Comparing the differences between PR and content marketing

In the past years, many brands relied on traditional PR to persuade public perception. They used efforts such as newspapers, radio, magazines and TV. The world went digital so that meant that brands needed to make efforts to grow their online presence. That is how content marketing comes into play. Wait, but isn’t digital PR and content marketing the same? In short, no, they are not the same but they are similar.

If you are one of the people that confuse public relations (PR) and content marketing, this article is for you. We will highlight the differences between content marketing and PR.


What is PR?

The PR definition known by PR practitioners is that PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public. PR focuses on promoting a brand and increasing awareness. PR professionals leverage the power of television, radio, newspapers, and magazines to manage the public’s opinion and generate interest.

People usually think of traditional PR every time they hear the term PR. However, PR does have a digital side. Instead of focusing just on traditional media outlets, digital PR seeks coverage through online news sources, social media, blogs, and websites. The practitioners combine the traditional media with a wider online strategy to take advantage of the reach of the digital world.

Why does PR – digital or traditional – matter? Because without it, it’s difficult to build brand awareness while sending a positive message to the correct audiences. In addition, it helps build trust and maintain credibility while increasing leads, sales, and profits.


What is content marketing?

Content marketing is an effective way to promote and build a brand. It involves creating content that will drive traffic, sharing, engagement and ultimately customer action. Understanding what customers need and want thereafter publishing useful and relevant content to cater to them.

Content marketing is important because it serves as an effective way to connect with audiences, increase conversions, enhance SEO, and generate leads. Content marketing builds a community of engagement through content that educates and provides the customer with solutions to a problem they may not have known they have.


Differences between PR and content marketing

PR and content marketing are easily confused because they can seem quite similar, so it may be a bit difficult to differentiate the two. Just like PR, content marketing is focused on an effort to improve brand awareness for a brand. Also, both aim to communicate a certain message to a target audience. However, the way each one achieves that goal can differ from strategies implemented to measuring success metrics. Let us have a look at the differences between PR and content marketing.


Distribution channels

The distribution channels for PR and content marketing are different. PR professionals reach out to print avenues and local media for the distribution of content. With content marketing, platforms like social media are used to share information with followers of the brand and a network of people who are interested in what the business has to say. While both tactics can use a variety of channels to get the message across, there is a clear difference in the approach.

PR practitioners communicate with an audience that is already existent which includes readers of a magazine or an audience hearing a speech. On the other hand, content marketing creates its own audience based on the message it would like to get across.


The copy

When PR practitioners pitch a story to journalists, they don’t have the power to approve the final copy and sign off on how the media will position the client’s brand. In some instances, journalists do publish press releases without making changes to the copy. In other cases, journalists make edits to the copy in a way they believe will interest the audience. Whereas with content marketing, content marketers create the copy that appears on blogs or in publications, they basically own the copy.


Measuring success metrics

In PR, success can be measured by the number of media placements and the authority of the media house a brand received coverage from. In addition, they measure the number of website visits or leads generated from digital news media. Content marketers focus more on measuring success through traffic, engagement metrics and conversions.


Final thoughts

Content marketers don’t have to compete with PR professionals. By working side by side, they can elevate a brand’s presence and take awareness to the next level. As bringing together the real world and the digital world by using both elements is an effective way to communicate a brand’s message. Having both a PR and content strategy is one of the best ways for a brand to survive in an increasingly crowded digital space.

Pearlmar Chauke