Every company, especially a new startup, needs at least two tactics in its marketing arsenal: content marketing and public relations. Wielded strategically, these forces can work hand in hand to help you achieve victory and conquer the competition.
Think of your efforts as a military assault: Content marketing is your troops on the ground — your ground forces. Content marketing is material you yourself publish, create and share in order to establish thought leadership, trust and credibility. Crafting and sharing great content helps you attract new leads and sales. At the basic level, content marketing is your blog, social media activity and email newsletter.
And those channels should work in tandem: For example, you can have different thought leaders in your company regularly churn out blog posts. Next, you can share those posts directly to social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, or isolate quotes from those posts and overlay them onto images for Instagram.
You can then recycle those blog posts and utilize their content for your email newsletters or adapt the ideas to other mediums like vlogs and podcasts. Finally, content such as white papers, ebooks and guides can be offered in exchange for consumers’ contact information, such as their email addresses.
To continue the military metaphor: It’s important to have a robust force of content marketing troops marching forward and gaining ground. But, a caveat: All this heavy artillery won’t be as effective unless it has backup.
This is where PR swoops in to provide your ground troops with air cover in the form of third-party credibility.
Say, for example, that a prospect has come into contact with your brand through your content marketing. Perhaps this prospect has been enjoying your blog posts or following you on Pinterest. Or, maybe he or she subscribed to your email list and found tremendous value in an ebook your company puts out.
Now, the prospect is considering actually doing business with you. He/she has already seen the content you produce, but is going to want reassurance from others that you’re the real deal. This is when the prospect will likely Google your name to see what other people are saying about your business.
You can put out as much great content as you want, but if there’s no authority to back up your claims, your promises may ring hollow. However, if prospects and leads see that great article about you in Entrepreneur magazine, that fantastic write-up your company received in the Wall Street Journal or the positive mention you received in TechCrunch, they’ll feel much more comfortable working with you.
It’s true that content marketing has leveled the playing field and allowed brands to each create their own “media company.” But, some praise from the traditional gatekeepers, or media outlets, can impress leads, provide you with greater credibility as a thought leader and seal the deal — that is, drive more conversions.
When your target audience members do their due diligence to find out more about your company, they want to see that it is a respected and known leader in the industry. Being featured in a major media outlets as one of the “50 most innovative companies” in the nation or one of the fastest-growing startups will demonstrate that your business has been vetted by the experts.
In simple terms, then, when it comes to doing battle, PR has your back. It supports and defends your marketing efforts by providing that elusive magic factor that makes people say: “Wow, these people are legit.”