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Why Content Research Needs PR

This is a guest post by Ashley Sherman, Director of Digital Media Relations at Relevance.

PR professionals offer a wide variety of skills that, until now, have mostly been reserved for outbound promotion of a company or its products and services. Undoubtedly, content has become a major tactic for PR teams to use when reaching out to the media and for sharing with target audiences on social media. So, it makes sense that the PR team should be more involved with the research and creation of that content. If your organization or clients aren’t already working to build this strategic relationship, it’s time to get them on board!

As a PR person, you want the content that you promote to be well researched and beneficial to your audiences. Since you know what the media is looking for better than anyone, it’s important that you speak up and share that information with the content team, whether they are an internal team or another agency. You’ll find it much easier to pitch the media when you know that what you’re pitching was created with their needs in mind.

For content marketers, the valuable, first-hand insights PR pros can provide on media trends, influencers, and previously successful content is critical knowledge for the content being created. Among other benefits, these insights allow content to be optimized for maximum exposure, setting it up for greater success upon publication.

In what ways can public relations specifically help to make content more successful? This Relevance webinar goes into more detail on how PR and content teams can work together to increase ROI, but here is an overview of the key areas where PR can improve content research:


Although the main target audiences are usually already known by an organization, there are likely other smaller, but still relevant, audiences to reach as well. The PR team can create pitch angles and media lists by identifying those segments and understanding their relevancy to your brand. That information can help determine new personas as well as the viability of proposed content.

Additionally, PR teams have (hopefully) built great relationships with media and influencers in the industry. Beyond knowing who to reach out to after the content is launched, they can strengthen the credibility of the content by getting these influencers involved in the creation, whether through an interview, a quote or exclusive expert insights. Influencers are more likely to share a resource in which they are included, and their feedback and input should direct the overall topic and delivery as well. They are influencers in the industry because they know what they are talking about – it’s a good idea to listen to their guidance.


PR professionals will know which media outlets to target when it comes time to promote the content, but they also have a deep understanding of how the media are presenting industry topics. What trends are the media focusing on now, and what’s been overdone? The PR team should know and can help guide the content in the best direction.

Another core function of the PR team is to know the competitive landscape. Identifying competitor trends and seeing where they earn coverage is another great way to determine what initiatives your content should pursue.


Messaging is life for a PR pro. The PR team is talking to the media every day. They know what language resonates, and what doesn’t—as well as which pitch angles get responses, and which fall short. Content marketers should use these angles and insights to help drive appropriate messaging for advanced content.

Furthermore, all content isn’t created equal for every channel. PR pros can help determine the best way to present messaging on specific platforms. For example, each social platform has its own rules and restrictions—but it also has its own audiences. Your messaging will need to be tweaked to make an impact on Facebook if it was initially aimed at a business audience on LinkedIn. PR practitioners are experienced at adapting messages for audiences and channels, and can be a huge asset in this area to ensure wide exposure.

In short, it’s vital that the silos are broken down between PR and content marketers so that they work closely together to create relevant content that converts. In the long run, the PR professional benefits twofold by helping create, and then promote, content that provides measurable conversions — as well as gaining a valuable new piece of content to use for a more natural, organic media pitch.

For more info on the role of public relations in the content marketing space, check out Cision’s onDemand webinar, Why PR Needs To Own Content Marketing.

Ashley Sherman is the Director of Digital Media Relations at Relevance. With more than six years of experience in consumer-technology PR, Ashley brings traditional PR tactics to the digital age to help the Media Outreach team create and promote killer content and drive results.

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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