What Is a Content PR Strategy?

It’s no secret that the media landscape has changed and reporters no longer can cover companies in their beat the same way they did 5 years ago, 10 years ago, etc. Most reporters are struggling to keep their heads above water, with many more demands placed on their time. This landscape continues to change the public relations practice.  Companies are realizing that they won’t receive the same amount of earned media coverage that they used to. If you’re a new, small and privately held company, what should you do?

Don’t wait for a reporter to tell your story. Turn to a content PR strategy instead and focus on creating content that addresses the concerns that your customers and prospects face.

The hard realities are that:

  • Many publications pay attention to the ‘big boys’ in the market, the companies with dollars for sponsorships and ad campaigns.
  • Publications are understaffed and writers are overwhelmed.
  • It is challenging to generate awareness.
Image: Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

Image: Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

What is Content PR?

A content PR strategy is a way to focus on a few key areas of concern to your target audience – in your case, current and future partners and customers.

The idea is to directly address these areas of concern in all your communication by creating interest among the media and other opinion leaders to write or talk about you.  With content PR, you address those concerns through media you publish yourself, (such as blog posts, ebooks, videos, webinars, and press releases), share with others (such as through social media or contributed articles) or coverage that you earn.

How does a content PR strategy work?

Tell your own story! You take control, become your own ‘publisher’ using your website and social channels.

  • You educate editors and analysts about the big problem(s) you solve, the trends you observe, the insight you have.
  • You address concerns that trade pubs might neglect or your competitors overlook.
  • You write, target and place your content and messages with media outlets in the form of news, briefings, interviews and contributed pieces

Next, consider how some of these stories might be reworked as contributed pieces for one of your trade or business media outlets. For example, your company’s support for a particular industry standard might lend itself to a viewpoint article from your CEO. Or perhaps that great photo of your employees recycling items during a community cleanup day would be welcome as a contributed photo by your local weekly.

“Journalists are looking for more than just press releases and data these days – they need content, content that really engages their audiences and provides more depth to the conversation,” said Jane Hunt, head of marketing and co-founder of UK-based JBH-The Content Agency.  

Content PR vs the Old Way of Doing PR

  • Content PR is always on – there is no “going dark” if you don’t have traditional news to announce.
  • Control your “editorial calendar” — stay above the noise of the trade shows and conferences, and other busy times.
  • Better use of budget – Skip the wire service for some press releases; deliver news directly to people who care, through your email newsletter, your RSS feed, or your blog.
  • Become a company that educates the market, understands customer problems, and provides solutions.

How Will You Know it’s Working?

You will know your content PR strategy is working when your valuable, original content is rewarded with awareness and interest in the form of increasing numbers of web links, better search-engine optimization, and higher Domain Authority.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is a way to measure the impact of owned, earned and other content.

Domain Authority (DA), developed by a firm called Moz, predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. (Are you on the first page of a Google search?)  It is scored from 1-100, with higher scores corresponding to more awareness.  

Higher DA = More Awareness

In your content PR strategy, you are aiming for coverage in target publications that are at least 20 points higher than your current DA. When you get links from sites with a higher DA, your website DA will eventually go up, too.

That means people are more likely to find your site and any related media coverage closer to the top of a Google search.

Your hard-earned third-party endorsement respected media outlets gets even more traction.  And, you get more interaction with your owned content.

What is the PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) Model?

According to PR measurement guru Gini Dietrich, the various media platforms can be classified as Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) media.

PESO Model

Image: Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks

  • Paid media–ads in traditional media and sites such as Google. Organizations pay for space to distribute info on products and services
  • Earned—stories in traditional mass media selected by the gatekeepers—we don”t pay for it
  • Shared–social media posts and content
  • Owned—media channels owned by your organization. Your website, Facebook page, podcasts, blogs, brochures, etc.

How do you Generate Owned Media?

Think of owned media as direct storytelling. Owned media is content you create and you distribute such as:

    • Blog posts
    • Webinars
    • Videos
    • Ebooks
    • Product literature
    • News releases

What is Earned Media?

Think of earned media as “placed” content — like that CEO viewpoint —  or articles written by a journalist about your company. Because they have been vetted by media “gatekeepers,” these all have an implied endorsement.

Therefore, earned media is content about you, or contributed by you, published in media outlets. These can include:

    • News and trend stories
    • Feature stories and profiles
    • Articles
    • Viewpoints

Gini Dietrich, creator of the PESO model, often tells PR representatives, “If you aren’t using the PESO model for your communications work, and measuring the meaningful metrics that help an organization grow, you will not have a job in 10 years.”

What tactics presented here might you use to reach your goals?

(This article was originally published on Business2Community and has been changed slightly.)