Irrelevant PR is dying. In its place is rising a new, outcomes-driven model built on accountability to measurable, real world results.
As the structure of traditional PR comes down, so too do the walls that have historically separated PR and marketing teams. No longer are the two groups siloed, one working to promote specific products and services while the other focuses on improving the reputation of the business as a whole. Together, they’re working toward a unified communications strategy.
Almost half of PR professionals and more than 60 percent of marketing executives believe that their two disciplines will become more closely aligned in the next five years, according to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
If your business isn’t aligning PR and marketing, it’s more than just an efficiency issue. You’re missing out on a critical step in connecting your communications strategy to your core business outcomes.
Here are four reasons why PR and marketing should be aligned:
1. Marketing amplifies earned coverage
The new model of PR—what N6A calls Outcome Relations—is built to deliver tangible business outcomes, like completing a capital raise or hitting a sales benchmark. The PR team works to secure earned media results that support that outcome.
But the work isn’t over once that big company feature is published in Forbes. This is where the marketing team can provide the critical step in connecting earned coverage to measurable outcomes: amplification.
Maybe they pull a quote from the feature and create a branded graphic to publish on Instagram; maybe they create a paid LinkedIn campaign targeting new leads; or maybe they share the article in an email campaign to your existing clients.
Once the PR team has earned that big media piece, the marketing team ensures the right people see it.
2. PR can increase your search visibility
Marketing teams spend a lot of time working to increase the search visibility of their brand’s website, be it bidding on search terms as part of an SEM plan or optimizing organic content to increase rankings.
Effective PR teams can play a key role in that strategy by generating organic search traffic and backlinks.
Being featured in a major publisher will naturally create more search traffic as readers seek out additional information about the featured company. If your business is mentioned in an article from The Wall Street Journal, you can bet you’ll see a significant spike in organic search traffic.
Some publishers may also include backlinks, or links from other websites to your own website, in their coverage. These backlinks are considered by Google and other search engines to be votes of confidence for your site. If a credible publisher is linking to your site, Google figures, it must be pretty credible as well. Up goes your search ranking.
If the PR team is aligned on the key search terms your business is trying to rank for, they can pitch to relevant and credible publishers to drive increased visibility.
3. Joint news monitoring can benefit PR and marketing teams
PR pros spend a considerable amount of time monitoring media coverage for opportunities for newsjacking, or leveraging a major news story to draw attention to their own brand. Content marketing teams, meanwhile, are constantly monitoring social media feeds looking for relevant news and conversations the brand can engage with.
When PR and marketing teams coordinate, this news monitoring system becomes more efficient.
Let’s say a PR team working on behalf of a cyber security client comes across a story about the data breach of a high-profile company. In addition to pitching publishers on a byline from the cyber security brand’s CEO, the PR team flags the news to the marketing team, who publishes the original article on LinkedIn along with a few insightful tips for avoiding security breaches.
The well-timed social post could drive significant visibility and help establish the brand as an authority in their industry... all because the PR team was quick to flag the news.
4. PR can boost marketing campaigns
Designing a marketing campaign to increase lead gen or hit a sales goal? Think about how PR can support the effort. A byline or feature in a relevant publication can drive people to your site, then funnel them into the campaign.
Let’s say you’re an automated CX brand who’s just published a lead gen campaign built around a PDF download. In addition to budgeting for Google Ads and designing a social media blitz, you pulled your PR team in to support. They’ve been busy pitching and landed a CEO byline with a major publisher, which publishes the day you launch your lead gen campaign. That byline drives a ton of qualified readers to your website, where they’re met with a pop-up offering the PDF resource in exchange for their email.
By bringing the PR team into the campaign design early and aligning timelines to create a cohesive campaign, you can significantly expand your reach.
None of these things are possible if your PR and marketing teams are sitting in separate departments—or separate agencies—with little to no communication. Aligning the two disciplines from initial outcome development all the way through messaging and campaign deployment is key to optimizing ROI.
If your PR and marketing teams aren’t working together to drive business outcomes, you’re not getting the most out of either.
Posted by Jeff Gray