Is There Room for Public Relations in Your Marketing Strategy?
A question I’m often asked as a Public Relations professional is, “What’s the difference between PR and marketing?” The answer is simple: not much.
Public Relations Defined
Public Relations is the practice of monitoring and distributing the flow of information from an individual or company to its targeted audiences or the public, through strategic media relations efforts, event planning, crisis communication and news distribution (typically in the form of press releases). Ultimately, the end goal of any public relations strategy mirrors the end goal of any marketing strategy: break through the clutter and noise of millions of other brands that are all trying to stand out in an overcrowded arena and snag the attention of your target audience. The best way to accomplish that goal is not to view marketing and PR as mutually exclusive; instead, successful marketers will see them as two completely collaborative strategies.
So…What Does It Mean?
Let’s put this into context. I once had a college professor tell me to think of marketing as an umbrella that encompasses all communications/creative fields (PR, advertising, social media, website content development, branding, SEO, etc). While each individual category can technically stand alone, the overall marketing strategy is much stronger when everything fits together under the umbrella.
When establishing the perfect marketing strategy for your company, it’s easy to focus your efforts on one area of the umbrella, like website content, branding or SEO. While all of these aspects of the strategy are vital, the truth is that any truly comprehensive marketing plan will incorporate some form of communications strategy as well. After all, what’s the point of having a great brand if no one knows about it?
Making Public Relations a Priority
Before we discuss making PR a priority, we first need to establish that PR is not advertising. In Public Relations, information is not packaged neatly and placed in a purchased section of the local newspaper. Instead, it’s a publicist’s job to alert the media to relevant stories, events or announcements from clients. From there, the journalist decides what information gets published.
The reason this information is important, and why companies should make PR a priority, is that every media placement that is generated through PR efforts is organic, free and deemed newsworthy by an unbiased third party – meaning, your target audience is more likely to pay attention to your latest announcement when it has been written or presented by a journalist in their favorite paper, magazine, blog or TV program.
If you’re looking for a way to make your brand a part of the conversation that is happening in your industry, PR should be a priority for your organization.
Summing It Up
It’s universally understood that managing a marketing strategy (and the budget attached to it) is a somewhat challenging task; however, PR shouldn’t be viewed as an “added benefit” or extra cost when it comes to marketing. Instead, having a PR strategy in place that is complimentary to your overarching marketing goals is an important tactic for finding and winning new customers, as well as keeping current customers.
In the end, the story of your brand deserves to be told.
Newspaper Vending Machines by Flickr User Mattermatters