In years gone by, public relations professionals were responsible for building relationships between companies and customers. It was the strategy that built brands and created corporate giants. The tools of their trade were newspapers, large publications and media such as television and radio. PR worked independently of marketing.
Then the age of technology was born.
Suddenly, newspapers and large publications were condensed and read online. Advertising online was a whole new ball game. Media expanded to massive levels. With thousands of stations to choose from, the idea of using that avenue for brand building became costly and risky. And then social media came along.
Social media became the avenue for companies to reach customers. People could research a company, check their inventory, place an order and create a review without ever leaving the comfort of their couch.
Social media became the go-to source for ways to market products and services. With the explosion of social media and the new look of the marketing team, was there still a need for PR?
The answer is a huge YES. When done correctly, public relations strategy integrated with marketing and social media can create a highly effective brand building presence. In order for this approach to be effective, however, it’s critical that you start with a direction and have objectives.
Set Your Goals
We’ve already determined that the winning formula is some combination of marketing and public relations, using social media and other current tactics. Armed with this knowledge, you must clearly and concisely state your goals and directions.
The obvious ones include brand-building, increased sales, more leads and more hits to your website, but it’s important that each organization create its own goals and objectives. There’s no one-size-fits-all. Understand where you’re headed and where you want to be and craft your goals and objectives accordingly.
Once you have your goals set, it’s time to get strategic.
PR specialists excel at developing effective press releases, product announcements and pitches. These are all critical components in the success of your marketing, but today it takes things like social media to amplify your message. By combining these tactics, your PR efforts can have serious impact.
No tactic will have the highest potential impact alone. Think integrated and make sure your PR strategy is working together with your marketing strategy.
Publish in both print and digital. Carefully craft great content and place it on the right sites. Utilize email marketing and tie everything back to your website, and increase the reach of your message through social media.
Integrating tactics is critical, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. All the tactics in the world will be useful if they don’t connect with your target audience.
Define Your Target Audience
Public relations and social media, used together properly to target the right audience in the right places, can be highly effective. But you need to really understand your audience in order to enjoy that high level of effectiveness.
A carefully placed press release can make all the difference. Placing a release where your target audience isn’t active will simply waste your money. Your PR and marketing spend are likely limited, so understand your target audience and know what publications they read, what social media channels they’re active on and what motivates them.
If you follow this blue print, your public relations efforts will provide a boost to your social media, and your social media efforts will return the favor. By merging these key players with your overall marketing strategy, you’ll position yourself and your company in a much better place.
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