Today we have a guest post about how social media and online marketing are changing the job requirements and opportunities for PR professionals. As I’ve mentioned in the past, our skill sets and attitudes have to evolve along with the rapidly changing digital communication landscape.
Online publications and blogs have made it difficult for traditional newspapers and print magazines to make a profit and operate their once bustling newsrooms. The shift from print to digital is not only having an effect on current and aspiring journalists, it’s also changing how PR professionals and businesses interact with their target audience. Instead of pitching journalists on a product or organizing an event, PR professionals are increasingly being asked to promote content and raise awareness on the Web.
At Software Advice, we’ve watched this trend play out first-hand. As software buyers increasingly flocked to the Web for information, we’ve evolved our perception about the role a PR professional plays in online marketing. We thought we’d share some ways that PR professionals can adapt to thrive in the age of content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, content marketing is the process of generating high-quality content with the intention of building trust and community with your brand’s target audience while also establishing yourself as an industry thought leader. To run a successful content marketing campaign, you have to be able to accomplish two objectives: generate engaging high-quality content and promote the material so that is appears in all the right places online.
This is where the promotional skills and expertise of PR professionals come into play. Companies looking to get their high quality content on their customer’s favorite blog or Facebook page are now looking at PR professionals to make this happen.
Content marketing is becoming a common strategy used by businesses from multinational tech companies like Apple to small startups that want to build up their name with their customer base. However, PR professionals looking to capitalize on this trend are also having to expand their skill set. The skills of PR are evolving from blasting out quick press releases and organizing industry events to a more comprehensive approach that includes Web marketing savvy with search engine optimization (SEO), social media community management, and blogger outreach.
Job Opportunities for PR Professionals Are On the Rise
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of PR specialist and manager jobs increased by nearly 63 percent between 2000 and 2010, and between 2010 and 2020, is projected to see additional 21 percent increase.
Is the rise in job opportunities for PR professionals in part due to the rapid growth of content marketing?
Since the BLS does not include the title “content marketing” in their reports, we decided to get a better picture by performing a search on the New York City Craigslist page for job titles in PR, journalism, and content marketing. This is what they found:
The Digital Age of Public Relations
As more and more companies transition their strategy to content marketing, PR professionals will no longer be able to rely on pitching a big media reporter and pure press coverage. This type of coverage and brand exposure is no longer enough to elevate their company over their competitors. Links, Tweets, Shares, “likes” and blog mentions are becoming essential to successfully engaging their brand’s target audience and customer base.
“Organizations now use Twitter to break news versus a press release,” says Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations at Hanson Dodge Creative, “and it’s forced people like me to see tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs as vehicles by which we can get others to publicize products and clients.”
Social media and online publications and blogs have provided new and highly effective ways for PR professionals to directly engage their target audiences. That’s why moving forward, PR people will need to know how to promote their brand and content by using new techniques like Google Analytics, social media marketing, SEO, Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
It is apparent the PR world is changing and content marketing is having long-lasting effects on how you reach your target audience. However, as a PR professional it also means you need to be ready to address this new trend, and make sure you have the skills to make your story rise to the top.
4 Tips for PR Professionals Looking to Capitalize on Content Marketing
1. Talk directly to your target audience. PR professionals no longer have to rely on big media reporters to get their name and product out there. You can use social media networks, online publications and blogs to directly reach out to your audience. Often times, this can even be a more effective strategy.
2. Develop your web skills. In the age of content marketing, a PR professional must now learn essential skills like SEO, graphic design, social media marketing, and blogging to get your job done. For instance, a PR professional should know what portion of traffic to their client’s website comes from branded search traffic and know how to quickly find and report on this stat based on Google Analytics data.
3. Develop your own narrative. In order to get the media to bite on their pitch and generate coverage, PR professionals must be well versed in the art of storytelling. Use this skill to your advantage to help develop your own content strategies, like digital social profiles and blogs.
4. Respond at a moments notice. Digital and social media has revolutionized the life cycle of press coverage. Twitter and Facebook have forced communications specialists to respond in real time, which is why you need to be prepared for rapid response situations. As a PR professional, we suggest that you have graphics, pre-drafted responses and video clips ready to go before you begin your outreach efforts.
PR agencies and companies are quickly expanding their digital practice and moving to content marketing to build their brand authority and trustworthiness with their customers. As a PR professional, take note of these new developments, and make sure you develop the necessary skills to use content marketing to get your story heard above the chatter.
About the Author: Holly Regan is a Managing Editor at Software Advice, where she blogs on a variety of topics related to small business and software products. Born and raised in Seattle, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Washington. Her writing has appeared online in The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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