There’s a constant power struggle between marketing and public relations. Are they the same? Are they both necessary?
As a public relations graduate working in a marketing world, I can attest that no, they are not same and yes, they are both definitely necessary. I think that the best explanation for the two industries can be explained by their core definitions.
A 25-word definition of marketing from the American Marketing Association says marketing is “the activity, set of instructions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Marketing does in fact create mutually beneficial relationships. Marketing professionals help their clients to create relationships with their customers and in turn, the client success makes the marketing firm more prestigious.
“Mutually beneficial relationships” is a phrase that pounded through my head during my whole college career. It’s a phrase I used in every job interview and a phrase I apply in my current marketing position.
Now, here’s five PR secrets that marketers should steal to improve their mutually beneficial relationships.
1. Become best friends with journalists
At the core, journalist and media outreach is purely a PR duty. When creating content, marketers need to know the values of journalists. Why? Journalists are going to be the ones using your eBook in their articles, pushing your infographic on their social sites, etc. Optimizing your content for consumers AND journalists is one of the smartest PR moves.
Just as marketers spend time segmenting customer data to create customer profiles, they also need to spend time on search engines to find out where journalists are looking for content. Understanding a journalist’s motives and search habits will shoot organic traffic through the roof.
As Murray Newlands advises, don’t relentlessly use journalists. If they pick up a piece of your content, recognize it! Thank them on social media, and return the favor by mentioning them in future content.
2. Become a social media stalker
A marketing vs. PR duty that’s always blurry is social media. While I believe social media management falls under a PR professional’s skill set and job description, marketers need to know how to utilize this powerful tool.
PR professionals build their brand and help their reputation by engaging in online conversation. Marketers need to build their online persona by searching relevant industry news and chiming into the conversation with advice, interesting articles and solutions. A strong social media presence is key when promoting marketing created content.
3. Become a storyteller
There needs to be a differentiation between “storytelling” and “spin.” While PR gurus are spin doctors, marketers need to pay more attention to their storytelling capability. Don’t be alarmed – storytelling is not fabricating news and making up background information. Storytelling is giving an emotional aspect to a campaign, content or product.
Lee Oden said it best when he said “people make decisions based on emotion but justify them with logic.” This is an elaborated version of “facts tell, stories sell.” Marketers need to use storytelling to target a specific audience’s values. Incorporate key messaging into the story, and customers will be more open to what’s in front of them. Storytelling gives a clear competitive advantage for building social relationships.
4. Become familiar with influencer outreach
Influencer outreach is not to be confused with journalist outreach. One thing that PR professionals are experts at is networking. PR guru’s are constantly reaching out and engaging with influencers.
Marketers need to find the influencers in their relevant industry. A strong relationship with those influencers can churn out quality content. Whether it be a quote or two in an eBook, a guest blog or a co-author on content, using influencers will make content more relevant and shareable. Marketers need to be constantly learning from the industry influencers to create the best content possible.
5. Become intuitive with consumer behavior
Something that was always reinforced in my public relations curriculum was “change the customer’s behavior.” To know customer behavior, PR professionals become obsessive stalkers. This isn’t creepy, but rather strategic. Knowing what a consumer values is key when creating campaigns.
For marketers, knowing your consumer is key to being relevant. But, marketers need to know more than just behavior. They need to know what influences them and their buying journey. This can be done through creating buyer personas and customer journey mapping. While some obsessive stalking is required, the payoff is worth it.
So, take a hint from the Olivia Popes and Samantha Jones of the world, and see your marketing skills wow everyone.
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