The PR department is a vital part of any marketing plan. However, friction can occur between the marketing and PR departments when they don’t understand each other’s goals.
As the VP of Marketing of a PR Technology company, I have seen both sides first-hand. Both sides must understand the other’s perspective and goals to achieve true business success. The PR and marketing departments can use each other’s strengths to generate positive sales and press for the company.
Four tips I have found effective in bridging the gap between PR and Marketing.
Remember that PR is not the same as ‘advertising’
A PR professional’s goal is to maintain a company’s public image by integrating it into news cycles. This could be anything from a simple quote in an article to a feature on the business.
This is done by pitching stories to journalists to show why someone from the company could be an excellent resource on a specific topic or why they are a leader within a given industry.
Marketing pros are often frustrated when PR reps fail to write a pitch that promotes the company. Marketers should remember that journalists do not write promotional articles but news stories. PR teams must work within this constraint.
Understanding this, marketers and PR can develop creative angles to allow their company to appear in the news cycle.
Transparency is vital when it comes to metrics
PR professionals’ most significant challenge is convincing their clients or organizations of the value they offer.
It’s nice to be mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and have a TechCrunch profile about your company, but it doesn’t matter if the executives don’t understand how this affects their bottom line. Most PR professionals are not able to provide this kind of data.
Marketing professionals must teach PR personnel to utilize various benchmarks such as Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Marketers can measure the increase in traffic on a website or the number of content downloads. They can even track the number of leads generated. Then, they can correlate these numbers with PR professionals to the date a piece was published to determine the actual financial gain.
Working together, PR teams can provide their clients with actionable metrics that show the impaired impact of the company.
Use the “content alley-oop” approach
The modern audience is moving away from legacy media in droves to alternative sources of information such as blogs and podcasts. These media outlets aren’t interested in boring press releases or company updates; instead, they focus on stories their audience wants to read and hear. These publications, like any other business, need to generate revenue. To do so, they need people to read their articles and listen to their interviews.
Content marketers and Public Relations teams must work together to create owned content to take advantage of this new approach. When a company writes a blog post or a LinkedIn update for its use, it should work with PR to produce a bylined piece or pitch that is thought-provoking for media outlets. The more creative, exciting, and thought-provoking content the team can create together, the better the chances of the piece being covered.
Content marketers can “throw” the article, and PR pros can “slam-dunk” it as an article or podcast.
Customers’ needs are the focus of your pitch
The PR team should always consider the journalist’s needs and only pitch stories with news value. Those teams often ignore or don’t understand the requirements of their customers.
Placement is not just about getting the right people to see the story. A mention in a trade magazine may be more beneficial for a business than a quote in the Washington Post because the organization’s target audience is more likely to read the trade journal.
Communication is essential. Marketing teams should communicate clearly with PR teams where they want to be published. This is because the right people must know their company to generate the best leads. Don’t be afraid to give PR professionals a list of publications you want to appear in. This can help to focus PR efforts and provide the PR team with a better understanding of the success criteria for the company.