Public relations (PR) is all about creating and developing an affinity for your brand. Just as individuals can make connections and build friendships, there is huge potential for brands too. Different media platforms have made it especially easy and accessible for anyone, creating huge opportunities for engagement and building customer relationships. However, not all brands use it to its full potential. Communications and PR need to work together, using the right media outlets and types of content, to generate great results.
We’ve picked out some key features of what it means to run successful content marketing and PR campaigns.
Become Content with PR
Content and PR are “two sides of the same coin”. Content marketing is storytelling. It is all about creating a shareable experience whether it’s through social media, blogs, white papers, videos among many more. As more customers and businesses take up online presence, brands without an active profile across these 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. The Search Engine Journal has recently put together 7 biggest social media sites where you can find more details about each of them. It makes perfect sense for PR to integrate with marketing and social media, not to stand alone. PR should be a cross-platform job.
Take a look at how the most popular social media networks have changed over the past 10 years and why it's important to stay on top of these trends.
With this in mind, let’s see how we can make the best of our communications, bringing PR and content marketing together to help us through the marketing process.
Speak the same language as your customers
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 resonate with the audience. Think bloggers and influencers or Twitter vs Instagram. What matters to your target market? Where do they go to find information and who 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.
For example, Instagram is more suited to B2C brands with tangible products that their customers can easily purchase while browsing the platform. Instagram has added a shop button which makes it much easier. Whereas LinkedIn is best for B2B brands, as it’s targeted at professionals who share content about work, rather than make up tips (although there’s always a few of those). However, quite a few B2B brands are smashing it across all social media platforms and producing amazing content. Just head over to General Electric’s Instagram to see how they do it.
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 offers so many opportunities to be creative and try out new methods to build up a brand’s owned media. Whitepapers, infographics and even branded publications are proven strategies for many businesses, allowing them to share their expertise and add value to their customers. Obviously, different things will work for different brands and audiences, so content marketers need 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 video content for something else. We’ve all seen content that has gone viral and been shared across numerous publications, but there are thousands that don’t make it, so the story really needs to be compelling for journalists and public to share it.
The good thing about publishing content on different platforms is that it works towards building your SEO as well. Websites with higher credibility (in Google’s eyes) will boost your rankings and give your website a better authority as a publisher, which in turn will make your site rank higher for specific keywords.
Agility is paramount for success for great PR. We need to be responsive to what works and what doesn’t, and 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.
If your latest article didn’t go viral, there’s no reason to drop it completely. Review what didn’t work (was the story not relevant to the publication? was the angle wrong? or could you just change the title to be more sensational?), speak to those that you’re sharing it with for more feedback, change or adapt it and try again at another time (timing is often key).
Do all you can to get in front of your audience in the best and most relevant way.
Marketers need to know how well their efforts are working to compare their campaigns and adapt for any future work. 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?
For content marketing, there is a whole host of things to measure and it can take time to generate visible results. 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.
How well PR and content marketing work can be hard to measure if you’re B2B. However, they can be measured by your overall sales or leads - how your customers find you, what they enquire about and if they come to you for specific services that you’ve been talking about for the past year. Not seeing instant results shouldn’t put you off as it takes time to reach customers and it’s worth working on content that would always remind about what you do.
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.
If you want to find out more about how we can help you with content marketing and PR, get in touch with us below.