Once thought of as a fluffy, nice to have offering, Public relations in the digital arena, is rapidly becoming a necessary, if not vital part of marketing efforts. In keeping with this trend, digital agencies are actively engaging PR specialists to ensure that the brand message is delivered via a holistic approach ensuring all-important messaging synergy, a three-sixty degree approach if you will. One only has to reflect on the recent debacles, evidence by KPMG, Momentum and Woolworths, to realise that digital efforts were not enough, and a well-thought out PR strategy needed to have been engaged.
With public relations key to helping a business remain reputable in their given industry, and digital marketing assisting businesses in driving customer retention in online space, the integration of the two spheres bring about a monumental change in the way marketing campaigns are executed. That is not to say that all other areas of consumer touch points should be ignored. Rather that they should all work together to deliver seamless, integrated messaging. Which ultimately ensure campaigns continue to yield to quantifiable return on investment.
With this said, we examine how public relations and digital marketing are complimentary to each other.
- Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is the practice of businesses using prominent individuals that speak to and are engaged with, their identified target audience. Influencers are persuaded to comment favourably on a product or service and communicate this to their followers in their own tonality and language. This method is primarily employed for online purposes such as social media, however, this message is further conveyed by using public relation tactics such as influencer event appearances offering customers the opportunity to not only engage with influencers but to actively interact with the brand.
- Content marketing
Content marketing can best be described as a business’ marketing methodology aimed at establishing relationships with their customers through targeted messaging. As an example: a leading food brand will deliver content that encompasses health tips and recipe ideas to pithy weight-loss memes. This messaging will be underpinned by tactical public relations strategies such as the opportunity to win an evening with a celebrity chef once more directing engagement with the brand and what it embodies. The brand essence so to speak.
- Social media
A rising trend on social media sites such as Twitter, is the prevalence of consumer commentary on businesses in their tweets. Once the sole ambit of HelloPeter, social media has become a free-for-all with many businesses caught off guard. Whilst brands do attempt to engage with consumers when they are targeted via social media platforms, very often this is a hit-and-miss scenario. It is here, that public relations and digital marketing need to work hand-in-hand to ensure that any mention is tackled head on and where transparency with consumers is key. Where all messaging, both in the online and public relations sphere is unified. Once again, let’s use the Woolworths “Baby Carrier” fracas as an example. A lack of HONEST engagement online, and a fragmented public relations approach, led to Woolworths suffering inestimable reputation damage.
- Affiliate marketing
Involving the practice of motivating influential bloggers and online journalists to write about the services and products that a business offers, this exposes regular readers of the blog to identified products and encourages them to visit the brands website, in order for the potential lead to become a loyal and engaged client. For every client that the blogger refers to the business, the blogger is paid an agreed-to fee. This is a digital marketing PR strategy which is used by many service providers to create traffic on their websites.
- Publication of online articles
Articles are promoted by backlinks, when certain, often unrelated businesses write articles about a particular topic that include a link from your website as a means of referral; the sources mentioned act as a backlinks for those companies. Ultimately, only when the brand or business has developed a positive reputation, are online writers more likely to insert a link to your website for referencing purposes. This is an indirect PR strategy, as any mention that is made is unsolicited, further enhancing a brands standing.
The idea of the alignment of public relations and digital strategies is fast gaining uptake by companies who realise the intrinsic value of a synergistic approach to speaking with, and not to their audience. It is with this in mind, that we, at ATKASA, effectively make use of both disciplines to ensure seamless and singular messaging with a brands’ consumer base. We would love to meet with you, to demonstrate how we can take your brand to the next level, and beyond. Please email us on email@example.com or call us on 011 024 3847.