The battle for attention is not just amongst brands, it’s within brands as well. The PR departments and the marketing departments are chasing the same pool of coveted targets: the influencer.
In order to effectively market your brand, reach the audiences you want to reach and successfully tell your story, the PR and marketing teams must converge to ensure that influencer relations isn’t the only casualty in the war of brand marketing.
From technical SEO to a pure media relations program, managing outreach and approaching those capable of acting as an influencer is at the center of most activities. And by converging at the center of the activities, we can ensure that not only do we have positive relationships, but we have effective ones as well.
Pitch or die
As public relations consultants, our sole KPI is coverage. I’m not out to shift that dogma. But, there is an opportunity to embrace the way we pitch to benefit both our clients as well as the influencers we work with. Approaching influencers for editorial coverage or approaching site owners for link inclusion takes a delicate, yet firm, approach.
We can streamline the process by ensuring that both teams are bringing the appropriate weapons to battle. PR needs to ensure that marketing has the proper messaging and materials to effectively tell the story. Meanwhile, marketing needs to provide PR with the proper URLs, tracking codes and even anchor text to extract maximum value from any editorial opportunity that may arise.
Regardless of how the outreach is done, respecting the time and interests of influencers is crucial. As PR and marketing work to converge, we both must be aware of the changing landscape of what defines editorial coverage.
Public relations has had a proud history of rolling our eyes at paid opportunities. Those weren’t legit opportunities and didn’t count toward our metrics. We must be willing to consider the paid opportunities that are quickly growing in numbers as responses to our outreach. Assessing opportunities based on measurable results such as page views, referral traffics, potential impacts on SEO and ability to generate responses to calls to actions make these opportunities potentially fruitful.
They also offer an opportunity to curate the messaging that unpaid editorial opportunities simply don’t afford. If a paid review for example is offered, consider the potential for benefit before moving on from it. P2P is a reality that we’re going to have to face. Marketing has long had faith in the potential for returns. It’s time for PR to realize the value as well.
By working together, we are able to maximize the benefits of what we each can bring to the table.
Measurement, as always, is key
I mentioned earlier that we live and die by our coverage metrics. If we’re not getting you coverage, then we might as well move on. And that won’t change. But, we must also be aware of the key metrics that matter beyond those that public relations has long-held sacred. PR must be able to contribute into funnel-filling or sales enablement goals, including my secret: Time to close. If PR brings in a better-educated consumer that moves through the sales process faster, we have succeeded.
But marketing is responsible for a host of other goals such as page views, leads and even sales quota. Being aware of those goals and incorporating tactics that lend themselves to accomplishing them makes it easier to qualify a campaign as a success. Converging our efforts makes processes more efficient and the overall program much more effective.
By offering value to our clients as well as the influencers we are trying to reach, we ultimately add value to the most important stakeholder group: the audiences we are trying to reach. Marketing and PR, it’s time to converge and unify our goals, unify our programs and unify our messages.