Public Relations is all about creating and developing an affinity for your brand. Just as individuals can make connections and build friendships online, there is huge potential for brands, too. Surprisingly, not all brands have jumped on this trend as developing technology, social and media make it a daunting prospect to execute effectively. Quite frankly, it’s overwhelming for any sized business.
Communications and PR need to work together using the right media outlets and journalists who either work for them or are visible on them.
Fear not, we’ve picked out some key features of what it means to be a successful communicator in this era of modern technology.
Content Marketing and PR
They are “two sides of the same coin”.
Content Marketing is storytelling. It is all about creating a shareable experience, from social media to blogs, white papers and videos among many more. As more consumers and businesses take up an online presence, brands without an active online presence across platforms will suffer.
In a 2018 Global Communications report, senior comms leaders were asked to pick the most effective form of content to influence consumer buying behaviour. It’s no surprise that Social Media was the most commonly ranked one, with 54% of respondents placing it in their top three.
A report published by Ofcom in 2018 found that social media is the most popular type of online news source, used by 44% of adults, and this is bound to increase year on year.
While TV is still the strongest overall for UK adults, the internet is the second most used platform for news. For those aged 16-24, however, the internet prevails.
It makes perfect sense for PR to integrate with marketing and social media, not to stand alone.
PR should be a cross-platform job. While there are some concerns with the accuracy and trustworthiness of news on social media, this is where the reputation management of brands sharing news and information comes in.
With this in mind, let’s see how as professionals, we can make the best of our communications bringing PR and Content Marketing together to hold hands through the marketing process.
Treat Communications as Dialogue
Targeting is crucial. It’s the basics of marketing, yet somehow it is still often forgotten.
The most successful PR efforts come from media outlets where the communications will resonate. Think bloggers and influencers or Twitter vs Instagram. What matters to your target market, where do they go to find what they want, and whom do they look up to?
There are ways to find out how much interest the content a journalist or an influencer is bringing in, and if it is worthwhile. We want people to respond to the content that is going out across all platforms and engage with the messages. Opinions and customer interaction is golden.
Strike the Balance
Variety is the spice of life. That goes for communications, too. We need to find the right balance across earned media (mentions, word-of-mouth), owned media (self-made content) and paid media (AdWords, sponsored posts).
Content Marketing’s evolution brings so many more opportunities to be creative and try out new methods to build up a brand’s owned media.
Whitepapers, infographics and even branded publications are new strategies which brands are trying out. Obviously, different things will work for different brands and audiences, so content marketers need to be happy to try and test multiple ideas.
Focusing on the smaller segments of a market may help in the creation of relevant content. Perhaps a press release for one audience, working with influencers for another, and then self-creation of video content.
Agility is paramount for success as a modern communicator. We need to be responsive to what’s working and what isn’t, and be brave to make changes where needed.
While many plans can be spread out over a longer period, if something needs changing, move quickly to alter it and monitor its success afterwards. This element of agility must always be ready to get into action, not just at a 6-month review.
Do all you can to get in front of your audience in the best and most relevant way.
Every department needs proof of how well their efforts are working. The metrics for PR and Content Marketing, however, aren’t the same. The Content Marketing Institute distinguishes the measurement metrics as “eyeballs versus hands”.
The ability to measure as much of a campaign as possible brings more credibility to the team and their efforts.
For PR, the metrics we want to know are the impressions, reach and mentions. How far has the message gone and who has seen it?
Contrastingly, for Content Marketing there is a whole host of things to measure. The initial stage is noticing the brand communication, the second is to do something about it, the third is trust, and the final stage is to buy. Along the way, some metrics to measure include web traffic, reactions and comments, shares, tags on social media, follows & subscriptions and CRM data.
The Blending of the Two
It is obvious that PR is going to continue to blend with Content Marketing, and they should be able to work together towards the ultimate common goal of trust, respect and dedicated customers. PR manages the reputation in the eyes of the target audience, and Content Marketing transforms it into revenue.
These two are going to be a powerful pair, and although we don’t know what other new technology is around the corner, it is most definitely inspiring.