If you are having a hard time deciding how to integrate public relations strategies into your marketing plan, you are not alone. The lines have become so blurred in this age of integrated marketing that PR and marketing tactics are consistently crossing paths—but are typically not coordinated in advance.
For these two important functions to work in unison, we need to extract the best practices used in successful PR campaigns typically used to:
Announce company news
Demonstrate corporate social responsibility
Following are three key areas where PR best practices should be infused so you can gain maximum exposure and boost the return on your marketing investments.
PR is used to effectively communicate key messages to a diverse public. By first identifying all audiences—and their drivers— messages can then be tailored to resonate with each party so that each takes the desired action.
Try using this PR approach when developing messaging for your next marketing program. Start by identifying all of your primary and secondary audiences to ensure your message will stick. Grab a whiteboard and make a list. Include all of the distinct groups that make up your audience so your messaging addresses each of their unique needs. Following are some key groups to consider:
Social media networks
A fundamental principle of PR is establishing and nurturing relationships. Having long-standing relationships with industry experts, reporters, editors, reviewers and bloggers is important to get your stories covered and keep your company relevant.
Consider leveraging these relationships when developing your content marketing strategy. How can these industry influencers help you distribute your content and raise awareness? Providing these key contacts with your story (i.e., content) offers an opportunity to gain additional impressions and a better chance for your content to go viral.
A core function of PR is to quickly distribute information and generate awareness among large audiences. Seeing a company name published across a trusted news source implies validation and leaves the impression that the brand is credible and trustworthy.
Take this PR tactic of gaining exposure and validation through media hits, and apply it to your advertising strategy. What news outlets, trade events, industry publications and online sources do your prospects and customers visit or attend? To gain valuable impressions, you need to focus your advertising efforts on news sources and events your audience relies on regularly.
As you’ve just read, PR and marketing serve similar purposes. Consciously promoting PR from a line item in your corporate communications budget to a supporting role infused across your marketing mix will enable you to deliver on a clear, coordinated plan that combines the best of both worlds.