There’s Content. And there’s CONTENT!! How to stop it going all ‘Shoreditch’

Remember those small ads that used to promise you BIG MONEY for becoming a FREELANCE WRITER?

They weren’t really believable. But I feel very similar twitches of suspicion when I see yet another email from some super-eager Content Agency promising me COMPELLING CONTENT!! that will HELP YOU SELL!!!!

Trouble is, it’s not just me getting these perky pitches. It’s clients, too. And I think they’re getting a bit confused as to what this CONTENT!! really is and whether they’ve already got it covered.

I can’t blame any CONTENT!! Experts from trying to make a living, but there’s just no need for B2B companies to be going down this path at all.

Headline version of that: your Content team always has been and really always should be your PR team. We’re your Content Engineers – use us… and treat those emails the same way you treat all the similar ones for new lists, outsourced logistics services and, I see from today, fail-safe debt collection.

So, without further ado – the 5 Reasons your PR team is your Content Engine.

  1. We created your Content

We’ve been deeply engaged with you for (often) years. We helped shape your messaging and elicited the golden kernel of your proposition out of you. When push comes to shove, we speak for you and ventriloquise you.

Sorry – I can’t see how even the beardiest CONTENT!! hipster can do better from Shoreditch. They just don’t know who you are and so have to apply the broadest strokes to your getting your voice out there. Not useful.

2. We curate how your Content gets out there

Traditionally, we pushed your content out to a third party publisher – by which I mean, the relevant press. Which we still do; the CONTENT!! teenagers know HTML and SEO backwards, fantastic, but they don’t know which Editors are open to your message, which titles are best to pitch this news to, or what are the most influential contexts for your thought leadership.

So we can continue to do that, but of course we also curate your self-publishing – the many channels (your website, customer blog, newsletter, social media, award entries) you also now populate with your Content. Which (see 1) we helped create. I don’t see the value of introducing a new actor in this play at all; it’s so much better to have one source that works across many channels (omnichannel comms, right?) than segment this.

Oh, and Shoreditch? We also know that SEO stuff pretty good ourselves, now, so don’t worry about it.

3. We have some skills of our own…

CONTENT!! is not story telling.

It’s not listening and looking for the essence of the message – the diamond at the centre of the coal, the bit that changes the Universe.

What CONTENT!! Is is promotion – it’s sales chatter. Now, great, of course you want to sell product. But we are all grownups and we know that it’s the information and issue-based sales approach that works, not the double glazing spiel…

Here at Sarum we take the pain to look for the story, but also have enormous internal writing, editing and content creation chops.

That means we can produce Content that works for your market – not CONTENT!! that’s generic, plastic and, I’m going to say, superficial.

4. PR = Content

Why do people do PR? For the same reasons they always have: to sell more, and more easily. Key tactics there are raising profile, making the brand more attractive, communicating that you are alive, matter, and know what you’re doing.

Maybe once we thought that was all about press releases, but them days are long gone. Now, your PR team sees Content – which covers everything from a Tweet to an e-book on your latest product – as the main way to do that.

I fail to see why getting a new service provider in in the shape of the Shoreditch word boiler room will help you do PR. Spam, sure. Targeted words that hit home and make an impact?


5. Sticking to the Knitting

PR professionals are superbly placed to elicit, produce, tend and help blossom your Content. That Content is the main platform now for your PR, which is all about profile and brand management. And your PR colleagues are born and bred writers, editors and designers… let them do the job you hired them for, which is helping you use comms to sell more and more easily.

Apart from craft beers and jargon about ‘impact’ and ‘native marketing’, I can’t see what value a CONTENT!! specialist brings to that. Sorry.

So keep it simple. Leave Content to us, and go back to what you’re great at – developing compelling and innovative software and services to the market you love.

Any-hoo – time for me to go back into the Content Engine Room meself,


Founder of Digital PR & Brand Journalism agency, Sarum

One thought on “There’s Content. And there’s CONTENT!! How to stop it going all ‘Shoreditch’

  1. Lovely Post Carina, I guess we all suffer from this a bit – I get it with SEO all the time… we’re employed because our expertise within our field and yet the ‘wild-west’ elements of our industries go for our clients jugular. Occasionally even succeeding.

    Personally, I am all up for the challenge, I want clients to know what it out there and what options they have and then re-enforce what I do for them in the same vein.

    But here’s the crux – Content is King, but it also has to come from the heart of an organisation – it has to be honest, relevant and useful. Only the organisation and with the people they carefully choose can write that content. Otherwise it’s completely detrimental to the cause.

    So here here – I completely agree with your sentiment here.

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