Where does content marketing fit into your education public relations strategy?
In working with companies on their education marketing, we’ve seen many that treat education PR and content marketing as separate, unrelated activities. They argue that PR is more for special events – the product launches, the major announcements – while content marketing is the engine that helps a company create and distribute helpful, relevant information to audiences in a consistent manner.
However, at their core, both disciplines build on the connective tissue of finding ways to communicate and engage effectively with customers and prospects. For that reason, separating content marketing and PR is like making a peanut butter sandwich and using jelly as a dipping sauce—it works, you get the combined flavors, but layering the ingredients together just makes more sense.
Similarly, combining content marketing with PR will amplify your messages with more resonance. Here’s why:
Content helps you create your own “news moments”
Even in the busiest of companies, it can be hard for education public relations firms or in-house PR professionals to nail down truly newsworthy moments. It’s not every day that you launch a new product or kickoff a partnership, and it’s your job to make sure your company or organization stays top of mind with your target audience.
However, if your content team is creating a stunning eBook or infographic with provocative research, by all means turn that hard work into a media pitch. Align with your content team to understand their editorial calendar and the pieces they plan to produce, and work that content into your education marketing — which includes working with your company’s subject matter experts to ensure they’ll be able to speak to the content in potential media interviews. (Note: the insights your PR team sees from media monitoring and regular engagement with journalists will help your content team create pieces that are aligned with market trends.)
Content gives you additional ways to improve SEO—and lead generation
Press releases—especially those sent to targeted audiences via wire distribution — are a proven way to strengthen SEO efforts. Optimizing press releases with built-in keywords and inbound links will lead to increased traffic on your website. In addition, if the content piece you’re promoting is a gated asset, creating a hyperlink and a strong call to action within the release increases the chance of securing more names for your lead generation funnel. (Note: depending on your strategy, you may decide to leave the piece ungated if the goal is to make sure the content reaches as many people as possible with a low barrier to entry.)
Content allows extra opportunities to connect with journalists and influencers
If you’re connecting with journalists, bloggers and social media influencers only for big news moments, you might be neglecting an opportunity to build stronger relationships with those who have their finger on the pulse of what your audience wants to know. Send a short, concise email that demonstrates what value your content can offer the media outlet, and most importantly, their readers or followers. This small gesture might lead to a backlink in a larger content piece —or a feature article if your contact finds the content especially compelling. (Note: be strategic about sharing content. Sending an email every time you publish a blog, no matter how good you think it is, might be a bit excessive. Offer sources and content in context of trends, timely news moments or in response to recent stories published by a particular journalist.)
When it comes to education marketing, collaboration is the name of the game. By combining your content marketing and PR efforts, you’ll draw upon the collective strengths of both teams and ensure your efforts stand out in a crowded market. Need help blending your content and PR strategies? Reach out to us here.