7 reasons PR departments should drive content

As organizations grow their digital presence, content has become the currency of choice. PR professionals should be helming the effort, the author says.


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

In other words, 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 highly educated on pay-per-click, Google rankings, link baiting, and so on; however, what I do know is that if you create relevant and useful content, people will read it.

There are several different ways that companies organize their marketing teams. But rarely is the PR person also the content manager. Working for a small company, I’ve adopted both roles. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve learned that the skills built within the public relations field apply 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.

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. We’re more concerned with people than rankings.

Will I be crucified for this? Maybe. But 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 needs your product and could use some well-versed, straight-forward information about it.

3. We’re reasonable team players.

OK, yes, I know that SEO, or search engine optimization, is important. And 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 consider myself a creative type. I love to put myself in the place of our customers and imagine their pains and how we can alleviate them. But my job isn’t to simply daydream about hypotheticals. As a PR professional, it’s 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’re good writers.

Good writing is essential for capturing the attention and respect of your audience. If you’re not striving for clear, informative content, you run the risk of confusing—and potentially misleading—your readers. Google does not like the misleaders. I do know that much.

6. We’re skilled at driving 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.

7. We’re fans of individualization.

Not only is attention something we master, but also 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?

Breena Fain is the PR and marketing specialist at Formstack. A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog. Follow the author on Twitter @beefain.

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Topics: PR

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