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Blurring the Lines Between PR + Content Marketing

WRITTEN by: Mary Garrick |
categories: Content Marketing

Sep 2014


Here at Upward, we’ve been engaging in a healthy discussion about the relationship between PR and Content Marketing. It’s a discussion that’s taking place in a variety of different contexts across the interwebs, like this one on Content Marketing Institute’s blog, and this one on The Next Web. And it’s a conversation worth sharing, because we’ve arrived at some interesting conclusions.

The discussion initially started when our leadership began to look closely at our agency’s core services, as a part of our new branding initiative. We’ve always considered our service, “PR + Content Marketing.” It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it made sense at the time because most of our clients weren’t actively seeking out content marketing services. Clients would typically come to us for a traditional PR program, and if it made sense, we would take the opportunity to redirect their energy toward a more holistic approach that started with a content marketing plan.

As time passed, we began to see that nearly every one of our PR clients could benefit from taking a more strategic approach with their content—including developing their brand story, mapping their engagement with target personas, and thinking more like a publisher and less like a marketer. Today, we almost always insist on this approach, taking the stance that a thorough content plan will only boost the results of a PR program. After all, the essence of PR is to earn results—not pay for them—just as the essence of content marketing is to provide valuable, free content to your target personas.


For this reason, we’ve decided to no longer distinguish between the two. For simplicity’s sake, everything we do moving forward is content marketing. Services that were traditionally PR-driven are now tackled with the client’s content strategy top-of-mind, including media pitching, expert positioning, co-authorship & sponsorship, guest blogging and reputation management. At Upward, PR is now an expected outcome—a goal—of a successful content marketing campaign.


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