by Michael O'Neill
January 7th, 2014

Here’s a lesson I never forgot.

When I departed journalism to become a PR consultant, I carved out a specialty at media relations. I excelled at getting the business media – Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and many others – to write about my clients.

I can remember one client getting frustrated with my account team. We weren’t getting any traction pitching his company’s story to the media. We groused about the usual: terrible spokespeople, weak storylines and underwhelming products. Basically, excuses.

“We’ve pitched everyone,” I told him. “We’re working on it day and night.”

“That’s great,” he said. “But I’m not paying you to pitch. I’m paying you to get stories in the press.”

That really stuck with me (after the sting wore off). But he was right. He wanted an audience. He wanted eyeballs on stories about his company to build awareness, help sell product and to strengthen his company’s reputation and standing in the market.

Flash forward to now.

I’m in digital communications and my teams create content. All kinds of content: videos, images, infographics, applications, blog posts and tons of other social content.

But guess what?

Creating content is yesterday’s media pitching.

The content has to be great. Just like the pitch had to be great. But at the end of the day, the content and the pitch are just vehicles to get a brand’s messages to an audience.

What matters today is getting the content noticed. Getting it distributed to the right audiences. Getting eyeballs on the content. Because getting the content distributed is what builds awareness, helps sell product and what strengthens a company’s reputation and standing in the market.

Distribution today equals what getting the story published was yesterday.

You can have the best pitch in the world. But if it doesn’t succeed in getting a story published in the press then what good is it? It’s the same with content. You can make the best video in the world, but if no one sees it? Well, it doesn’t do much good.

That’s why content creation and content distribution must go hand-in-hand.

That’s why content distribution is the new PR.

George F. Snell III is senior vice-president, digital & social communications, at Weber Shandwick Boston.

This article first appeared on Snell’s blog High Talk

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