The convergence of traditional communications and digital marketing was once thought to be impossible – a bridge too far that neither side was willing to cross. Today however, it is no longer a case of whether you integrate the two, but how well you do it.
While digital marketing and PR generally approach each stage of the marketing process quite differently, there is a golden thread that connects them both – good content. From there it is just a case of deciding where and how to distribute this content across the two platforms. This holistic style of communications is necessary for number of reasons:
Working together can build scale
The channels through which PR and digital marketing work are vastly different but can build momentum off each other if used correctly. While PR may use media releases and media relations (the people stuff) to create buzz, digital marketing will distribute information through channels such as blogs, social media, email newsletters and online paid advertising. Both can help to amplify each other as long as they work in synergy to capture the identified target audience.
The blurred lines of modern communications
The line between digital and offline is virtually non-existent. This is because a blog can be as impactful as a newspaper article, and a Facebook post may get more reach than the 8pm news on TV. The modern audience no longer distinguishes between these channels and looks to many different platforms for information. Missing an opportunity to be on a variety of marketing streams – as long as they are relevant to your business – can be detrimental to your brand, particularly if your competitors are already using a multi-faceted approach to marketing.
The newsrooms are digital
The newsrooms are digital – every newspaper has a website, Facebook and Twitter pages. The importance of this is twofold. Firstly, your coverage can generally be extended across various platforms, so what used to be just one media hit in a newspaper, now ends up online and gets tweeted several times. However, the messaging and damage control is no longer simply in the hands of your editorial contact at the local weekly. Instead, messaging has to be controlled and monitored across various platforms to mitigate the risk of misinterpretation or being undermined by online trolls. To do this you need to be online and engaged with the digital world.
Gain new brand insights from integrated campaign results
Gathering results from an integrated digital marketing and PR campaign can be incredibly useful and provide great insight for your brand. Each channel has a unique way of measuring impact but the overall picture can build a unique window in the success or lack thereof in a particular campaign. While PR will gather media hits and the related PR value to a campaign, digital results will involve gathering web traffic rankings, website conversions, sales and other analytics. Each provides incredible value into assessing the execution and impact of a campaign and to improve the planning around future campaigns.
It really is a battleground out there and the war for content is on. Whether your content gets the reach it deserves will depend on how well you can integrate digital and more traditional avenues of marketing. Creating synergy between the two is easy as long as the target audience remains the primary focus and the development of content is impactful and sharp. By crafting a unified and focused message, each platform’s strengths can be amplified and expanded by the other. The end result is a holistic and results orientated campaign for better brand awareness and hopefully sales outcomes.