Think your marketing plan is complete? Think again.
An integrated PR effort is key to building your business
Your business has just launched a multi-pronged marketing campaign: backed by thorough research, aimed at the right verticals and tested and refined, it’s a sure-fire winner. But have you forgotten to include a key element? If an integrated Public Relations (PR) effort isn’t part of the plan, there’s a good chance you have.
PR being left out of the marketing strategy is unfortunately something that still happens too often. There are numerous reasons why this might be: tighter budgets, a general lack of understanding between the two disciplines, and even PR’s longtime aversion to being connected to anything “sales-y” that might turn off some of their media connections. The simple fact is that it’s no longer an option to keep these functions siloed if you want to execute a successful integrated marketing plan for your business.
Both PR and marketing teams can learn from one another when developing an integrated campaign, making it smarter and more successful.
The Value PR Brings
A dedicated public relations program as part of an integrated marketing plan can enable a brand to reach millions of consumers through mass media, often with its key messages and value proposition.
Whether your business is a startup or a Fortune 500 company, the “earned media” from PR tells the story of your brand and helps validate it with consumers. A 2014 Nielsen study revealed that PR plays a crucial role in a brand’s credibility with consumers during their decision-making process. Living in an era of audience segmentation, where large swaths of the American public are difficult to reach via traditional advertising methods, media coverage creates new avenues to connect with potential customers who might not be exposed to your brand otherwise.
Don’t forget the boost that PR can provide for your visibility, search and content efforts, as well. Media coverage achieved via PR generates third-party content for you to leverage across multiple channels and for a number of purposes: social posts, website content, sales materials and yes, even in traditional advertising executions. Unlike an ad that might scroll off a site after a few weeks or a mailer that might go in the recycling bin, PR placements can live on for months, even years, elevating your brand and its searchability online.
Also important to keep in mind is that the media will continue to do their job with or without you—in other words, there’s a good chance your competitors are taking both their own and your share of media coverage.
PR Makes Your Marketing Stronger – and Smarter
By having your PR team at the table your marketing program can benefit by making your story stronger and more critically sound. Here’s how:
- PR pros help refine your messaging and ensure consistency. They’re used to helping brands speak with a unified voice to reach a tough audience known for asking difficult questions—the media. That perspective helps fill gaps in your message and build a stronger foundation for all of your marketing efforts.
- PR practitioners can often see an opportunity that others might miss. They are experts at finding multiple angles within a story to appeal to a number of different audiences. Your PR team might find an unexpected detail that would catch the eye of a key journalist, or spot an overlooked trend that can garner coverage or recognition.
- Enlisting PR can also help avoid unforeseen pitfalls. PR pros take apart each storyline to find both the best and worst-case scenarios, as they are trained to prevent negative publicity in addition to generating positive press. Occasionally the creative or marketing team might be too close to recognize a potential controversy brewing in a campaign, but a quick review through the critical eye of a PR pro can help keep your brand off the lists of marketing and branding campaigns gone wrong.
While each campaign and company are different, giving your PR team even a modest role in your integrated marketing effort will pay big dividends for years to come, helping a brand to reach new audiences and protect it from unnecessary setbacks.
Lisa Alcorn, Nick Herff and Shawn Malayter are the PR team at Greenhouse Partners, a Boulder-based brand strategy and communications firm. The team has more than 35 years of combined experience in public relations and corporate communications for a wide variety of clients, from startups to global public companies, as well as major universities and non-profit organizations. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.