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Is Content Marketing driving Public Relations growth in India

Rise of technologyContent is king and always will be. For ages now, this popular, familiar mantra of the marketing and communications industry is widely believed to be true. Whether it is an opinion piece, a keynote or a video, press releases, PR firms and in-house communications teams have played an active role of being content custodians for customers and businesses.

While modern marketing strategies can’t survive without essential components like campaign management, database platforms and marketing automation, no technological solutions are capable of driving the growth of a business in the absence of strong content that powers the automation engine.

With the emergence of Social Media coupled with the desire to provide these platforms with relevant content for customers who have a specific aversion to ad pops up, brands have started to realise the significance of engaging content. The demand for quality content has shot up with time and developments have been taking place to ensure that leading PR agencies use it for their digital, inbound marketing initiatives.

Since recently, media professionals have displayed keenness to work for key PR agencies in India, these PR firms understand that a journalist’s editorial skills will come in handy and boost the in-house content programmes considerably. This draws attention to the fact that content is important, be it Public Relations, Media Relations, Brand Journalism or Corporate Communications.

In 2016, the key to growth for PR agencies is the coordination and synchronisation of Content Marketing efforts with marketing automation and analytics. Content connects with existing clients and potential customers both. It builds trust and also has the ability to offer customers with personalised and customised experiences. Content is often responsible for creating moments of truth for customers. Right from its creation to curation, content marketing should emphasise on brand imagery and creative imagery apart from embracing the modular approach.

Key changes in the Digital Marketing domain and PR agencies have brought other areas such as social technologies, devices and ubiquitous Internet into focus. The digital medium has played a key role in helping clients and brands perform multiple functions related to content marketing – development, consumption, publishing, driving engagement and more.

It would be appropriate to say that the relationship between technology and people has significantly impacted how information is found, consumed, shared or even acted upon. Although these changes in behaviour and technology bring forth innumerable challenges, there are opportunities available for the top public relations agencies to position themselves as the harbingers for change.

Be it via Social Media or Conventional press, the role of content in the development of creating a result-oriented campaign is an absolute must to build an easy connect with the audiences.

Businesses as publishersDefining the transforming role of ‘Media’

In the last 5 years, the media publishing models have witnessed dramatic changes. These changes have focussed on the digital medium and the emergence of new business models to meet client requirement for real-time news and information on any particular device.

The capacity for individuals to create Social Networks and publish information for the audiences that can match or even exceed a conventional publication means that influencers are not limited to any news publications and media. Connecting with a niche influencers’ base, be it journalists covering a particular beat or a blogger with a community, can enjoy the same type of impact as a mainstream publication. Experts have rightly said that content is the currency for building social relationships that eventually bolsters earned media initiatives.

  • Businesses as publishers

More brands are collaborating or bringing on board editors, corporate journalists and editorial staff to develop a suitable publishing environment. It is suggested that the brands eyeing to bag a mention in the news/media should consider taking up the role of media.

  • Rise of technology and changing client behaviour

A wider base of consumers is connected to the web, making it easier to tap clients via Social Media with relevant content. Customers are keen to play the dual role of being the audiences and publishers both. Nowadays, expectations have undergone tremendous changes and many clients do not just want to be informed, but are also keen to take part in the news creation process.

So, do you think these changes will directly impact the functioning of the prominent PR agencies in any way? Here are the three areas one must consider for understanding the functioning of the industry in-depth –

  1. Convergence

Believe it or not, but the roles of PR, marketing, client servicing and many of the other disciplines are believed to be following an integrated approach.

  • PR firms should cross-train for skills, partner and integrate
  • PR has the ability to tap into the valuable resources in a firm to reach targets on time
  • PR can bring higher value for its own initiatives

Social web and Internet-connected mobile devices have been creating more opportunities for the successful use of cross-functional resources and skills to connect buyers and influencers.

  1. Position yourself as Media

Businesses have started to adopt the publishing models to build better connections with clients and successfully attain competitive advantage.

  • It is time for top PR agencies to consider the use of varied media sources such as earned media, paid media, shared media and more.
  • Apart from being the gatekeeper to content, PR plays the role of creator and participator in the content ecosystem.
  • PR can build credibility with the other media sources in a jiffy.

Media Relations is a tough nut to crack. On a regular basis, journalists and bloggers are approached and bombarded with pitches. Hence, getting noticed by them can be a time-consuming job. Since the end objective is to create awareness and generate influence, relying on third party media is not a good idea. Becoming the media yourself can speed up the complete process.

Brands are making a significant investment to build web presence, meet client requirements and use content to influence customers. Many conglomerates have attained quick results with it.

  1. Adapt and then optimise

Technology and client behaviour are undergoing rapid transformation and the capability for brands to lure, engage and persuade their target audiences requires consistent effort towards optimisation of PR efficiency levels.

  • Mostly PR firms should keep a close watch on the client behaviour along with focussing on the latest technology trends.
  • It is absolutely necessary that PR creates a cycle encompassing elements like target, audience, approach, tactics, measurement, etc.
  • Consistent efforts are needed to bring improvement in the performance of how PR related content is created, accessed, used and advanced.

When a business develops a significant amount of content, there are innumerable opportunities available for reusing the older content across horizontal publishing channels such as email, social networks, blogs and even by line posts. If a firm does not opt for enhanced content creation initiatives, then repurposing the existing content is an effective idea to get noticed.

Also Read: Common content marketing challenges faced by businesses: PART 1

Conclusion

The time is right for public relations agencies in India to stretch their boundaries beyond the simplicity of earned media. Focussing on the bigger picture has the potential to empower PR firms apart from ensuring integration of content marketing that can have a greater effect on the bottom line of business targets.

Since Content Marketing has the ability to create more assets, it should be integrated in to the plot by prominent PR agencies in India to create a standout effect.

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