“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Market research

PR and brand journalists speaking a common language

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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PRs and brand journalists in 2017 – a marriage of convenience?

At Collective Content we’re fascinated by how people respond to us doing our job – creating great content for brands that starts conversations.

That’s partly because it’s a fast-changing field, and of course partly because it’s our job – different in many ways to the traditional journalism we’ve come from but similar in others when done well.

PR pros are important gatekeepers to us creating great brand content. So this year marks the third time we’re running our annual survey in conjunction with ResponseSource to find out what PRs think of so-called brand journalists in 2017.

Take this year’s survey here.

Last year close to 300 PRs – a majority in agencies and about a quarter of the sample working in-house – shared their views. And the results made for interesting reading.

But rather get into the analysis of last year here, we’d encourage you to take this year’s survey. We will share the results with those who take part a little ahead of wider coverage.

Last year’s results didn’t show a straightforward rise in acceptance of brand journalism compared to 2015. This remains a unique study at a time when understanding the future of PR and the rise of brand content are important to all kinds of organisations.

Please also feel free to share our survey link – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZQ9N2P5 . Thank you.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Download our exclusive research and report ‘PR’s acceptance of brand content uneven’.

Read Further

A time when PR and content marketing work together…

What happens in the long term? What happens when every organisation, not just every agency, is producing meaningful content? It might be useful content, entertaining content or – occasionally – both. What happens then?

CCUK ResponseSource Report GraphWe had this in mind when we asked one of our most important questions in our exclusive 2016 study of PR and content marketing, available to download for free.

The reason I phrase the opening question like this is because fewer PRs we surveyed told us they ‘accept brand journalists… on a par with traditional journalists’. In the 2015 survey, 17 per cent of respondents told us ‘They are now’ accepted as equals, whereas this year the corresponding number had fallen to 12 per cent.

That hurts if you’re in our shoes, right? But flipping to the other side of the spectrum, how many of our 266 respondents told us ‘Never’ would the two groups be treated the same? As you can see, the number has fallen from a worrying 42 per cent in 2015 to 27.4 per cent in 2016.

In our full report, we redo the equation from last year. Back then, by bracketing the first three groups – those answering ‘They are now’, ‘Within the next year’ and ‘1-3 years time’ – and comparing them with those who said ‘Over 3 years’ and ‘Never’, we saw the naysayers edge it, 52% v 47% (one per cent didn’t know).

This year, the first grouping – let’s call them the near-termers – total 59.9 per cent. So while fewer told us so-called brand journalists are on a par with traditional journalists right now, more believe they are likely to be soon. The ratio has shifted from roughly 50:50 to 60:40.

Do they mean it? It’s hard to tell. By rejecting ‘They are now’ but being more optimistic about the long term, are these respondents ‘kicking the can down the road’ (as people like to say in US politics)?

What is clear, however, is that if this is a trend, there are some in PR who will be changing their position in coming years.

What will it take for PRs to accept those creating content for brands rather than media properties? Our bet is that better quality output will convince PRs these people are worth engaging with.

The irony is that one way to create that higher quality content is to work with PRs – getting information, access to sources, events and help with ideas. It’s a bit chicken and egg, really. The question now is, which comes next?

We’d love to hear your feedback on this subject and this year’s report, so please email us using our contact form or write on our Facebook page.

Download the full PDF report here. Look out for more analysis of our findings over the coming weeks.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 292 2826