Content publicity: PR’s biggest digital opportunity yet?

Welcome the the latest installment of the chicken / egg debate…social media style.

It is widely recognised that when it comes to social and digital media, original and compelling content is a pivotal ingredient.

And, in a perfect world, content should be created and shaped based on the preferences of the target audience.

But guess what? We don’t live in a perfect world.

Due to the fragmentation of social media, and the desire of so many people to get involved, content is often created without any understanding about where it will live and breathe online.

An example scenario

Let me bring this to life with an example…

  • Brand X briefs Agency Y to create some video content
  • Agency Y creates a high quality 3-minute video
  • Brand X loads it up on YouTube and waits for the views to roll in
  • The views barely trickle over and Brand X is left scratching its head
Now, there are a few options available to Brand X here, and in most cases this involves briefing a viral seeding agency to place your content amongst established global networks (delivering one view for every $0.10 – $0.15 invested).

A better way? 

There is a better way of doing this which involves a far more integrated approach, and most of it is good ol’ common sense.

Video content needs to be created with a true editorial mentality in place.

By this I mean YouTube is NOT the channel you need to focus on – it is simply a hub.

The focus needs to be on the vertical media who will embed and refer people to your video content.

Ultimately, this is where PR-savvy professionals can play a vital role.

Ideal architecture

Content creators and facilitators need to be sitting in the same room at the concept stage.

Specific questions need to be asked, including:

  • Which specific communities / influencers do we want to reach?
  • What are the characteristics of the content they’ll support?
  • Should you consider getting specific members of those communities to help develop the concept?
  • What is the broader story for media?
  • When in the news / current affairs calendar should you release your content? 
Until the content creators (normally ad agencies) and content facilitators (normally PR agencies) start blending their skills together from the start, the best results aren’t likely to be achieved.
Or, a lot more money will be spent by brands trying to attract eyeballs to a finished product that can’t be altered or shaped enough to succeed .
While many PR agencies will gladly take on a brief to ‘publicise content’ they are much more valuable if involved in an advisory capacity during conceptualisation too.


  • Expect to see more and more ‘content publicity’ briefs
  • Understand that editorial content optimization (aka making it truly shareable) is required from the beginning, not just the end of the process
  • Content will continue to be created without the right people in the room at the start of the process – just adapt accordingly
  • ‘Traditional’ seeding companies are worth using but only in collaboration with targeted influencer and community outreach
  • Think beyond YouTube and video sharing communities and focus on who and where your content will sit to drive people to that video e.g. sector blogs, sections of news media etc
What do you think?
Are you noticing more situations where content has been created and then seeding / publicity support is activated? 
How do you publicise / attract eyeballs to your content?

1 Comment

  • Reply March 23, 2011


    Interesting post Adam, I definitely agree that most content is not created keeping in mind the target audience and therefore we need to work with what we have and adapt. That being said there is a greater awareness now that content is being created for a specific audience online and it needs to be relevant. Also while the content creators and content facilitators are now coming together in the beginning it does seem that there is a struggle to accept PR inputs during conceptualization. So the instances of creating content and then activating support are there but as understanding of the medium increases these instances will come down.
    There is also the aspect where the content creators are also the facilitators as in ad agencies building the traffic by engaging or creating the right conversations and directing people. I would think that the merging in creator & facilitator functions is possible and more easily for advertising agencies as it’s more difficult for PR to come in and create very compelling content like ad firms can. So rather than an opportunity, I would see Content Publicity eventually work against the traditional PR firm and more in favor of an advertising agency. The other way to take this thought forward is the thought that Content Publicity can give rise to an integrated agency which has the both PR & Advertising or offers both the creator & facilitator function.
    Anyways I could be wrong .
    Again, great post Adam ,as always your posts definitely kicks of a lot of thoughts and possibilities.

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