The rise of brand content and content marketing has split the opinion of PR professionals, with some considering it inherently biased or helping competitors.
While many see the value of brand journalism, others believe it undermines traditional journalism and isn’t to be taken seriously, according to research from Collective Content and ResponseSource.
Among a range of findings, the research found:
- Those who say so-called brand journalists are treated ‘on a par with traditional journalists, was up on 2016 – 25.8% of respondents either say they are now or will be within a year.
- However, those PRs who say these content creators will never be treated equally when they engage with PRs was also up – at 33.1% of our sample as opposed to 27.4% a year ago.
- While brands are becoming more effective at determining the success of content marketing for themselves, they aren’t letting PRs in on the metrics. PRs said it is “difficult to carry out due diligence” on brand publications.
- It is common for PRs to consider brand publications biased. Just over two thirds of PRs who don’t treat brand journalists equally cited “conflict between those paying for the content and your own company/client”.
- There is a greater understanding than ever of terms such as ‘content marketing’, ‘native advertising’, ‘brand storytelling’ and indeed ‘brand journalist/journalism’.
The study shows that any change in attitudes is gradual, with the spectrum of views on this subject still quite broad.
A third of respondents actually said they had never been contacted by brand journalists – which is almost impossible to believe – showing there are fundamental issues over interactions with this fast-growing area of content creation.
All of this leaves the subject as one that needs more attention – for the good of PRs, brand journalists and the brands they represent.
ResponseSource Founder and Chairman Daryl Willcox said: “PRs by their very nature are wary of how their clients will be perceived and they know that brands are no different. The rise in brand-created content is not something to be dismissed. Collaboration between PRs and brand journalists is a natural step forward and an opportunity that can yield great results for both sides.”
Download the full report: Will PR and content marketing play together nicely?
Methodology: There were 382 UK respondents from the ResponseSource database to an online survey during the months of February and March 2017. Of these, 348 were in PR, with 252 (72%) at agencies and the remaining 96 (28%) in-house. The other 34 were not in PR but often in related fields such as marketing roles. The focus of the report is on the PR community in the UK.