Let’s start with the basics by defining public relations.
The term itself encapsulates several different practices, and is not easy to describe in just a few words. According to HubSpot, the Public Relations Society of America accepted thousands of submissions before finally agreeing on this definition: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
PR professionals work to tell a story about a brand or company that portrays it in a positive light. This encourages an audience to have a certain perception of that company, increasing their trust and loyalty in the brand, which makes them more likely to purchase goods or services from them, or recommend them to other potential buyers down the road.
Integrated public relations is where PR meets marketing.
When companies decide to invest in increasing brand awareness, they usually choose between either implementing a public relations or a marketing strategy to reach more of their desired audience. PR and marketing have existed as two separate entities for ages, but the quickly changing world of digital media has blurred the line more and more. Traditional forms of public relations are taking a back seat, since meeting with journalists and emailing publications is no longer viable, unless you’re targeting niche publications.
Today, PR professionals are looking towards blogging, social media management, SEO and contributing content to other platforms to meet the needs of their clients.
With both PR and marketing strategies having the same or similar goals, it only makes sense to combine the two, reaping the benefits of both tactics working in tandem.
Why integrate your PR and marketing strategies?
Whether you call it PR or marketing, success is more likely if you have a cohesive, unified approach. Aim to build an inbound program that aligns your marketing and PR teams with common goals and success is likely to follow. Coordinating your brand’s social media, public relations, inbound marketing and creative efforts can only lead to a stronger overall brand strategy. Incorporating the same strategy across platforms to achieve the same goals can supplement and support your efforts, and help you reach a wider audience.
Iliyana Stareva, a Global Partner Program Manager at HubSpot, believes now is the time for PR and marketing to truly join forces, as customers and clients, rather than specific projects or responsibilities should be priorities for both PR and marketing professionals.
She states, “In 2018, PR should have a seat at the table and have the same goals as the rest of the company – goals that are tied to the success of that team (finance, IT, sales, marketing, etc.). This allows for all communications from various departments to be coordinated and have “one voice” of customer communication.”
How do you implement integrated public relations?
Once you have decided you’d like to take the route of integrating your marketing and public relations strategy, you should start with the following:
Ensure your integrated strategy has a strong foundation of clear, cohesive messaging which is tailored specifically to your buyer personas. All areas of your strategy should be rooted in the same goals and objectives, and flow through both your public relations and marketing efforts. From there, create content that will attract your buyer personas and speak to their pain points at every step of the buyer’s journey.
Once you have your goals and messaging aligned, it’s time to plan actionable measures to reach your goals. Public relations professionals often use press releases, social media content, events, blogs, and curated content as media opportunities to place their brands in front of consumers. These tactics help establish the brand as an industry expert, and paints it in a positive light. Repurposing marketing content into potential PR content, like borrowing content offer copy for a featured article, can increase exposure for your brand and establish the company as a thought leader.
Social media has become a popular platform for PR initiatives, from adding social media sharing options to blogs to reaching out to reporters over Twitter and everything in between. Social media makes it easier to get consumers engaged with branded content.
Tactics like influencer marketing can help PR professionals develop and maintain relationships with brand advocates who can reach an audience in an authentic, unique way. According to a poll by Tomoson, influencer marketing was rated the “fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing,” by professional marketers.
Your cohesive plan must be held to specific metrics and outcomes that were outlined at the start of your campaign. This is how you can define success, learn where to make adjustments, and more effectively target your audience. It’s not about measuring everything, but measuring the right things. You must determine how you define success in regards to your goals, figure out which key performance indicators matter most, and continue evaluating your tactics throughout the process, from beginning to end. We suggest starting with metrics like traffic on your brand’s website, amount of shares or new followers on social media after an influencer collaboration, or amount of contributed content pieces that were featured in a specific timeframe, among others.
Establishing your brand as a reliable voice in the industry and building credibility is even easier when integrating your public relations and marketing strategies. Cohesive messaging, thoughtful tactics, and keeping track of results can help you reach a wider audience, get a higher return on investment, and achieve success.
If you have any questions on integrating your marketing strategy with PR strategy, Illumine8 Marketing & PR can help. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more tips and content offers, or reach out if you would like to learn more about our services.