I hardly, if ever, until now, have written a post with such a combative headline. But, it cannot be helped. I am outraged that “content marketing” agencies are popping up, that contributing writers are asking prospects for cash to be written about, and that all of these services are being sold as PR. This is not PR, well, at least, not traditional PR. And, not what you need, if you want your company to show growth.
Content marketing is a great tool for creating brand awareness and thought leadership.
Yet, the articles are always talking around what you’re doing, not what you are launching or have accomplished. Why? Content marketing pieces are not allowed to talk about the companies who are writing them. They are not allowed to be commercial. They are branding exercises, thought pieces that give an executive an opportunity to comment on industry trends, best practices, how tos, etc.. Exclusively, that’s no way to run communications campaigns, and not traditional PR.
Do you need content marketing?
Yes, of course, but not without doing traditional PR too. The two need to work in concert. On one hand, you may not have the news to generate a press release or pitch. You still want to get “press.” And, there are plenty of publications, a list which I am willing share with anyone who asks, of publications that take “contributed articles.”
On the other hand, isn’t your company growing?
I hope so. You’ve got new partners to announce, product news, investment, hires, and so forth, right? You cannot announce that within your content marketing, unless you’re publishing that news on your corporate blog. You have to have PR.
PR is also an important tool to help you establish and maintain contact with reporters who cover your space. You’re telling a growing story to them. You cannot accomplish this feat by sending them your latest Huffington Post article. You need to show momentum, increase in revenue, year after year, case studies, and so forth.
And, meanwhile back at the content marketing agency office…
They’re just trying to jump onto the next bandwagon, as digital marketers that they are, and telling prospective clients how they’re killing it doing content marketing for clients and generating PR. They call this “growth marketing.” Do you know what I call it? Not thinking about what’s in the best interest of their clients.
Some of you will argue that you have no news and that content marketing is great because it helps generate brand awareness on social and increases your lead gen programs. Yes, true. And, I’m not disputing that. However, I have helped so many clients that have gotten acquired and gone public and believe me, it’s not because they had great content marketing programs.
It’s because they did PR too…