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How PR and Digital Marketing Work Together

By Carey Warren

There’s no getting around it — digital marketing is the only way to predictably reach practically every audience you need to, short of toddlers, babies in cribs and the dead.

However, it’s not all roses.

More and more brands are noticing quantitative advertising (meaning the concentration on total audience size) isn’t working as well as it used to. Brands are finding consumers are checking out of watching campaigns, not clicking on pop-up ads, not liking intrusive forms of mobile advertising, and not responding to what was previously a great strategy — focusing on total audience. In addition, some creative executions are not even optimized to fit on a mobile device.

Now, I’m not saying digital marketing is useless. In fact, it’s anything but.

What I am saying is that digital marketing works better when PR is integrated with it. PR and the earned media universe dovetail naturally with digital marketing. It gives the stories we secure additional life, while adding increased positioning and integration when combined with the content we generate on the marketing side. Social media, mobile media, all combine perfectly with it. In addition, PR is a force multiplier when it comes to advertising. PR efforts brand your product or service more effectively in the consumer’s mind than a huge advertising buy was blown on a new brand that has not established any share of mind.

Plus, there are lots of other capabilities that digital marketing has when combined with PR:

  • We can easily disseminate the content we create for our clients without waiting for a media outlet to pick it up, and create the trend that makes them want to.
  • We can broaden the reach of coverage we do get to the prospects, influencers and other parties that matter to the clients we have.
  • When we do enhance that reach, we know who read it, where it went, how much time they spent reading it, if they passed it to someone else, and whether or not they took action on it.
  • We can find the IP address of an anonymous site visitor, track them, and ask them why they left without registering.
  • Digital marketing software can analyze any PR campaign, showing unique mentions, social media trending, email mentions, and calculate an overall share of voice within a particular market segment. Because of this, PR practitioners can show the unique value of earned media, and its worth to any entity.

Obviously, this heads into “paid” media territory, which includes paid search, Facebook ads, email marketing, and other methods. But the key is integrating the public relations efforts first before creating any digital advertising campaign.

After all — advertising is telling someone you’re great. Public relations is getting someone else to say it. Which do you think is more powerful?