Content marketing trends have been pushing the evolution of the marketing industry for several years, and while I'm aware that I might seem biased as the leader of a content marketing agency, I'm no stranger to the value of more traditional forms of reaching and connecting with an audience. I'm talking, of course, about PR and the press your brand earns from industry influencers or reputable outlets in your space.

When someone influential advocates for your brand, mentions or links to you in her online content, or gives you an authentic shout-out during an event at which she's a conference speaker, you and your brand have a lot to gain.

This engaged audience learns about your brand in an organic way, and your reputation gets a nice boost from the trust that audience has in whoever advocated for you. This can lead to new opportunities for you, including valuable introductions, brand awareness, site traffic, lead generation, sales collateral, and more.

But sharing a press mention on Twitter a few times is not going to automatically deliver those kinds of results; to maximize that press, you need an ongoing distribution strategy specifically for your PR.

Making the Most of Earned Press

To get as much value as possible from those PR pieces that promote your brand, you have to consistently promote your earned media. You should be doing this anyway with your other content, but your PR pieces will likely require a slightly different strategy to promote.

When an industry influencer, peer, partner, client, or reputable publication mentions my company, our team maximizes it by sharing that news widely and doing what we can to bring PR together with our content marketing. Not only is that distribution a great way of thanking people for recognizing us, but it's also an opportunity to showcase our achievements to our audience and get the most value from those mentions.

Leveraged effectively, PR is one of the best tools in your marketing arsenal. Here's how your company can make the most of your earned press:

1. Pay to promote pieces you know will be impactful.

Just because your company earned a mention and a link back to your site in an article doesn't make it an automatic win. Sometimes, you can earn a mention from someone whose audience doesn't align well with yours or what your company offers, so the results might not be super qualified. Other times, an influencer will advocate for your brand in a way that resonates well with his audience, which also happens to be a perfect fit for your audience, and that press generates impressive, qualified results.

There's no harm in sharing both of these kinds of press organically, so share them on social and track their performance. If the press from the influencer with a solid audience that aligns well with your company does well organically, put some spend behind it to really maximize its reach.

You can test this out on a few platforms with different messaging to nail down what really works best for your particular audience, but the goal here is to use effective distribution and some paid spend to keep getting the right press in front of the right people.

2. Include press in your email signature.

If you receive an email from me, you'll notice a few constants in my signature: the Inc. 500 logo from when my company landed at No. 239 on the list, links to recent articles I've written for my columns on Inc. and Forbes, and links to PR that my company and I have earned from influential people in our space.

Your signature is a great place to keep people's attention because they're already interested in what you do and what credentials you hold; all you have to do is show them. Social media is an important channel for distributing content, but the fast-paced nature of that medium makes it easy for people to skim over your major highlights and move on. Including these in your signature gives potential clients and partners a second look at what you've accomplished.

3. Create a company press page.

Whatever industry you're in, you need a page on your site where you regularly highlight press mentions, awards, and accolades. Showcasing the praise you've earned from leaders in your space is a powerful way to enhance your credibility and get as much mileage as possible from those PR wins. Prospective clients and customers who are new to your brand will be reassured when they see that other leaders they trust have vouched for you. Plus, a press page gives your current clients and partners a place they can quickly access to spread the word for you when someone in their network asks about your brand.

PR is something you earn as a result of all the hard work you and your team have put into building a solid company, creating great content, and offering products and services your clients love. Although your mom probably told you no one likes a braggart, it's OK to show off a little in business. If people are loving on your brand, let your audience know. You'll actually be doing them a favor -- the more your brand grows, the more validated their decision to do business with you.