The digital marketing landscape is always transforming. As search engines make it more difficult for businesses to get the attention and SERP rankings they need, digital brands need to pivot their strategy.
Public relations (PR) is about getting your name out on different media, whether it’s television, radio, or in newspapers and magazines. Businesses use PR to maintain a favourable reputation and cultivate a positive public perception. Although it’s a traditional technique, PR remains an important facet to business to this day. For many brands, PR is a great way to maintain consumer interest without selling any particular product or service.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, means marketing your brand and its products and services through online digital channels. With digital marketing, you can connect with prospective and current customers on channels including search engines, online ads, email, and social media. For a lot of businesses, PR and digital marketing are entirely separate from each other. More often than not, businesses have a PR team and a digital marketing team with distinct tasks, objectives, and budgets.
That being said, an increasing number of businesses are starting to realize the advantages of combining their PR and digital strategies. If you don’t count yourself as one of them, then don’t worry. Let’s walk through everything you need to know about combining your PR and digital marketing techniques, why it’s necessary for your small business to do so, and the various ways you can go about it.
Enter traditional PR. Press relations have always helped deserving brands get the coverage they need, so why not combine it with your digital marketing? Combining PR with your digital marketing strategy expands your reach and success as a business. It helps you reach more people and publishers, boost revenue, and augment the perception of your brand.
There are two distinct types of PR: traditional and digital. While they are similar and have shared goals, they have different ways of achieving those goals. Consequently, it’s important to make a distinction between traditional PR and digital PR.
Traditional PR involves press relations and management that focuses on channels such as the printed press, niche print publications, radio, and of course, television. Digital PR refers to press relations conducted via digital means: social media, websites, blogs, influencer collaborations, video hubs, and so on.
On the face of it, traditional PR and digital marketing strategies appear quite disparate. But they actually have shared methods that can work with each other to help you achieve your goals. For instance, a core part of digital marketing is winning links. Valuable backlinks equate to good SEO, and the way to win those links? PR-style outreach.
But what about traditional PR? Well, one goal or PR is to tell stories that boost brand perception to your customers. Digital marketing uses content marketing to let you tell these stories via owned channels such as your onsite blogs. There are just examples of why marrying PR with digital marketing is such a viable strategy in 2020. But how else can you achieve this?
There are myriad ways of integrating traditional PR with digital marketing. Here are just a few examples of how you can achieve this for your own agency. Lean on influencers as journalists. Traditional PR generally seeks to garner positive brand coverage by connecting with journalists. But social media is increasingly becoming a source of news itself. Consequently, PR professionals are looking beyond simply using traditional journalists (print, TV, radio, and so on) to influencers instead. These social stars with sizeable follower counts enjoy a close relationship with their audience. They are trusted and authentic, and as such offer digital marketing teams a valuable way to connect with audiences and boost brand perception. Influencers are already a mainstay of digital marketing strategies for pushing products and services. By connecting with influencers within their niche, digital teams can also increase brand value and perception into the bargain.
Cascade press releases via owned digital channels. Press releases are the foundation upon which traditional PR is built. These statements, traditionally issued to journalists to form the crux of a news story, concisely convey important brand news.
But by releasing press releases on owned digital marketing channels such as your onsite blog, social, and email, you are able to deliver business news and press updates straight to your target audience. In this way, you circumvent journalists and get straight to the consumer.
That’s not to say you should eschew using journalists altogether — they are still a valuable avenue to a wider audience. But by using owned channels as a PR strategy, you become a publisher and source within your own right.
Use social media to build journalist relationships. You likely already use your social marketing channels to build your customer community, provide excellent customer service, and share your onsite (and offsite) content. But social media is exactly that — social. Consequently, it also serves as an effective means of building and nurturing relationships with journalists too.
PR is all about building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with journalists. But your social channels, already replete with content that showcases your brand and bolsters your credentials as a business, is the perfect space for reaching out to industry journalists too.
Find relevant journalists and follow them on social, engaging with their pieces and sharing them on your own channels. Build a relationship and reach out to them with industry-relevant news. Perhaps you’ve created a piece of onsite content that could be used as the basis for a comment for a news story (or indeed, as a story within its own right). Be genuine with your approach — this is crucial for ensuring your input is valued and noticed by the right journalists.
Traditional PR and digital marketing might be two different paradigms, but they serve the same goals: brand coverage, perception, and value. Follow the tips above and combine the two for a cohesive strategy that helps you and your clients meet your business goals.
Putting together the best that Traditional PR and digital marketing have to offer can help you create campaigns that are much more efficient and successful. After all, why spend twice the amount of time and money on two separate campaigns when you can mix them together for better results?
Whatever digital channel you choose to mix your PR strategies with, it’s important to think about your objectives first. What do you want to achieve out of your campaign? What you can do is talk to your PR and digital teams about their goals and figure out which ones can be aligned. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go all out on your first try. Feel free to start at a small scale. You can always create a bigger and better campaign down the line once you start seeing success.