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Published on August 1st, 2012 | by Breena

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Why Your PR Team Should Also Be Driving Content

As a public relations professional and writer, I’ve always had a great appreciation for captivating content. I love to iterate on my company’s product, how it helps our users, and why we work the way we do. I’m a storyteller.

As organizations are expanding their digital presence, “content” seems to be the hot topic now – specifically, organic and targeted content. I’m not one who is highly educated on PPC, Google rankings, link baiting, and the like; however, what I do know is that if you create relevant and useful content, people will read it.

There are several different ways that company’s organize their marketing teams. However, rarely is the PR person also the content manager. Working for a small company, I have had to take on both roles. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve learned that the skills built within the public relations field applies quite often to the needs of a successful content strategy. So it got me thinking, why don’t all PR folks take charge of general content… or at least have a hand in it?

Here are a few reasons I’d like to share:

1. We’re storytellers.
This may sound like a trivial trait. But have you ever been stuck in conversation with someone who drags on a story, goes in circles, jumps on a tangent, and still hasn’t made a point? As trained PR professionals, we know how to capture an audience, reel them in with good details, and make the freaking point already!

2. Rankings aren’t important to us; people are.
Will I be crucified for this? I don’t know, probably. But honestly, Google rankings are a foreign concept to me. All I know is that popularity votes sucked in high school, and they still do. Stop trying to be so dang popular. Think about it – why are you writing for Google? They don’t care about you. But you know who does? The person that really needs your product and could use some well-versed, straight-forward information about it.

3. We’re reasonable team players.
Okay, yes. I know that SEO is important. I won’t argue that. But that’s why we have an SEO professional. He helps me stay on track with targeted key words and link sharing. However, he doesn’t initiate the content, nor does he go it alone. We’re a team. I create the story, and he makes sure we’re getting it to the right people through the right channels. Essentially, I’m driving the content vehicle along the road trip of marketing, and he’s making sure I don’t fall asleep at the wheel and go into the ditch where non-optimized content goes to die. (We also like metaphors.)

4. We’re imaginative, yet strategic.
I’d like to think of myself as a creative type. I love to put myself in the place of our customers and imagine their pains and how we can alleviate them. However, my job isn’t just to daydream about hypotheticals. As a PR professional, it is my duty to take those ideas and tie specific goals and objectives to them. We need to be creative, but we also need to be productive.

5. We write good.
This one is pretty obvious, I suppose. But, it carries most of the weight. Good writing is essential for capturing the attention and respect of your audience. If you’re not striving for clear, informative content, then you run the risk of confusing – and potentially misleading – your readers. Google does not like the misleaders. I do know that much.

6. We know how to drive attention.
Hello! Over here! Come look at how awesome we are!
I’d say one of my biggest strengths is that I am a WOO-er (Win Others Over).  I know how to grab attention, and I know how to do it with some pizzazz. Whether that’s through social media, email, web content, or feature stories, PR professionals know what grabs the attention of others. It’s not that we like attention, er, we’re just really good at getting it.

7. Individualization is our favorite.
Not only is attention something we master, but so is individualization of audiences. We know that Group A has different pains than Group B. We know that what’s relevant to John may not be relevant to George.  You don’t treat your children, your friends, or your coworkers all the same – so why do it to your customers?

(Note: I realize these are grossly over-generalized characteristics. But since when do we let stereotypes get in the way of a good story, huh? Perhaps “We are hopeful,” should be number eight.)

Are you a public relations professional also in charge of content? I’d love to hear your input! Or perhaps you think I’m totally off-base. Let’s hear from you, too, shall we?

About the Author

(@beefain) is the PR and marketing specialist at Formstack. She oversees media relations, social media, and content strategy. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism degree from Indiana University. When she's not spending her time bragging about how sweet Formstack is, she's usually drooling over fashion sites, writing, or going to shows... and probably eating.

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