3 Ways Aligning PR and Content Marketing Benefits Your Brand

Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and pretty much anything. Some things just belong together, and I promise it’s not just your (or, maybe more realistically, your kids’) favorite food items; I’m talking about content marketing and public relations.

Why, then, do so many leaders tend to choose one strategy over the other? Too often, brands fall into this exclusivity trap, mistakenly believing there’s only one way to achieve their goals. Sure, both PR and content have their respective benefits; done right, you can see wins using either approach. But they actually work well together — even better than they do independently.

How PR and Content Make the Perfect Pair

Despite the fact that PR and content work so well together, plenty of marketing and communications leaders focus their time, attention, and budget on one or the other — typically, on PR. Every leader has his or her own reasons for choosing PR over content, but I see it most often comes down to a couple of key reasons.

For starters, PR is familiar. Yes, it encompasses a lot of tactics, but it’s not as “new” to some brands as content marketing, and you usually know what you can expect when you invest in PR.

And part of what you get is speed and short-term wins that you can see pretty easily, which will always be attractive to companies looking to build their brands and reach new audiences. But brand building and audience engagement are long-term strategies that are ongoing, and that’s where a content marketing strategy becomes especially valuable.

So if you’re stuck deciding between PR or content marketing and focusing all your efforts on one over the other, it’s time to look at what you stand to gain by aligning the two. Here are three reasons your PR and content marketing should work together:

1. You can generate press through your content.

Imagine something exciting is happening at your company. You write about it on your blog and fill your social feeds with teasers about this big development. Someone else — maybe a contributor for a publication in your industry — takes notice.

She decides to write about your company or, better yet, sends you a message asking for a quote to boost her article. Suddenly, the content you’ve created has put you on the radar of someone with even greater reach and access to your target audience, and that’s powerful.

I should mention that simply publishing content won’t get you in front of journalists and contributors who are just dying to write about you. You’ve got to use a variety of content tools to help you create the right content and distribute it effectively.

2. PR can validate your other content.

Say you’re on the road to content success; you’ve got a process that works for you, your content is engaging the right people, and you’re seeing some positive results. That’s fantastic — but if you want to take it to the next level, PR can give you the validation you need.

Consider how much stronger your brand looks and sounds when you’re not the only one writing about how great you are. When influencers and leaders in your space sing your praises in reputable publications, the work you’re doing gets a serious boost of validation and credibility.

3. PR opens the door for more educational content.

Content marketing isn’t meant to be promotional. In fact, blatantly promoting yourself and your brand will get your content rejected by online editors, so you’ve got to create truly engaging and educational content.

The thing is that no matter how much educational content you create, it’s pretty hard to start conversations with your audience if no one really knows about you. That’s what PR is for.

PR is promotional, and it builds awareness about your organization, making your company’s name and brand more familiar. Consistent PR placements and mentions help you reach people and introduce yourself to them, and content allows you to continue that relationship with educational content. And when your PR and content align, it becomes easier for you to build trust and meaningful relationships with your audience.

Whether you’re a content guru or a PR pro, you might never have realized the benefits of bringing these two strategies together. As you prepare for next year, consider launching some experiments to see how you can build your brand and engage your audiences through PR and content marketing.

Tech

5 Brand New iOS 11 Features You'll Want to Try Out As Soon As Possible (Look Away, Android Fans)

Apple might be known for its devices–but the world arguably wouldn’t be the same without their innovative strides with the iPhone–but today, Apple shows off just how much it’s been looking at its program side with the official release of iOS 11. Although there are tons of features to enjoy, here are the best of the best to try out.

1. Do Not Disturb for safer driving

Based on vehicle movement or Bluetooth connections, iOS 11 automatically puts you in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while on the road. It can send an automatic reply if a message does come in so others know you can’t respond. I love the proactive approach and stance Apple is taking here on trying to put a stop to distracted driving and frankly, it could save lives.

2. Siri upgrades

Siri and I aren’t exactly at ‘bff status’ yet, but we’re getting there — she (or he, depending on your settings) has selective listening, which can be an aggravation at times. Needless to say, Apple has invested a lot into enhancing the overall Siri experience, including making her sound more like human speech. Siri also can now translate from English into several other languages and customize suggestion based on your device and app usage.

3. What’s up, Dock?

Sitting at the bottom of your screen, the new dock allows you to both launch and switch between apps and play with your windows. It’s much easier to work with more than one app at a time via Split View and Slide Over, and you can tweak what’s in the dock with simple drag and drop of apps and folders.

4. Camera bonuses

Looking to power up your Pokemon Go experience or just mess with your brain? On top of AR, the camera now has LED flash support, new filters, and can scan QR codes without a separate app.

5. Pay friends

Watch out, Venmo.

Owe a buddy $ 10 for pizza? Need to pay your rent to your roomie? Kid find their perfect outfit at the mall? Starting in the fall, Apple will link Apple Pay with Messages, so you can transfer money as you chat. It’s not out just yet, but it’s an incredibly smart move given that companies like Facebook include in-chat payment and digital banking is increasing in popularity. And don’t scoff, either — for all you millennials out there that swear by Venmo (like myself), this is about convenience and eliminating clicks/steps.

P.S. You can pay using Siri, too.

Needless to say, this is only the tip of the iceberg. For a full download on iOS 11’s capabilities, check out their comprehensive guide, here.

Tech

Wileyfox is Europe’s newest mobile brand — here’s how its first smartphone stacks up

Wileyfox Swift

Fledgling European mobile phone brand Wileyfox announced its arrival in the smartphone realm a month ago, and now the London-based company is preparing to launch its first ever product: The Wileyfox Swift.

Initially slated for launch this week, Wileyfox revealed that shipping for the $ 200 Android device has been delayed until September 30. But while you wait, VentureBeat has grabbed some serious hands-on time with the phone, and here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Vital stats

Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

Above: Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

The Wileyfox Swift is powered by Cyanogen OS, the commercial, customizable Android-based operating system from Cyanogen Inc. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, 5″ Gorilla Glass screen (1,280 x 720 pixels), 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB). It also supports 4G, has two SIM card slots, and it will set you back €179 EUR (£129 GBP / $ 205 USD).

As a slight aside, launching a month after the Swift is the souped-up €279 (£199 GBP / $ 315 USD) Wileyfox Storm, which offers a 5.5″ full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, a whopping 20MP rear-facing camera, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB).

From VentureBeat

Location, location, location — Not using geolocation to reach your mobile customers? Your competitors are. Find out what you’re missing.

Available for preorder now through the Wileyfox website, as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Expansys, and E-buyer, the Swift is pitched squarely at the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market, with localized call center support, a replacement screen service, and an extended three-year warranty offered for the equivalent of around $ 15 for each service.

That said, the phone can be purchased in other territories, including the U.S., but Wileyfox said the “experience will not be full” elsewhere. For example, in the U.S., data streaming would be limited because the phone uses CDMA — voice and SMS should be fine on the Swift, as would Wi-Fi, but 4G / LTE would suffer. And there won’t be dedicated phone support outside EMEA, either.

Look and feel

Perhaps the most immediately striking facet of the Wileyfox Swift is its looks — it doesn’t resemble a cheap phone, despite what its price would have you believe. The rough-ish, sandstone black rear, embossed logo, and colored brand marking gives it a premium feel.

Wileyfox: Back

Above: Wileyfox Swift (Right): Back

The front side sports a clear screen with no physical buttons, and down the right edge you’ll find the volume control and power button. On the bottom edge is the micro-USB port and two speakers.

Wileyfox Front

Above: Wileyfox Front

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The Wileyfox Swift is noticeably light in the hand — at 135 grams, it’s 30 percent lighter than my OnePlus 2, though it is also around 0.5″ smaller. While this is good, it does make it feel a little bit cheaper to me — but that’s probably just because I’m used to a heftier handset.

Indeed, many people will like its deftness, and looking at other premium phones on the market, the Swift isn’t actually too light — the marginally larger Samsung Galaxy S6 weighs only 3 grams more, while the slightly smaller iPhone 6 comes in at 129 grams. In other words, the Swift is about the right weight for its size; it’s really just down to what you’re already accustomed to.

Under the hood

With Cyanogen OS on board, Wileyfox brings some useful features to the mainstream market. Cyanogen is already supported by many handsets, but in the West not many actually ship with the OS preinstalled.

Highlights include being able to lock some apps in protected folders on the home screen. Tap on a folder, hit the little padlock icon, enter a code, and voila.

Folder Protection

Above: Folder protection

Other neat little touches include Privacy Guard, which gives users easy access to control what data is shared with which apps. And with Truecaller built in, the Swift can block spam calls and texts from specific numbers — a giant smack in the face to robocallers everywhere.

Truecaller and App Privacy

Above: Truecaller and App Privacy

General performance

One of the downsides of Cyanogen OS is that it is prone to bugs, and at times it’s not the most responsive to touch. For example, occasionally I would attempt to swipe down from the top to access notifications and settings, and literally nothing would happen. This was similar to what I experienced with the OnePlus One, which ran Cyanogenmod 12.

That said, it’s not prevalent enough for it to be a deal-breaker — it just gets a little frustrating at times for those 5 seconds or so I’m desperately trying to swipe the screen.

In terms of juice, the Wileyfox Swift packs a removable (yay!) 2500mAh battery that promises stand-by time of up to 200 hours and talk time of up to 10 hours (2G) or 8 hours (3G).

Of course, nobody really uses their smartphones for calling anymore — they use them for tweeting, WhatsApp-ing, Google Maps-ing, YouTube-ing, and Spotify-ing. I didn’t stress-test the battery; I used it as I would any phone throughout a day (Google Maps, Twitter, BBC News app, and very little media streaming), and it lasted from when I awoke to when I went to bed, at which point there was around 10 percent battery remaining.

Elsewhere, the 13MP camera works pretty well for daylight shots, but I found it lacked somewhat in clarity for low-lighting situations. But at $ 200, this was never promising the best lens on the market. The on-board dual speakers were actually pretty darn good for casual listening at this price point, though you would of course want to use a Bluetooth speaker if you’re hosting a party.

The cherry on the cake, for me, is the display. It may not be full HD, but I found the screen to be clear and crisp. Again, this isn’t going to be for perfectionists who love watching movies on their phone with all the trimmings, but for the price it’s definitely very good.

Wileyfox Display

Above: Wileyfox display

Dual-SIM

This feature gets a special mention. dual-SIM phones are popular in many developing markets, but they’ve never really become much of a “thing” in the West. There’s no real reason why dual-SIM devices shouldn’t be popular in Europe or the U.S. — it was one of the reasons why I upgraded my personal phone to the OnePlus 2.

The use cases for dual-SIM are numerous. You can have one number for all your friends and family, and one for companies that may be inclined to call at inappropriate times. The second SIM slot can basically be your spam line, just like that Yahoo email account you keep for special occasions. You could have one domestic SIM and one business SIM, if you travel abroad often. Or you could have two domestic SIMs — one for calls and SMS, the other for Internet — if you find separate good deals from two companies.

And if you have absolutely no need for two SIMs, you don’t have to use that second slot.

Verdict

In our original assessment, we stated that Wileyfox wants to be the OnePlus of Europe. While the basic sentiment of that still rings true, it doesn’t really tell the whole picture — OnePlus sells premium phones at a knockdown price. The Wileyfox Swift is a decent mid-range device — and excellent value for the money — but it’s definitely not a premium phone.

The Wileyfox Swift should be well received when it finally goes to market. However, it sits in an awkward position for me. The customization options are excellent, but it feels a little like the handset is aimed at a more tech-savvy market, where fine-tuning privacy options are important. It’s a market, perhaps, that would be more inclined to shell out for a proper high-end phone.

That said, the Wileyfox Swift could find a sizable niche in the gift-giving fraternity. It’s the perfect price for someone to buy a family member / significant other for their birthday or Christmas. You probably wouldn’t buy a $ 600 iPhone for your dad, but you’d maybe drop a couple hundred bucks on a Swift.



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