coverage in the mainstream press, and you’d ride the momentum it generated for what seemed like months. Not so much – or at all – anymore. Now, content marketing is the strategy du jour. Or is it?

For most brands, it doesn’t need to be an either-or scenario. You need both – media relations and content marketing – working together.

Here’s why media relations and content marketing work best together.

Too many marketers and PR/comms pros are banking on one more than the other. And even today, with trust in media reaching all-time lows, many are still focused more on media. Reasons vary, but popular opinion cites content marketing as too time and resource intensive. To be clear, doing content marketing right and well does require a lot of both. But here’s the secret: It’s easier than you believe to take your media relations program and use it to fuel content marketing.

After all, content is core to media relations AND content marketing. Invest in the content.

Content is core to media relations AND content marketing. Invest in the content.Click To Tweet

Media relations is just one cog in the content wheel.

Let’s face it. Trust in media – publications, platforms, reporters, journalists – is low, and by some accounts, still falling. So, while third-party credibility may no longer be all that credible on its own, published content is still valuable. It gives you something new to socialize, to post on the website, to share with your customer database and say, “Hey, look at this!”

Embrace brand journalism and be your own best publisher… and reporter.

But you don’t need to wait for media to publish your story. You can also do it yourself. Take the bylined article you’ve conceived and drafted, and convert it into a blog or blog series, depending on the length. Just add some images or photography to make it visually appealing, make sure your article includes natural references to important keywords, break up your copy with subheads or bullets, and pull out some tweetable quotes for design variety. Post it on your website, your LinkedIn profile and open publishing platforms like Medium. Once it’s up, send a short email to everyone in your friends and family database to get direct engagement with your content.

If your corporate experts are waiting to be interviewed by the press, become the press. Take those pitch topics and create your own Q&A series. You can be the journalist interviewing your experts or customers, produced in low tech video or even audio formats. You can create Q&A videos to be featured on or to accompany your blog, or produce your own podcast or YouTube series. Or, particularly if you have or want to build a strong social following, try using Facebook Live or Instagram Video to broadcast unassuming yet provocative short chats in conjunction with topics or headlines that are currently in the news. This strategy allows you to act quickly when news is breaking, calling on one of your executives or key opinion leaders to react and share perspective in the moment.

Get creative with packaging your story.

Do you have some research or survey results? Or perhaps you simply have a perspective on how your industry is changing. If your “news” falls flat in plain copy, try bringing it to life in an easily digestible visual format. Most of us process and retain information based on what we see, so whether you want to share statistics or new ideas, putting it into a purely visual form increases both interest and engagement. You can lean on a design expert or try one of the many free or economical resources like Picktochart or Canva. Once you have your final product, share it everywhere you can internally and externally. Feature it on your website, send it to your databases, have employees link to it in their email signatures and share on their social networks, etc.

If you have a compelling story worth listening to, the question isn’t really whether you should share it via media or via content marketing. Do both and let the effects of each multiply in your favor. You’ll find that the more ways you’re building awareness and bringing people into your funnel, the better. After all, you want your audiences to hear and read great things about your brand – and equally valuable things from your brand.

pr strategy
For nearly 15 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.