Do you actually need a PR agency?

by | May 9, 2018 | Digital PR, Learn Content Marketing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Over the last 17 years of being in digital marketing, I have worked with PR agencies from a supplier and client sides. I have many friends in PR, and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. The following are my thoughts and opinions on using PR agents for content placement.


Public relations is the term we use for the discipline of curating public perception of a brand, product, or service. With good PR you can make the ugly look great. Cigarettes, Coke a cola, Trump; all terrible in their own right, that have spread like a plague thanks to the great work of PR agencies. Proof that perception is reality; and perception can easily be altered!

PR has always been about influence. Traditionally, what businesses pay PR agents for, is influence over publishers, and what gets published. But this role has become less and less relevant.

Marketing has changed significantly, but have PR agencies?

Like all facets of business, Public Relations changes over time. And like all progress, there are those that move with this evolution and those that dig their heels in and fight tooth and nail against change.

We regularly engage with our Contento users. Stories of PR agencies selling dreams, charging thousands of dollars a month, and producing next to nothing in return, is more regular than I enjoy hearing. But I understand why.

Gone are the days when media placement could be bought with two bottles of rosé and pan-fried market fish with jus.

Thanks to the internet, editors now have unlimited access to stories, ideas, and content. Nowadays, many publications (including blogs) are pay-to-play. Everything is in some way paid for. From the small product mention to the four-page fashion editorial. Every garment used, every story, every restaurant review, is paid for in one way or another.

Despite the obvious, a lot of PR agents still bank on free placement.

The Merge of Digital Marketing, PR, and SEO

We live in a post-web world where most businesses are trying to garner leads, awareness, or online sales through their own website. Media placement is no longer solely about awareness; it’s about driving high-quality traffic.

What I believe is missing in today’s digital world, are PR agents that have an understanding of backlinks and other basic SEO practices.

Most don’t. And it baffles me.

Surely if you’re a PR agent, and you’re looking at what blogs to guest post on, or pitch to, then you’d look up their Domain Authority and compare it to your clients.
Making sure the backlink is going to provide some ranking juice is fundamental to the success of the article, and the success of you as a PR agent.

Press releases are dead

Unless you’re Apple, where blogs are dying to be first to announce the new product, then media don’t want your press release.

Sharing an office with various media over the years, I’ve seen the delivery of hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases. Some bearing extravagant gifts, others with sweet morsels of deliciousness. All designed to capture the attention of the editor.

“How about some free coverage?!” these gifts desperately scream.

As nice as these deliveries are, they don’t go far. Unless it’s from a current paying client, they get eaten, used, or dropped into the ‘xmas gifts for family’ box. The press release USB stick is thrown into a bowl for later transferring movies from computer to TV.

Before we started building Contento, we spend three months talking to a number of publishers. What we found is that editors want more content at less resource. Unique articles that add value to their readers. Not bulk-sent press releases.

Redistribution of funds

There is more to PR than just media placement. However, if your goal is to get brand awareness through media, then content creation and distribution are where your investment needs to go.

We’ve seen a rise in the number of content creation agencies that are popping up. Everything from video production, social content, photography and article creation. It’s not hard to find content creators that best align with your brand. In fact, we have a list of creators inside the Contento web-app.

To tell your brand story, you need great content. Lots of it. Content that adds value to the reader. It must educate, inspire, or entertain the reader. What do they want to read?

Once you have some content, you can easily offer it to publishers by using Contento. We have top publishers that are wanting relevant content.

No cold-emails to editors, no grovelling, no back and forth comms. Contento makes the whole process super simple. Just a take-it-or-leave-it process that can get content published in under five mins (at best).

Adapting to New Tech

Adapting to new tech that encompasses the changing industry behaviours, is the only way for businesses to get ahead. Our aim is to take the hassle out of content placement; for brands, agencies, and publishers.
It’s great to see more PR agents, and content agencies, starting to use Contento as a tool for content placement.

We are looking forward to assisting both brands and PR agents to get quality content placement.

If you’re interested to learn more about how Contento can work for your brand. Click here

If you’re a blog or publisher wanting more content, click here for more


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