I often think of marketing as a huge umbrella that encompasses everything from customer acquisition, to customer retention and loyalty. Under that umbrella are elements of a broader, overarching strategy that include creative design, copywriting, event planning, website and email campaign development, and so on. However, there’s one piece of the marketing puzzle that is often left out. Maybe it’s because we take it for granted or just expect it to happen organically, so it rarely makes the list of tactics to execute when a new campaign launches or a different strategy takes shape. I’m talking about public relations.
Public relations (PR) is often an outsourced addition to an internal strategy or campaign, intended to make “life easier” for an organization while getting the word out about its latest announcement or project. While working with a PR partner does lighten the workload for internal marketing departments, it can lead to some challenges if an organization is unprepared for the task ahead. In this blog post, we’ll examine the role of PR in marketing and how it can impact your organization’s bottom line.
Get to know the red headed stepchild
Public relations is the art of managing the public’s perception of a brand or organization. From media relations and getting the word out about a person, business, product, or service, to community engagement and even government relations and lobbying efforts, PR has many facets and each brings new opportunities and challenges to any marketing strategy. The trick is to determine which elements of PR are best suited for the end goal, and then, to balance efforts between paid and earned media to maximize results under the constraints of a marketing budget.
Earned media is a valuable resource every organization says they want but rarely adds budget or time towards. At its core, earned media coverage is a third party endorsement. Instead of an advertisement, earned media is an article or broadcast written or produced by an entity outside of the organization that holds weight with readers, viewers, and listeners.
While earned media seems like a no brainer (because your business is awesome), there’s a lot of work going on under the surface to generate mentions, quotes, and stories such as media research, media contact relationship building, and pitching story ideas.
Embrace the red headed stepchild
PR grows revenue, improves brand reputation, and echoes marketing messages in the depths of content that overflow from online news sites, magazine bins, and impossible to fold newspapers (or is that just me?).
Your current and prospective customers actively engage with content on a regular basis. By determining or confirming your audience and learning where they are spending their time, you can get messaging such as advertisements and press releases literally in front of their noses. Not only does this improve brand awareness, but it can also increase website traffic, leads, and sales.
[Not to mention, getting your brand featured or listed in a blog post or online article can impact your search engine optimization (SEO), even if it doesn’t link back to your website.]
PR helps transform companies into trusted sources of information, and earned media drives traffic that matters. PR is also at its most effective level when it is coupled with other marketing efforts, such as advertising and social media, acting as a megaphone for a company’s mission, products, services, and people. This requires marketing, advertising, and PR to work together, sharing information such as deadlines, run dates, and readership demographics.
Willow Marketing proudly integrates public relations with our marketing strategies. To learn more about how we can help your organization, reach out to us here.