Marketing directors and VPs are no strangers to hard days.
From balancing content strategy with PR strategy, to acting as liaison between executive leadership and your employees, to finding time to make big-picture plans and calls, it is simultaneously everything you would expect leadership to be and so much more work at the same time.
And then, as if the schedule isn’t packed enough, something goes wrong.
With siloed PR and marketing teams working to push the same brand, the ball is bound to be dropped from time to time. Maybe your PR team has released a statement that completely undermines the ongoing narrative efforts of your marketing team. Perhaps your well-intentioned marketers just launched a campaign that’s caused public dissent at the worst time for your PR team. In either case, it’s likely going to land on you to help address the immediate problem, and then mediate internal differences that lead to the situation in the first place.
Now rinse and repeat a few times a year, and you have an all-too-common formula for interdepartmental stress and constant branding hiccups.
The integrated nature of marketing today necessitates that marketers and communication specialists work closer together than ever before. But the good news? These partnerships, when woven together strategically, not only serve to stave off trouble, but also to improve success.
In the past, marketing and PR have owned a number of discrete responsibilities. Where marketing was primarily proactive, PR shined in responsive scenarios. Where marketing focused on promoting product, PR served as mouthpiece for company leadership. Where marketing spoke the language of promises and offers, PR spoke the language of journalists and public statements.
It only made sense to keep the two apart.
But today, while PR continues to push brand messages into community conversation, public forums, journalistic publications, and the occasional televised apology, marketing has found itself in the middle of an evolution. Advertising has left audiences resistant to inauthentic messages and ham-fisted promotions, encouraging the best marketers to grow into storytellers.
In this, PR and marketing goals have become increasingly similar. Content strategy pushes marketers to engage in longer form, authentic narratives with their audiences, while PR benefits from the tactics and strategies that bring marketing content to people far and wide.
So why is it that brands continue to keep their communications and marketing teams separate from each other?
So you’ve decided to shove your PR and marketing teams into a room together and tell them to work together. You’re sure there’s some overlap between your marketing and PR strategy, you just have to figure out what it is.
In just a short time, your team will likely find these three ways that marketing and PR work together perfectly:
One of the primary difficulties for maintaining a robust content marketing engine is keeping the pipeline filled with good ideas. With a little forethought, PR campaigns and individual messages can provide fertile soil for content marketers to repurpose or tweak narratives in a way that will be most applicable for the ongoing stories they’re already telling their audience. Likewise, the publication and distribution schemes your brand perfects through marketing can later become the perfect framework for disseminating PR messages.
Public relations professionals have to spend a lot of time and money tracking the sentiment of their audiences. Meanwhile, marketers have to constantly test their assumptions about who their audiences are, and whether their stories are hitting them correctly. By combining efforts, PR and marketing teams can gain knowledge from each other that serves their best efforts moving forward. By launching public statements via social, for instance, brands can take advantage of built-in analytics—as well as third-party sentiment and demographic tracking—to gain granular insight into who listens, how they respond, and how best to speak in the future.
Looking to get your content shared, Retweeted, or otherwise mentioned by someone important? While other marketing teams may be paying for influencer support (that ultimately doesn’t really return on the investment), savvy PR campaigns can encourage influencers to participate in mutually beneficial conversations with your brand—on public arenas, of course.
While public relations and marketing will never be exactly the same, the manner by which each accomplishes its mission has become increasingly similar. This is because both PR and marketing deals with the same subject: communicating to people in a way that feels meaningful. Look for ways to get your teams to communicate with each other, combine resources, and focus on a singular narrative, and your brand will go far.
Make sure that all of this is done with the express purpose of trying to understand and communicate authentically with your audience, and you’ll quickly find yourself at your destination: interest, trust, and loyalty.