While there is some small overlap between content marketing and public relations (PR), the two disciplines are not the same.
At a macroscopic level, the goal of both public relations and content marketing is to differentiate your firm. How they accomplish this goal is where they diverge.
The PR Approach
The primary focus of PR for private equity is to connect your firm with journalists who will interview and quote your partners on various topics. Any content created through PR lives on someone else's site.
While PR can do great things to bring attention to your firm, it’s influence on deal origination is indirect and less potent.
The Content Marketing Approach
Content marketing, on the other hand, is about creating and publishing content on your own site and sharing it directly with prospects. This content exemplifies your firm's personality/expertise and is much more robust than a PR quote or article.
Below is a summary of the differences between the two disciplines.
Can we hire someone that does both?
Some PR agencies also offer content marketing services. While it would certainly be nice to bundle all these services into one nice package with a PR firm, be careful that content marketing isn’t just bolted on as an afterthought.
Having your PR firm handle content marketing can present issues because PR professionals are conditioned for journalism, not marketing. Written material in journalism is meant to be informative, not persuasive, which doesn’t achieve the objectives of content marketing—a persuasive discipline.
In addition, journalists rely on the strength of a publication’s audience to distribute their work. But you’re not a publication—you’re a private equity firm with a minimal distribution network. A key aspect of content marketing is promoting the content, not just creating it.
By hiring a content marketer, you get the dual benefit of someone who knows how to write persuasive content and knows how to distribute that content to your target audience.
Can I work with both a content marketer and a PR firm?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s better to work with both separately. PR firms have large networks they’ve spent years building, which you can capitalize on to build publicity around your firm’s recent investments and other key events. For their part, a content marketer can help you create and promote the content that complements your biz dev efforts for better deal origination.