How PRs have become custodians of content for brands

Brands are exploring the necessity to integrate the roles of public relations and content marketing teams to reach the right audience with the right content at the right time. talks to brands and PR agencies to understand their contribution in content strategies

Akanksha Nagar
New Update
Post Thumb

With the advent of digital and growth of content marketing, the role of public relations is changing over the years. PR in content marketing strategy has evolved from just being a facilitator in spreading content to what it is now — joining hands with content production from the very nascent stage of a brand’s content strategy.

Today brands integrate the role of PRs with that of content marketers to put forth a content piece that connects well with the audience and keeps up with the latest trends and developments. For brands, PRs have become the custodians of what content goes out from their end.

To what extent brands are dependent on PRs for their content strategies? Why has it become important for brands to have integrated the roles of both teams? And what benefits do brands get in this? digs deeper.

In an interaction, Tanya Chaudhary, Manager Brand Communications, Madison Public Relations, said, “The success of PR and content marketing are not mutually exclusive. It is true that PR and content have their respective benefits and one can see win using either approach. But they work better together than independently. PR and content marketing share a common goal — to create quality messaging related to the brand, sharing and amplifying the same.”

Akshaara Lalwani

In the last few years, the importance of content marketing has grown manifold with the increase in the number of influencers, bloggers and specialists. The internet’s reach is monumental and hence to get the right message across, it becomes imperative to marry both. This form of communication is the best trick to achieve the maximum results for any brand. Unless the PR team is linked with the content marketing team, brands will not have a strong engaging audience. More than that, the PR and the kind of content a brand puts out becomes a major decision-making factor among consumers, and is able to create a distinction and identity for a brand in a cluttered market space. “It is online reputation management, seeding content, addressing critics, and creating credibility,” said Akshaara Lalwani, CEO and Founder, Communicate India.

Sonam Shah

“PR plays a very important tool in creating awareness for SMEs and MSMEs that do not have big budgets for 360-degree marketing campaigns. PR helps them build brand recall and provides third-party promotion, which is a very big value addition for them in the initial years of business,” said Sonam Shah, Founder and CEO, Treize Communication.

Ariel India ’s #ShareTheLoad and Rajasthan Tourism’s   ‘Jaane Kya Dikh Jaaye’ content strategies are a few examples that became more popular, thanks to PR.

Sandeep Verma

Citing one such example, Sandeep Verma, President, Bajaj Corp, mentioned how Bajaj Almond Drop Hair Oil entered the Guinness World Records with the inception of an idea from the PR team.

He said, “The PR team provides you with an unbiased view of the outside world. Content marketers otherwise have a very myopic view. A good PR team would provide content marketers the mirror.”

Using the PR insights, a piece of content can be created in a better way. It is crucial for brands to involve PR from the inception stage of strategising content as it will ensure maximum eyeballs among the target audience and will definitely help break the clutter. Apart from this, the optimisation of press releases imbibed with built-in keywords prove to be great SEO tools. By providing a newer perspective to the content marketing teams, PRs now help them with creating fresher, holistic content.

The consumption patterns of readers are evolving; readers across all age groups prefer news in a short format. This creates a challenge of providing time-bound stories to the correct audience. If a PR activity is not done within the stipulated time period, the news or the story loses its value and will not be read by the target audience.

Srinivas Rao

Distribution of the content via any medium should also be equally well taken care of. Quoting one such example of #RethinkEthnic challenge by Melange, Lifestyle, where the team had researched well about the fashion bloggers beforehand, Srinivasa Rao, Head of Marketing Lifestyle, said, “Whatever the content goes out via influencer or on any portal, the content should not look force-fitted. Who is carrying the message of the brand is equally important and the medium should be respected.”

A crisp content, targeted or focussed media approach and an eye on the ROI of the PR are few other vital points to keep in mind. The ROI of any PR, which is measured through impressions and reach, directly impacts the reach of the brand.

Talking about the slow growth of such integration between PR and content team in India, Shah pointed out public relations as a tool has not been understood correctly in India. When it comes to long-term associations, brands/clients do not understand the need of having a PR, and thus do not capitalise effectively.

The first step towards effective PR is building media relations. Profiling the spokesperson as a thought leader via guest articles, having them share views in industry stories or trend stories, speaking at various industry forums are some other PR methods.

While the role of PR professionals and PR agencies has grown from just disseminating the information to offer content-driven media approach, the same has not been accepted by clients, said Shah. Clients need to take a leap of faith in trusting the PR agency and be transparent in sharing information. Communication plays an integral role in PR, and it is not limited to the agency communicating to the media, it even means client and agency communication.

How PRs have become custodians of content for brands