You know what sales and PR experts have in common? Relationships.
Since their goals and methods vary, both sides may never agree, but there’ll be no headway if they lack strategic relationships.
Think about it. A transaction can only happen when there’s a buyer-seller relationship, right? In the same vein, PR leverages its relationship with the media and other businesses to increase its publicity, generating leads that convert.
If you haven’t noticed, this “relationship” doesn’t just happen. There’s a process to it. That’s why marketers and PRs go on campaigns to generate leads and nurture them into a relationship. When done effectively, your business reaps the results in positive brand awareness and sales.
That said, how do you turn the traditional sales funnel into a PR marketing funnel?
Ahead, we’ll discuss how to create an effective PR marketing funnel and strategically place your resources in a position that gets the media (and the public) to notice you. Let’s dive in.
What is a PR marketing funnel?
A PR marketing funnel is a visual tool that identifies the various stages involved in an organization’s media journey, from the awareness stage to the publicity stage.
Usually, public relations experts use PR tactics to drive high-quality press leads into this funnel.
Compared to other “lead-cultivating” campaigns like guest posting, a PR campaign focuses on creating newsworthy content that journalists will want to publish. Hence, driving editorial-value links from their press sources to your website without incurring traditional advertising expenses.
PR sits at the top in a marketing funnel, as you can see from the image above. However, this does not encapsulate the impact PR has on the customer’s journey. PR experts use various media assets to influence customers along the marketing funnel touchpoints.
As a result, your business gains a substantial competitive advantage over competitors in a relatively short time than you would through solo marketing and advertising campaigns.
Nevertheless, when it comes to making PR work for you, you’ll need a ton of resources and a strategy. The strategy must have a “hook” to be effective.
Here’s what you do:
- First, you build your content around the “hook.”
- Then, you strategically sell this hook and the content to the media
- This action drives positive awareness and sales to your business for the long term.
That’s the long and short of it.
These tactics might seem like a lot to take in now. But, not to worry, if you read on, we’ll walk you through defining your goals, gathering PR assets, and creating a PR page for your marketing funnel below.
Creating a PR marketing funnel
Ninety percent of businesses hire public relations experts to handle their brand’s external communications. However, that’s not the only reason why.
Depending on circumstances, businesses hire a PR to publish corporate news and press releases about their brand, social media promotion, or even damage control. The list is not exhaustive, but you get the gist.
Again, the digital marketing sphere is evolving at a rapid pace. Traditional PR duties now overlap with SEOs, sales, and email marketing experts—all in the bid to make the business a success. Nevertheless, you’ll need these steps to develop a marketing funnel for your next PR campaign as your business grows.
Define your goals
As it is with other marketing campaigns, you must have goals and objectives in mind before you launch a PR campaign. The outcome is the goal your PR marketing funnel must help achieve. Do you want to increase sales? Generate leads, or repudiate a negative story already in circulation?
Once you have an exact idea of what your brand needs at the moment, hatch a plan. Of course, you can achieve multiple results one way or another when your PR campaign is successful. But, specific goals help you evaluate your success better.
Your PR goals must be SMART; Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic and Time-bound.
These goals help you measure its impact on a customer’s journey in the marketing funnel and evaluate success based on it.
SEO link building
PR is the most effective way to earn backlinks without compromising on quality. And the only way to do this is to identify and target the right market using PR.
If, for instance, your goal was to drive awareness for your company’s new gaming accessory—say, a headset—you’re better off marketing to gamers, yes? On the flip side, if you target bookworms, your campaign will flop.
Knowing your target market helps you streamline the PR process to the media platform your audience prefers and adjust tactics.
The concept is simple. Journalists and news bloggers only publish newsworthy content; give them that, and get their attention with a hook. It’ll generate links and send down “quality SEO juice” when the press links to your PR page.
Contact information acquisition
Hurray, you have a target market and a hook. Now is the time to curate opportunities and acquire media assets to disperse your message to the public. Depending on the PR tactic and media platform, these opportunities may include:
- Editor pitches
- Press releases or corporate articles
- Interviews, media tours, or press conferences
- Exclusive podcast appearance
- Event sponsorships, etc
Be sure to establish relationships with already acquired contacts by reaching out the moment you can. Explore other opportunities too by attending networking events or using HARO outlets.
As you research opportunities, you’ll gather market intelligence. This’ll allow you to determine how your story fits into industry trends while being beneficial to the campaign that’ll generate leads for your marketing funnel.
After making the preliminary arrangements, you’re ready to launch a PR campaign to fill your marketing funnel.
How to create your PR page (with examples)
Integrating PR into your marketing and sales efforts accelerates leads’ response times and conversion rates inside the marketing funnel. But many companies are unsure how to do this, losing out on the benefits.
A PR page is an excellent way to throw PR into the equation to building your marketing funnel. Creating a PR page gives you access to high-quality backlinks that your competition can’t clone through other backlinking strategies, thus giving you a competitive advantage.
Tip: Craft your press releases like a story and use your hook as the headline.
To do this, publish your PR content on an individual landing page and have the press link to it. It’s that simple. However, you must have a creative hook to your story and weave it around the hook to wheel the media in.
Here’s an exceptional example from Game, driving traffic to their gaming chair page right before Christmas.
As you can see, multiple news outlets linked to The Game Christmas Tinner; one outlet even linked to their gaming chair page.
Now, here’s why this campaign is brilliant.
Ordinarily, ranking for gaming chairs at Christmas is an arduous task. But, Game developed a creative hook. Then, they wove newsworthy content around their three-course Christmas tinner for vegan gamers, embedded a link to their gaming chair page, and published it on their PR page.
And boom! Here was the result:
Although not noticeable at face value, Game’s PR page was crucial for the campaign’s success. By consolidating their marketing efforts into an individual landing page, they can direct the authoritative traffic coming from the press.
Plus, generate the highest quality leads for their product—gaming chairs, which was the campaign’s point after all. The campaign allowed Game to rank for this keyword in time for Christmas.
A marketing funnel can benefit immensely from PR campaigns. A successful PR campaign boils down to a few essential factors: having a SMART goal and a strategy to bring it to reality.
Since your target audience are potential funnel leads, you must pay great attention to how they consume information. That way, you can determine what PR tactic to use and what type of content to put out. Then, be creative with your hook and content and set it up on a PR page to generate or capture leads.
The PR page can be an effective way to organize the resources you’d like to share with journalists, as well as build a list of journalists that would be interested in similar stories.