Content We Love: The Brand as Publisher

sarahs.featuredBy Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Content Marketing, PR Newswire

As I was interviewing Anthony Hardman  of SecureState for last Thursday’s blog post about newsjacking, I asked him whether chip and pin technology that is present in Europe would solve the credit card fraud problems we’ve seen in the US lately.   He replied, “Funny you ask,  I just wrote a 1,000-word blog post on that very topic – I’ll send you the link.”

Credit card security is top of mind for me.  Earlier last week, I spotted some funky looking charges that turned out to be fraudulent.  If, in fact, I accurately represent the audience of people who are concerned about their credit cards after shopping at compromised retailers and are thinking long and hard about credit card security, Hartman did a great job in anticipating my concerns and the sort of questions I’d be asking.  A former journalist, he’s now applying his news nose to his company’s content creation strategy. What he sent me wasn’t just a blog post-it was brand journalism.


As I completed my research for my blog post, I couldn’t help but notice that SecureState had promoted the chip and pin blog post with a news release (“Is Chip and Pin the Answer to Retail Security? SecureState Offers Advice for Industry.”) That news release (and the others SecureState has issued to promote their content recently) is the subject of today’s Content We Love series. 

Now why would anyone use a channel like news release distribution to promote owned media when in fact so many other channels exist? After all, we have our brand websites and blogs, social media channels, industry groups and online forums – the list of channels with which we can reach our audiences goes on an on.

In my mind, the answer is simple. If your organization needs to continually expand its audience and develop engagement with new prospects, then distribution needs to be part of the content strategy. lil tweet

“People are reading news releases, and Google is indexing them. Our second leading source of referral traffic for our web site is from PR Newswire press releases,” Hardman noted during our chat yesterday.  “We’re using them to promote our content. We’re targeting readers.”

Hardman told me that the press releases his organization issued have become the second-largest referrer of traffic to their web site, behind search engines, which means that the readers the company is targeting are finding their messages.

SecureState is using its content strategy to augment its PR efforts, and in effect is acting as a publisher.  The news releases are surfacing the editorial content the company has created.  They’re earning attention and credibility for their own messages by communicating in a timely and direct way with their own audiences.  It’s an interesting and effective strategy for amplifying the visibility of the brand’s messages. 

Get some new ideas for your PR & content strategies for the coming year: join us next week for a free webinar titled “Newsworthiness: New Context & Opportunities for PR,” on January 23.  The very definition of “news” is changing, and this evolution creates the opportunity for PR & content marketing pros to create timely content that earns credibility, earns media and generates ongoing (and relevant) visibility for the brand. Taking pages from the journalistic and content marketing playbooks, this webinar will include a discussion on the evolution of news, how to map the resources within your own organization and ways to identify different opportunities a responsive communications department can capitalize upon.


Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the recently-published ebook Driving Content Discovery. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.