Time and time again designer friends and colleagues ask if we do PR for the trade. The simple answer is yes. But when I ask what they are looking for, the answer is always the same. They all want print coverage. From there I transition the dialogue into my normal talk of content marketing and really why it is more important than PR.

What is PR (again)?

To start, let’s talk about what PR is really about. For the design trade, it’s often difficult to distinguish the difference between PR  and marketing since the industry is very old school. The best way to understand the distinction between the two areas is to think about a product manufacturer versus a design firm. A product manufacturer often has both a PR and marketing agency or has these departments in-house. In comparison, most design firms can’t afford to have a full-time marketing employee on staff. Therefore, a design firm must choose whether to focus on getting customers through press (PR) or through good lead nurturing (marketing). How designers often make this decision is by thinking “can I get noticed with my website or can I get noticed through a mention a magazine?” More often than none, a designer will then choose to spend in PR.

What Content Marketing is All About (& Why It’s Worth More Than PR)

What many designers don’t realize is that is they have the right content available on their website (and if they’re website is relevant and appealing), they have a platform to get noticed by both print and potential customers. When you place relevant and compelling content “out there” on the web, be it on your website, on a blogger’s site, or as editorial content, you are increasing the chances for that content to be found by your target customers where they spend time online. Essentially, what designers need isn’t PR or regular old-school marketing but a multi-dimensional content marketing strategy.

Studies show that people spend 6-10 hours online everyday, most of it spent on social media and on the handful of sites that meet their special interests. Which makes marketing “beyond the website” an imperative. Which is what content marketing is all about. Content marketing puts the right content at the right time for the prospect, based on where they are in the sales cycle. Content Marketing is a proven way to generate more leads and accelerate sales.

How Content Marketing Can Serve Designers & Product Manufacturers

Whether you’re a small designer showroom or mid-sized product manufacturer  you need to create unique content that gets noticed on your website and beyond. Why content marketing works so well is that it takes into consideration how your content be it a portfolio of your latest work or preview of upcoming products is seen online through a mobile phone and laptop and yes, print.

What content marketing allows designers and product manufacturers to do is expand their opportunities for exposure without relying on one channel. For example, if a pitch to various print media doesn’t work, there is always online blogs, communities, and etc.. If these digital areas aren’t buying what you’re selling, you can merchandise the content on your own blog, email marketing audience or social media followers. Developing this process is what we call a Content Marketing Plan. And unlike print visibility, digital content can track engagement and sharing of your content through various analytics tools quite easily.

How do you develop the right Content Marketing plan that works for you?