Does PR have the skills to be able to step up to its content opportunity?

‘Let’s make some content!’, ‘what content are we creating?’, ‘what behind-the-scenes content are we capturing on our content filming day?’. 

How many times have we heard ‘content’ as the focus of conversations, meetings and proposals in modern public relations agencies and in-house communications teams? Every day I would wager…and most of the time, for good reason:

Ideas - PR is about earning our way into people’s lives on behalf of clients, organisations and individuals; and to do this we look for creative, unusual and zeitgeist ideas that illicit interest and emotion in audiences. Ideas that, more often than not, lend themselves brilliantly to audio visual content that can be exploited across TV, radio, podcast, social and digital earned media.

Demand - Journalists want content to include in their online articles, producers use content clips in their news packages, sofa shows and podcasts, and dwell times from almost every audience group on social media are far higher for video content than for still imagery…just look at the increasing popularity of TikTok!

This combination of demand for content from the media we want to engage and the almost endless content opportunities that the best PR ideas provide means, as an industry, we are constantly looking at how we can make the most of it for our clients and brands. But, richness of opportunity does not necessarily mean we are always able to achieve the breadth and depth of impact our ideas generate for content.

Often, we are competing with ‘traditional’ advertising for budget and space within marketing plans to make the most of our content. PR agencies and communications teams are briefed later than advertising creatives, and there is not time to fully utilise earned media content in plans.

However, sometimes – if we are honest with ourselves as an industry – it is so hard to keep pace with the latest tech and means of communicating now-a-days, we probably don’t always know how we can best exploit our content across all the platforms we perhaps should. Briefs and resources don’t always allow us to lay out our case for multi-channel and multi-format usage of the content we can generate from our creative ideas.

But, there are two converging trends in society that mean now is the time for us to stand tall and shout proudly about the value of our content: information overload and a recession.

I think we can all agree that modern life for many of us feels like a barrage of information, messaging and content wherever we turn. Consumers are close to reaching content saturation as we are exposed to more and more communications, yet there are still the same number of waking hours as there always have been! This means that brands are finding it harder and harder to be heard in what is termed, the attention economy.

On top of this, one message that is definitely getting through, is that we are staring down the barrel of a recession in 2023 that could potentially impact marketing and communications budgets.

This combination of two key factors means we have an opportunity in 2023 to show the value of PR content for brands. Securing coverage and engagements in earned media means our creative genuinely connects with people…if it didn’t, we wouldn’t get the coverage in the first place! We know it can therefore also engage audiences across paid and owned channels just as well – with some suitable editing - meaning our bucks can go further for clients and budget keepers.

So, we need to be making sure we know how to sell our content and its value in the whole. If that means calling on the skills and knowledge of contacts across media planners, social media agencies and partnership agencies then let’s do so, and take advantage of our opportunity this year to put PR content front and centre of our industry’s worth.

PR in 2023: content, content, content!

Article written by Chris Mounsey-Thear, client director, Markettiers4DC

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