Posted on September 9th, 2014
Public relations and marketing have more often than not acted as separate entities. On the one hand, marketing folks work hard to drive winning conversions and generate leads while the PR team works to increase visibility by telling the company’s story, garnering interest through media placements and helping monitor and protect the brand’s reputation.
However, in recent years, and with the ever growing social and online landscape, the lines between marketing and PR have been blurred. Not understanding and accepting this inevitable marriage, well, you might just miss out on some pretty incredible opportunities, which can help with your business’ overall growth and exposure.
The first step to clarity is acknowledging that both marketing and public relations rely heavily on content to attract their respective audiences â€“ whether the content is intended for the media, consumers or internal communications, it’s a must. Below we highlight ways in which content can be used to bring these two practices together.
So…What is Content?
You’ve heard it for years, “Content is King,” and seriously, it is. Content is what makes the constantly advancing communications world go-round. But just like advertising, public relations, and even digital and social media marketing; content, too, is evolving.
Remember the days when content could easily be associated with something as simple as writing a blog and sharing with your social audiences without smart packaging behind it or drafting a press release and calling editors to see if they are interested in covering your company news? While both those above tactics still hold relevancy (wellâ€¦sort ofâ€¦be smart with your social packaging, people! Take a social creative hint or two from our very own Merry Morud), nowadays it is so much more.
Everything from long-handed content such as case studies, press releases and white papers to short-handed content, including bios, landing pages and announcements has been considered and defined as content for many years. However, more modern-day content is truly defined as anything that has its’ own URL, including pages posts in social, unique URLs, images, videos, infographics, mobile apps, and more!
Even in light of “newer”online and mobile types, content is still very much old school and both sides of the old and new content spectrum need to intertwine with your marketing and PR strategy. The beauty is, the opportunities are endless and if done right, your content plan can not only gain more exposure for your business but also help increase brand loyalty and recognition.
Regardless of the specifics, make sure you have an integrated strategy in place. Align your team and be sure everyone knows and understands their role. Stress to them the importance of working together and keeping everyone informed, as there are many moving parts. Outline your goals and KPIs. Start broad and move to the essentials for better results. Know how you will measure your success before you start and use that template for future business initiatives and reporting purposes. Be smart, flush it all out, together.
Find a Purpose
Don’t just create content to create content. Understand your goals and the audience you want to reach. And don’t just implement a content marketing plan you know won’t work just because someone told you to. Dig deep into what the end-goal is; figure out the most logical place to start. Argue the current tactic if it doesn’t make sense. Don’t be afraid to make it right.
Research! Know who your audience is, where your audience spends their time and what type of content and channel they use the most. Beware you are not duplicating content that already exists or wasting your time creating something that can be found easier or faster. Be smart about it. Put in the time beforehand to ensure a successful outcome.
Some of the best, and most successful campaigns can be done by taking a piece of marketing or PR content and repurposing it in other ways that complement each other and make sense in the overall marketing strategy.
Take for example a recently written white paper based on your company’s latest and greatest research, from that piece pull out the biggest takeaways and turn it into a visually stunning infographic that you can use to drive social traffic. Use the marketing team to pull together research and measure the website visits and find out who those people are. Enlist the PR folks to write the content and copy for the white paper and infographic. Allow them to work closely with the design and development team. Bring together the forces to produce a great product.
But don’t stop there!Â Think of content as a landing page and include a funnel entry, with a call to action for customers to download that white paper. Monitor conversion rates. Have your writers draft a blog to promote the white paper and then work with your social media and creative experts to put together strong packaging for your social channels. Promote social posts to targeted audiences using social ad platforms. Invest in your content! Trust us, it’s worth it and will pay off. The opportunities and exposure can be very rewarding.
Don’t forget to use your white paper as a public relations opportunity! Monitor media editorial calendars and find opportunities to pitch topics within the paper to top tier media. Draft an article or secure an interview with your spokesperson and the publication’s editor. Once the coverage is placed, use that as another opportunity to package and promote within your social channels.
Paid promotion on your social channels can provide results that are a valuable combination of many things, including:
- Post engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.)
- Targeted and scalable social traffic to external content
- Attributable conversion from that traffic
- Links from websites with domain authority
- Discovery of the content by targeted audiences
- Distribution to relevant journalists, bloggers, editors, etc.
Be smart and use social advertising platforms to distribute your content to targeted audiences. Learn more about paid organic amplification and how you can cross-promote content from one social channel to the other.
Create and Practice Quality
Remember to create compelling, high-quality content that makes sense for your audience. Rely on your PR team to turn marketing content into something that is newsworthy or worth telling. They know the industry trends and how those can inevitably impact your business and your customers. Trust them to get the story out in a timely and relevant manner. And on the other hand, continue to integrate your news and media coverage into marketing content. Â Find ways to push out content to different audiences depending on the angle.
Keep in mind your PR team will know the best story angles and your marketing team will know the best time and way to reach the appropriate audiences by monitoring and measuring content pushed out. Understand this union and use that to your advantage!
Build on the content you are creating to develop new ways to get your message across. Rely on both the marketing and PR teams to gain exposure for this content. Learn to work together, empower each other and meld creative ideas that not only drive conversions and gain exposure, but also support your brand’s reputation. Deliver content that shows consumers you are authoritative within your niche. Build trust. Don’t forget the SEO landscape is constantly evolving and changing â€“ in order to stay relevant, be creative.
Don’t forget or underestimate the importance of working together as a unified team and understanding everyone’s roles. Have a researched plan in place, create awareness and visibility for your brand, and build on your relationships with the media and connections with your customers. Use the resources you have at your fingertips. All of that mixed together will inevitably contribute to the growth of your business.
Ultimately, in this day and age, we need to all strive to be well-rounded marketers and PR people. Marketers, we challenge you to not only be great at your area of expertise, but to embrace the perspective of the PR team and know that they can take your content to the next level. PR specialists, likewise: always be in tune to what your marketing team is working on and look for opportunities to garner more exposure for their efforts. Use their research and measurement as a way to create new content and to find new audiences that you may not have been aware of.
Working side by side will open up a whole new world for your business and you will be pleasantly surprised at how far your content (new and old) will take you.
Â© Erin Cadigan – Fotolia
Â© cacaroot – Fotolia
Â© Edyta Pawlowska – Fotolia
Â© es0lex – Fotolia
Â© crazymedia – Fotolia