PR vs Advertising, who is better at digital content?

Content is the lifeblood of digital marketing and naturally both PR and advertising want a big, hefty bite of this lucrative pie.

The question is, should PR get into a content way with advertising? What are the types of content PR is better of focusing on? Is PR better suited to content around stories, blogs, reports and HR, rather than creative work? PR moment India finds out.

Ruchi Dwivedi, corporate communications manager, with real estate firm, Unishire , believes that as PR by nature is fact based and therefore it is better with creating content that is suited for reputation building. Says Ruchi, “The content that intends to establish the credibility of the company is where PR has upper hand.”

Ruchi believes that this also means that PR is better at, “The long-term message where company's credibility, reliability and trust is being established.”

This would traditionally include company blogs and reports.

Content creator with Media Mantra, Raj Sharma, however adds that, “Today, a public relations firm is well equipped to build content that resonates with the target audience on digital forums, besides preparing a reputation content brief.

Currently, a PR agency is well poised to elevate social media management and networking of a company through content. “

Aakriti Kaushik, PR Manager EMEA, RS Components, UK, feels that business development, customer and HR strategy can all benefit from the creative aspects of the PR function. She says, “For example, if the HR team wish to recruit the best talent then they can interact with PR on creating content for the website that would help raise awareness.”

However, Aakriti adds that, “PR isn't better equipped to handle the promotional content around the above functions though, and that should be done by advertising only."

Others do not completely agree with this viewpoint. According to Anup Sharma, independent PR consultant, “The opinions of known and anonymous sources are being observed by the stakeholders so the role of PR in providing content cannot be restricted to one platform and one brief and they cannot afford to chose only one aspect of content.”

What type of content will offer better returns for PR firms: the video opportunity

According to Anup, video offers the best opportunities for profit for PR firm. He says, “Over 36% of mobile data in the country today consists of video and almost 90% of all video views globally are done over the mobile devices. The Guardian stated, “By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, according to Cisco.” With video shaping up as the medium of choice the creative part in the story telling becomes the key and video as a part of the content will offer better margin.”

Many PR insiders do not agree with this; they feel that PR will only get bruised in a battle for creative video content with advertising. For PR to succeed in video, again it may be better off with focusing on strategic communication. This in turn, does require investing in video production capabilities. Figuring out what kind of video content is a hard battle as traditionally even video news releases have not been a very profitable segment.

However, Aakriti believes there is no getting around visuals for PR firms. She says as a client, “Videos and infographics are the type of content that engages our customers more than blog posts. Our global target audience is electronic design engineers, who are keen on technical datasheets and how-to guides for new product and software. Agencies who can offer their expertise with such type of content surely have an edge.”

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