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Are You Doing PR Or Content Marketing Work For Your Brand?


APRIL 2017

Wait, what’s the difference? Many would think they are one and the same thing nowadays. Or that they SHOULD be merged and done at the same time. Before we venture out into asking whether you are doing this or that for your brand, let us first ask: How different are public relations and content marketing work anyway?

The fact remains, brands want to effectively communicate with their target market or audience in order to inform them of what they have to offer. By doing so, the audience will have the best options of what to do with this information. Brands, in return, hope to get a loyal and larger following that will bring in the desired revenue.

Back in the old days of pre-internet computing, brands only relied on the BIG THREE: television, radio and print in order to get their message heard. But now, fast forward about 23 years and two important strategies and helpers are used in relaying a brand’s message: PR and content marketing.

Let’s outline some distinct differences (and similarities) of these two:

First, the similarities

Simply put, both are means of communicating a message to an audience. They both use the internet exposure to get this message across. And they both use a great amount of creativity in coming up with this message.

And now the differences

We all are now familiar with what content marketing work is and that its main selling point is good ole quality content.

What PR does is to take this has-to-be quality content and create a good pitch and distribution plan to maximize its full potential. It’s different from advertising because it doesn’t pay to put stuff (image, video or article) on sites.


Content marketing wants to build a very amiable relationship with a brand’s audience. By using all its techniques, content marketing helps a brand generate trust by giving important and useful information for its audience.

Public relations build an indirect relationship with a brand’s audience. It doesn’t do the writing, but gets the right content about your brand, your services and employees out in a very strategic way.


PR is mainly used on special occasions or events like launches, anniversaries, upgrade announcements or milestones. Your site just reached 100K subscribers – make a PR. Your brand has a new contest, giveaway or raffle – make a PR. If the brand has something important to say right away, PR is your key. The main idea is to get the most publicity and exposure for the event. In PR, timing is very crucial. You’d want your PR to have a fighting chance with the day’s news.

Content marketing on the other hand, doesn’t need a special event. In fact, every day is considered a special event. Each day, there can be hundreds of readers out there that might need your brand and so you need to publish that article to expose your brand and answer your reader’s questions. Timing may not be that crucial but it still plays an important part – like knowing when online readers are at its peak in terms of sharing, liking or reading.

Measure of success

Tracking content marketing’s success can be measured through digital analytics like conversion metrics, click to links, engagement and referral traffic.

PR’s success can be tracked by measuring media mileage from clippings and public impressions and other press mentions.

Material focus

Content marketing wants to target consumers through their content. It has to be interesting, useful, valuable and even entertaining, and not a bit less than that. Content is king and content marketing needs it to attract and engage readers making sure it can be very helpful.

PR’s material focus is on formality. It is mainly a message. A simple clear cut marketing message – no fanfare, no frills. It is product-centric rather than consumer-centric.


Content marketing can be done in-house. And why not? They know their brand by heart, why not write about it themselves? Thus, saving some of its marketing budget. If they need to, they could also go to a third party content marketing agency which can be flexible to a brand’s needs and be cost-effective.

PR agencies can be expensive while leveraging their wide clout. It may not happen as often, but the event can still get expensive if the target audience is wide.


Content marketing is very niche-specific. It must be in known areas where a specific audience can find it. The focus is on the client and is information-specific. And you’re not  generalizing your material, either. In fact your material is very individualized for a specific group with similar wants, needs and questions.

PR needs to be wider and far-reaching. Its content has to have a mass distribution effect in order to reach a larger public audience.


No, not what it looks like but where content appears. We normally see marketers publishing content in a brand’s own website, social media pages, YouTube channel, or any other areas. Each one provides valuable information for customers who search for it and hopefully, building a long-term relationship and trust.

But PR needs to earn its medals by having newspapers and other media placements talk about a brand. The brand therefore, earns its coverage through a sort of third party endorsement.

So PR and content marketing do have glaring differences but they, too have some similarities.

Which brings us to answer our original question: Are you doing PR or content marketing work for your brand? Or both?

Content marketing work also involves external distribution of content. And here is where content marketing’s function overlaps into PR work.

It would be a good strategy to play both into each other. Like including a call to action in a brad’s PR and linking it back to its content marketing.


Yes, content marketing can be great for a brand getting the much needed attention through well-placed and highly entertaining content. But the brand also needs PR to be known to the right people at the right places at the right times.

Content marketers create content for building long lasting relationships with its consumers and so does PR. PR keeps this relationship alive and kicking for a long time.

Content marketing is all about telling a great story that entertains. And PR knows how to distribute it.

Combine the two and it’s like publishing great stories and putting them in the hands of influencers, reporters, and audiences who need it the most.

And that is actually getting the best of both worlds.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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