PPRA Content Marketing Luncheon Recap


The panel from left to right: Dave Armon, Chief Executive Officer of Brand.com, Kim Harmsen, Vice President of Gregory FCA and Joshua Palau, Senior Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at Comcast.

The worlds of earned and paid media are colliding and we have to brace ourselves for impact by learning the value of tactics like native advertising, content marketing and sponsored content. At the latest PPRA luncheon, “WARNING: Communication Turbulence Ahead. Content May Shift” experts from Brand.com, Comcast and Gregory FCA spoke on the topic.

Gregg Feistman, professor at Temple University with more than 30 years of public relations experience, moderated the conversation.

Kim Harmsen, Vice President of Gregory FCA, started off the set of three presentations with a look at the content marketing efforts her agency employs for its client, Penn Mutual.  Harmsen highlighted the different areas that Gregory FCA focuses on for Penn Mutual including social media, a blog and press releases. Her team focuses on communicating a corporate narrative across these channels while displacing myths about life insurance. Examples of these myths are that millennials aren’t interested in purchasing life insurance and that the field is not female-friendly. The team at Gregory FCA also works to have Penn Mutual’s content published elsewhere, like insurance trades.

Dave Armon, CEO of Brand.com, delved into how his company works with both brands and publishers to create a harmony where the two intersect. He mentioned examples like Help A Reporter Out and ProfNet as well as an instance where Netflix bought a pull out spread in the New York Times to advertise Orange is the New Black using the advertorial method. Armon spoke on the importance of labeling sponsored content. Many consumers may feel deceived if they realize the words they are reading from a publication were paid to be placed there. However, studies show that as long as the content is labeled honestly and it reads well, individuals will view it as a credible source.

Joshua Palau, Senior Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at Comcast, showed the luncheon group the website that Comcast uses to create and share its own content. Palau noted how it can be difficult to get the right messages and voice across through third party media outlets, so websites like that are crucial for a brand. He also pointed out how even Google is trying to blur the line between paid and organic reach by trying to get users to click on advertised content at the top of their search feeds. Comcast’s website is the place that outlets like the Verge and Tech Crunch are going to get news for their own sites, showing how useful brand journalism has become for all involved.


  • Use content marketing to communicate your narrative
  • Clearly label sponsored content to maintain honesty and credibility
  • Publishers are starved for revenue, they are more than open to working with brands

How do you see the intersection of earned and paid media impacting the field of public relations? Share your thoughts about the pros and cons of sponsored content, native advertising and content marketing below.

This post was written by London Faust. London is an Account Representative at Bellevue Communications Group, a public relations firm specializing in media relations, crisis communications and issue management. She is forever #TempleMade,class of 2014. Follow her personal ramblings on Twitter at @londonfaust or her professional doings at @BellevuePRPhl.