It’s no surprise that online PR resembles marketing in the digital sphere so much. Often, the efforts of the two converge via marketing campaigns designed to help with public relations goals. This is especially true where social media is concerned, but it is not the only time PR professionals can benefit from approaches pioneered by the online marketing industry.
While PR is a unique and distinct field, it is still a communications field, and so it can learn a lot from marketing teams and their efforts. Whether you are planning a joint effort or putting together your own communication strategy, there are a few key ways to bring your company’s existing marketing efforts to bear on PR goals.
1. Analytics, insights, and data collection
PR measures its success by the change in public opinion or overall effect on the organization’s reputation, and there is no more concentrated pool of data on your customer base’s preferences, response to your business, and demographic values than your digital marketing data collection. Whether you are using platform insights from a social media giant or collecting conversion information and engagement statistics on your own accounts and websites, you have everything you need to know to analyze trends in public opinion over time from your existing marketing campaigns.
2. Narrative control and content creation
Developing a narrative that directs the reader’s attention to key details and relevant efforts by the company to engage with the community and planet responsibly is a common goal between marketing and PR already, and the tools used to develop digital content that crafts this narrative are pretty much the same between roles. In fact, this is one area where marketing and PR often work together on the same projects because the toolsets and goals overlap so much. If you have yet to see how online content creation serves as a potent way of taking control over the narrative around a topic, you should talk to your marketing team about their efforts.
3. Direct public engagement online
Your marketing team has probably already put a lot of effort into not just a brand voice, but an entire online personality and presence. If this is still in the formative stages, there is no better time to get onboard. If it is already up and running as a core part of your online engagement and marketing, then it is the time to make it work for your PR efforts. Two-way communication with customers can be thorny, but when you engage online you have the opportunity to change opinions in real time, with results you can see unfolding in front of you.
Properly leveraged, these engagements can go much further than just customer relations with the person in quest. They can also spread virally, showing an entire third-party audience that your team puts the work in to make sure customers get taken care of, if you know how to make that spread happen. Your marketing team knows.
Key differences between marketing and digital PR
While you can learn a lot from your company’s marketing team and you can do a lot together, it is also important to keep in mind that there are important differences between PR and marketing. You do not share the same goals, and getting your role mixed up with that of the marketing team can muddy the water in those cases where there might be a conflict of interest. The last thing you want is to have conflict with marketing over the company’s reputation, and that can happen if you do not keep both parties’ goals in mind when you work together. That way, you can cooperate effectively and make the most of all your digital tools.