PR and brand journalists speaking a common language

PR and brand journalists speaking a common language





PR and brand journalists speaking a common language


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

Native advertising is no longer a mystery. And almost everyone in PR knows their ‘brand publication’ from their ‘brand storytelling’ – as you might expect.

These are just two of the findings from this year’s research into how the PR community is working in the field of content marketing in general.
Our research of 348 UK-based PRs found:

  • Understanding of ‘content marketing’ is up. Now 91.7 per cent of respondents say they know what the term means.
  • Around three quarters (75.7 per cent) of our sample say they understand ‘brand journalist/journalism’ – a less-than-satisfactory term for creators of some kinds of commercial content. This is up on 2016’s 74.9 per cent and 2015’s 69 per cent.
  • Native advertising’ remains the most confusing term on our list. Only 46.8 per cent of respondents say they understand what it means*. However, this is up on previous years and ‘Not sures’, while still much higher than for other terms, are declining fast.

Across some terms, native advertising is one of them, the comprehension levels stated by agency PRs are markedly higher than for their in-house colleagues. We can only speculate as to why that is.

Of course, all of this comprehension is self-qualified. We don’t know if someone who says they understand something really does. But it makes sense that we all learn over time, especially as some of these disciplines grow and are undertaken by those in PR.

Our ‘Defining terms’ questions are near the start of our research every year, even if the findings don’t lead our report. That’s because understanding the shifts that are going on is critical to PRs, whose industry is changing in important ways, just as it is to the wider world of marketers, journalists and others.

In general, levels of understanding are trending upwards. This is quite possibly because PRs are engaging in broader content initiatives such as more content creation for clients, including tactics like ghostwriting, social media marketing and content that doesn’t touch traditional media.
We will be drilling down into further aspects of this year’s research over the next few weeks.

*Native advertising, to Collective Content, means brand journalists working for or at publishers, creating content in the style of that publication but paid for by an advertiser and usually labelled as such or ring-fenced.

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