Demand for PR is at an all-time high – but lonely thinking persists in the industry.
By failing to align marketing strategies like SEO and social media, PR campaigns dangerously lose better results, says David White, director of content marketing at connective3.
Over the past two years, demand for digital PR and PR services has exploded, with recent statistics from the Content Marketing Institute reporting that 46% of businesses want to spend more on content creation in 2022.
As someone who has successfully built a global PR team over the past couple of years, I can say with certainty that the demand for PR services – specifically digital PR and link building for SEO – is high all the time.
There are many reasons why this might happen, but I’d risk guessing that the pandemic (and consequent increase in investment from online businesses) is behind the trend.
The challenge companies now face isn’t managing PR or not – it’s how to make the PR they run work harder, and get more results.
As an industry, we often treat PR and digital PR as a separate entity, which makes it silo apart from other disciplines like paid, social media, content and SEO.
This lack of collaboration with other marketing disciplines causes most PR campaigns to miss opportunities.
In a world that is now more connected than ever before, we, as marketers, need to make sure that the content we produce for PR can work harder, and deliver more results across more platforms.
But the question is how? How do we make our PR content work across more channels? How do we make our PR content reach a wider audience? And ultimately, how do we make our PR content achieve better results?
There are some common missed opportunities I can see when analyzing PR campaigns across the web – with collaboration, they can easily be modified to produce results.
A recent experiment in connective3 found that starting the customer journey with PR content rather than sales letters significantly increased the performance of subsequent sales ads.
By creating an audience pool in Google Analytics on a PR campaign page, it is possible to retarget anyone who deals with PR content with native ads.
In our experience, this lowered our CPA by 33%, showing a huge opportunity for marketers looking to convert PR content into leads and sales — all driven by collaboration.
The data that can be obtained from social media via social listening can not only be the difference between the success and failure of a campaign, but it can also ensure that it works across editorial, on-site and social media to get you on top of the right people and at the right time!
Social listening allows you to enter a brand, topic, or social indicator to see how people interact with that term or profile on social media. It unlocks a wealth of data such as what similar topics the audience engages with, the influencers they follow, where they “hang out” online and their likes and dislikes.
This data can be used to create a relevant PR campaign that brings the brand directly to the feeds of the people you target. This data also allows you to create social assets for relevant social channels to improve your social media metrics while also providing off-site PR.
Digital PR is the acquisition of backlinks gained from external sites that point to your domain. It’s one of the biggest offsite ranking factors that search engines use when deciding where a brand should rank for keywords in its search.
When running PR, always try to include an engagement strategy. Create a campaign page on the site that journalists can link to. Make sure the press release you write covers campaign information while also helping readers learn more from your on-site copy.
Many PR campaigns that have huge potential simply miss out on the lack of an engagement strategy. Those who include it in their campaign planning can support the visibility of their website, and thus the traffic it gets.
On the other hand, those who have already thought about a link strategy need to ensure that the equity from the earned links is beneficial to their main product or service pages. SEO landscape checks show which areas of the site may need more attention from a link building perspective – tools like Sistrix, Ahrefs, and search metrics are a great starting point.
The on-site content strategy implemented by many brands can also be used as a digital PR asset.
This is a proactive PR tactic that can ensure that the content produced for the blog can work harder and drive backlinks, traffic, and SEO performance.
I’ve seen hundreds of brands create content that I know could easily be picked up by the media if simply turned into a press release.
Make sure you have a PR professional in the room when analyzing your performance on site. A brand that does this will be able to take the existing assets and make them work even harder to achieve results.
When this tactic is supplemented with other PR activities, it not only means that brands get more media capture, but they also drive links that are more relevant to their scope.
These are examples only. In fact, there are hundreds of ways PR and digital PR campaigns can collaborate with other marketing disciplines to achieve better performance.
As marketers, we now need to make sure that the content we produce for PR is working harder than ever. Those who fail to do so will be left behind as the competition and the agencies that support these brands get smarter in the way they operate.
By connecting the marketing disciplines, brands will experience real growth across multiple platforms, numbers that directly impact their bottom line.