The goal of any marketing, PR or social media campaign is to expand your reach, promote your brand and continue to lead your buyer personas down the path to purchase. However, as social media channels and the digital ecosystem have evolved, measuring success has become increasingly challenging. Now, more than ever, marketing, PR and social media can’t evolve without an integrated growth strategy. The first step in any successful campaign is knowing your ideal audience and creating meaningful content to engage with them.
PR has always been dependent upon building strong relationships with media outlets and influencers. Influencer relations is about accomplishing mutual goals and providing value to one another while igniting conversations with your target audience and advocates. By developing these relationships, co-creation can begin and discussions can revolve around the pain points of your customer and how to solve them — effectively building trust along this journey.
PR, by its nature, has been known for effectively fostering relationships with the media, which is why it only makes sense for influencer and media relations to evolve and co-exist. Integration of PR and social media will become even more critical as influencer marketing increases in importance. “Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing” in a Tomoson poll of marketing professionals.
In a recent conversation with Ted Rubin, we discussed the importance of customer advocacy and the shift toward personalized content. Social media enables brands to communicate and engage with current and prospective customers, partners and influencers. Monitoring conversations that relate to your brand will allow you to see consistencies, behaviors and traits inherent in your buyer. With this data in hand, marketers can more easily create engaging, data-driven content geared directly towards their customer and extend marketing messages beyond just traditional channels into social media channels, too.
Case in Point: Blue Coat Systems
Blue Coat Systems promoted its brand via “trend-jacking.” In the absence of news, the brand’s leaders watched and listened to what their audience was saying and developed both traditional and social media campaigns around timely trends to maintain consistent coverage and to speak directly to topics that were of interest. The traditional media coverage provided built-in content that Blue Coat Systems could promote via its social channels with relevant and timely stories that made it easy to join conversations and be picked up by influencers. You can see the full case study and the results of the campaign here.
Creative storytelling was the driving force behind this campaign, and many marketers are eager to pursue this sort of interactive approach. Interactive storytelling bridges platforms as distribution can occur on any channel: social, video, email, even press release. Users can then interact with the story through their preferred platform. Keeping the customer and the buyer journey in mind when sharing material is essential to any personalized campaign. The opportunity to start a conversation with customers and their influencers will drive greater results and higher engagement.
The need for more (and better) content can be daunting, but having a solid PR campaign that hones in on your ideal customer and a cohesive narrative will help drive new, more targeted content ideas that can be promoted via social and get people talking — ultimately driving more traffic to your site. As we laid out in our 2016 Content Fitness Report, brands need to be prepared for marketing in a digital world. PR and social media need to be more streamlined with their messaging and content in order to make this a reality.
Case in Point: MediaMath
MediaMath formulated a strategic thought leadership program with the goal of maintaining its status as an industry leader. To maintain its momentum, the brand capitalized on its existing relationships to promote their unique points of view on timely trends. As a result, MediaMath achieved coverage in all of its top tier-media outlets and also garnered more than 58 million impressions on social media by carrying unique points of view (POVs) through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Alongside the work of the media team, MediaMath delivered industry-disrupting messages and POVs through blog and premium content. The owned media assets were syndicated across the brand’s social media channels as a way to separate MediaMath from a crowded and noisy market. With the PAN team’s support, MediaMath was able to evaluate which messages “stuck” and utilized that data and insight to influence future marketing initiatives.
The key to integrating PR and social media is developing the ability to hop on trends, nurture influencers and engage prospects in real time. If you don’t have your PR, social media and marketing efforts all simultaneously talking, coordinating and integrating, you won’t be able to respond to new opportunities quickly enough to take advantage of them.