Content Marketing Versus PR – Who Wins? [Chart]

12 Salient Content Marketing & PR Attributes

Content marketing gets a bad rap because many marketers and small business owners don’t understand what content marketing is and since it includes the word marketing they think it must be expensive. By contrast they believe any form of PR will translate to sales without work on their part since it’s some “free” stuff. The reality is that neither of these views is correct.

Both content marketing and PR have their distinctive roles to play in marketing. To shed light on the similarities and differences between content marketing and PR, here’s a comparison across twelve salient attributes.

Content Marketing Versus PR: Who Wins?Content Marketing & PR across 12 salient marketing attributes© 2012 Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies – All rights reserved

PR is cost effective and useful for building branding awareness and crisis management. Additionally, it’s often under-utilized by marketers. That said, content marketing supports all business initiatives across the organization. By its nature, content marketing incorporates the breadth of branding elements that make it identifiable across owned (aka internal), third party and social media platforms. Further, it provide useful information at every step of the purchase process that drives sales.

What’s your perspective on the content marketing versus PR and why? Please share your opinions in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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9 Responses to Content Marketing Versus PR – Who Wins? [Chart]

  1. Jen Whaley says:

    Hi, Heidi-

    I know I’m late to the party – but I just saw this great chart. I love it! The only thing I’d like to add – I think how PR is defined here is what it has been or what industry professionals have molded it to be. For instance, many times when clients ask for PR, they do think/mean media relations only. Much of your chart includes press mentions, etc.. I totally agree this is a big part of PR, but I also remember (from years ago!) what my Butler prof tried to get through to our young minds -” public relations is more than communicating to the media and should never been seen as reactive. If you are going to do it well – be proactive and practice two-way communication with all those who touch your brand.” That’s how I have always seen PR. To me – content marketing and PR go hand in hand.  If you are doing them well! 🙂 Content marketing to me is what PR should be in the future and what PR should have been in the past. The only big change – the platform/technology used.  Thanks again for all your great content and perspective. 

  2. Bravo! Really great job in breaking down the differences between PR and Content Marketing! Definitely going to share this!

  3. mike says:

    Great way to break it down Heidi… I think the most important thing is for them to be true to their brand, and yes as you pointed out in one of your responses it will always change and evolve, today faster than in the past.. Thanks Heidi

  4. Nice chart, Heidi, and easy answer.
    Content Marketing has much broader reach and potential than simple PR.
    PR is still important. But more and more PR is focused on the end customer, not the media. And your customers don’t want to hear your pitch – instead, they want to learn about things important to them. And that’s where content marketing comes in.

    If I’m setting up a home theater for the first time, I’ll find the articles and videos on (mobile app and site funded by Best Buy) quite useful. Reading a press release by some manufacturer about their new home theater receiver, touting the wattage or other irrelevant specs, is not very interesting.

    PR is necessary, but it is overdone and has very limited use. Content marketing, on the other hand, is compelling and under-utilized.

    • Heidi Cohen says:


      Thank you for taking the time to engage. I agree with you that content marketing is broader in how it supports businesses. It works at every step of the purchase process, it supports search optimization and it provides food for social media.

      From a consumer perspective, content marketing has the advantage of not feeling, smelling or being advertising. At a result, consumers find it more useful.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  5. john sonnhalter says:

    Heidi great chart to show benefits to both. Both have a place in companies and both need a plan to work from.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      John–Glad you appreciate the table. I agree that content marketing and PR both play important roles within an organization. From a consumer or client perspective, content marketing plays a larger role. What do you think? Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  6. Heidi – Thanks for putting this chart together. Highly valuable to people in advertising, marketing and PR when everything is melding and blending together. Good points and great information!

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Tiffany– I appreciate you’re taking the time to engage. While I agree that the various functions within marketing continue to change and evolve, the difference between content marketing and other forms of marketing communications is that it’s NOT a promotion or advertisement. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen