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Why PR and Content Marketing Are the Same Thing

This post was first published by Blaise Lucey on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Press releases are the bread-and-butter of any company hoping to make a splash. They help showcase your latest product or service or show some cutting-edge research into the industry. More importantly, of course, journalists and analysts will cover the announcement. A good release can grow your brand awareness by getting your company’s name out there.

That said, announcing your product is one thing and getting your target audience to read the announcement is another.  With the right press release distribution channels, you can get a lot of people skimming the headline, but how can you encourage those impatient internet surfers to actually engage with the material?

A new study by PR Newswire found that the key may be to use content marketing. Additional files in press releases like PDFs, word documents or videos were found to increase press release views by 48 to 77 percent.

The Importance of Mixing Content Marketing with Traditional PR

These kinds of statistics shouldn’t be surprising. Having useful content can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to educate an audience about tech issues, products and services.

More and more, press releases are becoming a gateway to that education.

The goal of a press release is to intrigue. Supplemental content should educate. If your readers are journalists, they’ll know even more about your product or service and can write a more compelling article. If they’re potential customers, they’ll start to see how your company can help them.

Businesses that go beyond a “simple company logo” can even boost shares of press releases from .99 times per hour to 3.5, according to the study.

PR Newswire didn’t skimp out on the research here. The organization analyzed more than 10,000 customer press releases over a one-month period.

Here’s what they found:

  • A photo increased views by 14%
  • A video increased views by 20%
  • A photo and a video increased views by 48%
  • Photos, videos, presentations, or PDFs increased views by 77%

Creating Content that Works

The study concludes that more companies are depending on press releases to act as lead generation tools and using more multimedia content within releases is the best way to do that.

Adding multimedia isn’t free, but if the content produces leads, then it’s worth it.

Videos can be costly, but for tech companies, they can be a cornerstone to a broader marketing campaign. Likewise, PDFs and online presentations are pretty affordable. An online presentation with a specific purpose and audience in mind, for example, can engage potential customers and tell a deeper story about the company.

That’s where the planning should come in. After all, using a press release to generate leads is only part of the story. Where do they go? How do you track them?

A hypothetical presentation within the press release is important, but it’s only the top of the funnel.

Effective content marketing means that you’ll have another step waiting for people after they see the presentation— a sign-up form, a guide that requires an email, a free demo, or just a number to call or a blog to visit.

Is There a Line Between Content Marketing and PR?

Judging from PR Newswire’s study, a well-placed byline with a link to a presentation can be just as powerful as adding a presentation to a press release.

Content marketing traditionally highlights the blog as the lead generation and brand awareness weapon of choice, but what if you have the ability to pitch a reporter a great byline that discusses or links to another piece of powerful content?

PR Newswire’s research shows that there’s a lot of potential for PR opportunities when content marketing is used effectively and strategically. Bylines can lead to blog posts, blog posts to bylines, and press releases can serve as gateways for both.

So, now the question is: do companies have enough time to do it all?

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