As you begin pulling together a comprehensive marketing plan and budget for the coming year, one of the most important considerations is to thoughtfully align your marketing and PR strategies. These two efforts need to work in unison to amplify your company’s messaging, support your brand and drive measurable results. Here’s how:
Is lead generation your top priority? Are you gearing up for a new round of funding? Are you expanding into a new vertical market? Once you plan the goals and metrics of the program, communicate them with the broader marketing and PR teams. This will help the PR team devise a plan that appropriately targets your key audience and supports these larger goals. For example, PR outreach might need to focus on specific verticals one quarter to support lead generation, while pivoting in later quarters to drive awareness of new products or support sales teams regionally.
Define your audience
You’ve no doubt developed buyer personas for your lead generation and content marketing efforts, and it’s important to keep these audiences in mind for PR efforts, too. This will help define the right mix of media targets and tone of content generation and other paid campaigns; putting the right message in front of the right audience at the right time.
Once your audiences are defined, the messaging for each persona need to be customized – this is true for all segments of your marketing program, including PR. One size does not fit all. The investor audience is more interested in company performance, while prospects want to understand how your product or service helps to build their business faster, cheaper or more efficiently. It’s critical that PR messaging reflects the overall company tone. How to achieve? Create a messaging profile for each audience and prep spokespeople to communicate the best message for each situation.
Understand the Data
Use Google Analytics in addition to CRM data to understand customer and prospect behavior, and define a clear roadmap of how people are interacting with different assets on your website.
For many clients, the data shows that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to media placements. While coverage in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal is always a tremendous asset to brand building, it doesn’t always help achieve other goals you’ve defined for the year. For example, if lead generation in specific vertical markets is a top priority, the data might show that media coverage in small but targeted trade publications drive the highest percentage of qualified leads.
Develop Integrated Campaigns
Once all the above pieces are established it will be easy to create integrated campaigns that further drive goals. Once messaging and target audiences are defined, PR efforts can be used to support lead generation and paid campaigns. For example, data from an industry or consumer survey can be used initially to secure media coverage, and later repurposed for content marketing such as blog posts and e-books, social programs, email campaigns and paid lead generation and advertising efforts.
With a little advanced planning, a fully integrated and goal-oriented marketing and PR program is achievable for companies of all sizes.