Content marketing is quickly changing how public relations (PR) agencies engage target audiences and how they can demonstrate their value to clients. In case you aren’t familiar with the term yet, content marketing is the process of generating high-quality online content that builds trust and fosters community among your brand’s target audience, and positions your brand as an industry thought leader.
To run a successful content marketing department, you need a two-pronged approach: you must generate high-quality written content and then promote that content so that it appears in all of the right places online. The promotional aspect of content marketing is where PR professionals come into play.
A NEW WHEELHOUSE
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, notes that the ability for brands to communicate directly with customers through online channels has decreased the importance of traditional PR approaches.
For this reason, PR agencies will increasingly need people who not only know how to plan events and write press releases, but also promote online content.
These PR professionals will also need to know how to conduct effective email outreach; use tools like Google Analytics; manage social media communities and use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to engage and reach their target audiences.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in traditional journalism plummeted between 2000 and 2010, but the number of PR specialist and manager jobs rose by nearly 63%, and is expected to increase another 21% between 2010 and 2020.
The team at Software Advice did a quick search on New York City’s Craigslist postings to get a better picture of the job market for PR, journalism and content marketing. Here is what it found:
The rising demand for public relations jobs, in concert with the growth of content marketing positions, means more career opportunities for PR professionals. However, since these newly created content marketing roles are a hybrid of traditional journalism and PR responsibilities and online search and marketing functions, you must ensure that you have the skillset required.
In other words, you need to be ready to answer your boss or client when they walk into your office and say, “How are we going to use social media to promote this month’s product launch?”
As more businesses and organizations continue to adopt content marketing, there will be a greater need for PR professionals who are not only skilled in traditional promotion, but also know how to manage Web PR and are familiar with the ins and outs of Google Analytics, email outreach and social media engagement.
Here are four tips for PR professionals who want to prove their value to their agency and clients by capitalizing on the growth of content marketing:
1. Engage your target audience directly. Keep in mind that big media outlets and promotional events are not necessarily the best way to engage your target audience these days. You must learn how to go directly to the source, using tools like social media communities and industry blogs to find and connect with the right people online.
2. Learn in-demand Web skills. If you want to increase your value at your agency and stay relevant in the content marketing world, expand your skill set beyond writing press releases and pitching big media reporters. Focus on developing valuable abilities such as social media marketing, SEO tactics and Web development.
3. Develop in-house content strategies. As an experienced PR professional, you are likely a good storyteller. Use these skills to develop internal content strategies, such as blogs and social profiles, instead of just seeking promotion for your company through outside (and traditional) media outlets.
4. Be prepared to respond in real time. Twitter and Facebook are forcing PR professionals to be quicker on their feet than ever before. If you plan to be effective and respond quickly to your targets, make sure you have post-ready responses and materials before you begin your outreach efforts.
By embracing the content marketing trend and learning how to use these new tools to conduct smart, forward-looking campaigns and content strategies, you can increase your value as a PR pro. PRN
Holly Regan is a managing editor at Software Advice. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the October 21 issue of PR News. Subscribe to PR News today to receive weekly comprehensive coverage of the most fundamental PR topics from visual storytelling to crisis management to media training.