PR and Content Marketing: How Do They Work Together?


“Nothing sticks in your head better than a story. Stories can express the most complicated ideas in the most digestible ways.”

— Sam Balter, Sr. Marketing Manager of Podcasts, HubSpot

You might be under the impression that the world before the internet was a quiet one when it came to marketing. No Twitter to tweet the latest news. There wasn’t a blog post in sight. Influencers weren’t bombarding their followers with promotions on the daily. And you certainly couldn’t read the latest on your favorite brand from Facebook. 

The pre-internet marketing world adhered to newspaper ads, TV commercials, and breaking news–one of the only ways to get the word out about your brand was to be in touch with journalists who were able (and willing) to tell your story.

Could we argue that by fast-forwarding a couple of decades, marketing is nothing like it used to be? Yes and no. Traditional advertising succeeded back then, but they also have tremendous success today too, just in different ways. 


Marketing in the 21st Century

Advertising products and services has developed in ways PR professionals probably never would have expected. At one point in time, you had to have a relationship with journalists and editors to reach an audience. But now look at the marketing world. All it takes to put a story out there is a blog platform or social media channel.

It’s become increasingly easy to tell stories and build brand awareness. So does that mean that PR is lost? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It’s quite the opposite, actually. 

“PR finds a way to take a brand’s story and make it relevant, make people care, and then act,” whether that be to buy your brand’s product or service or take action in whatever way you’re pushing for. Public relations is the perfect complement to what we refer to as the modern way of marketing–content marketing. Content marketing tells your brand story and shares your values, and so does PR–the two work hand-in-hand.

We recently chatted with PR professional, dream team leader, and Founder and CEO of K. Sutherland Public Relations, Kerry Sutherland. During our conversation, Kerry touched on some crucial information that business owners have to understand in order to be successful with their PR or content marketing efforts. That crucial information? You need both.

PR and content marketing are the perfect match for brand awareness, let’s talk why.


How PR Has Evolved

Sure, the ways we communicate and consume information have changed drastically over the last few decades, but what hasn’t changed, is us as consumers–as real people. There are still only 24 hours in a single day and our attention spans are limited based on our lifestyles and interests. But what has, in fact, changed drastically is that the fight for our attention has become far more competitive than it ever used to be.

You’ll never not see an ad while scrolling through social media. There are product promotions in movies and TV shows. And you won’t catch someone with more than 1M followers not promoting a brand. The fight for consumer attention is a constant battle.

Kerry tells us that “in the last few years, a revolutionary tool has entered the world of PR: influencer marketing. Now, normal, everyday people are the biggest tastemakers that money can buy, building the framework of what is cool and what [is] not.” It’s no longer brands who are constantly pushing their products on you (although they still do), but it’s more common for real people to be getting products in front of you instead.

The rise of influencer marketing is one source of the fight for consumer attention, another is the overall world of digital media. “The digital age of news has created an oversaturation of content, so it is more important for PR professionals to be able to hone in on unique, timely angles without getting lost in the mess of irrelevant, overly promotional content out there.” That being said, what it comes down to with PR and content is developing strategic plans that focus solely on those unique, key-catching stories.

PR marketing strategies allow brands to develop adequate brand awareness in this ever-changing world of marketing. In order for content to create the biggest possible impact and reach the best audience it can, that content must be backed up by a strong campaign with a well thought-out strategic plan. 

similarities between public relations and marketing


The Goals And Strategies That Content Marketing And PR Share

When it comes to marketing, there is generally one overall goal involved–getting consumers to make a purchase. Although this is true, each marketing strategy plays its own role in making those conversions happen. When it comes to this conversation, here’s the specific difference between public relations and content marketing strategies: 

  • Content marketing is all about getting attention for your brand by telling stories and providing free value.
  • PR, on the other hand, is all about reaching out to exactly the right people at exactly the right time and drawing their attention.  

Now, the similarities between public relations and marketing is a much easier concept to explain because both strive for the same goals. Kerry tells us that “in general PR and content marketing both aim to position the brand/company as a thought leader and set it apart from the competition. For PR, that could mean anything from creating stories to giving the media a reason to talk about a brand. Where PR shows a consumer how this brand aligns with their preexisting interests and values, content marketing shows a consumer that they should connect with a brand.”


PR And Content Marketing: A Powerful Marketing Match

We believe great content marketing is one of the driving forces of a thriving brand. Free value, information your audience is thirsty for, giving them more than just a product with insight they can take away and put to use–that’s what content marketing is all about.

But the thing is, without eyes on your content, it doesn’t matter–it’s invisible. And in that case, why even bother creating it? Content has to be seen and heard in order to create the sought out value and relationships you’re aiming to create with your customers. That’s why there’s a perfect match between PR and content marketing–content needs PR to back it up and help it thrive. 

Kerry puts it best: “It all comes down to connection. Both PR and content marketing aim to create a connection between the product or idea and a genuinely interested audience. In the most successful campaigns, PR writes the story, and content marketing makes sure you don’t forget it.”


A Perfect PR Example, And Some Content Marketing Too

Let’s hit you with an example. How do content marketing and PR really work together? Kerry Sutherland explains:

“Working in PR, it’s really hard for me to read an article online, or watch the news without questioning why it’s in front of me. If it’s not breaking news, I immediately look for a motive behind the headline. I can think of so many brands who are really effective (and aggressive) in their content marketing, but a general example that most people have probably stumbled on are Entrepreneur profile stories. You usually read them online (think Inc., Forbes, etc.), and they’re excellent PR placements on their own, but even better if amplified via a strategic content marketing campaign.”


The Grand Ol’ Takeaway

So there you have it folks–you need PR and content marketing for your small business. Put those valuable stories and that prized information into the hands of the right people (PR professionals) and watch what it will do for your brand.

Thanks, Kerry, for the awesome insight! Go check her and K. Sutherland Public Relations out at https://ksutherlandpr.com/.