PR teams, especially those in large B2B companies, often sit apart from their digital marketing colleagues and work on completely separate projects.
Corporate news, major product launches, nurturing relationships with the most influential industry journalists. Sometimes, they’re drawn into crisis comms and preserving the company’s reputation, or working with investor relations experts when company annual results are published.
It’s tempting to think there isn’t that much cross over with what marketing teams do with demand generation, website optimisation or nurture campaigns.
But I’d have to disagree.
Here are three ways that PR could help to power your next digital marketing campaign.
1. Fresh insights in reports and whitepapers to ramp up demand gen
Say you’re working on your next hero asset for a lead generation campaign – an eBook, guide, report or whitepaper. It’ll be sat behind a gated form so it needs to be really insightful and valuable for the reader.
No doubt it’ll feature loads of compelling stats and third party research to back up your points. But if you go a step further and commission some fresh research, often via a third-party company like Censuswide, OnePoll or 3Gem, you can give your report some topical, timely oomph. And a reason to write a separate press release about it that gets covered in media as a news story, often with a link back to the full report.
Journalists love fresh new research, especially if it points to broader industry trends, so spotting a gap that your competitors haven’t can really set you apart.
2. Using your own data to tell a story
Your website data can help to tell a compelling story about changing buyer priorities and behaviours. And guess what, as a digital marketer you’re the gatekeeper of your website’s Google Analytics, which can be a goldmine of insights.
It’s easy to get consumed in Google Analytics for what you need it for as a marketer – tracking campaign results, analysing user journeys and drop off points, for example. But by taking a step back and thinking about what the bigger picture – surges in demand for particular products and services on a given day, for example.
What does this say about how people’s habits and preferences are changing? Could this tell a powerful story?
Recently, Rightmove got incredible press coverage in the UK for revealing that searches for property in Cornwall had overtaken London for the first time, as a result of COVID-19 and people’s shifting priorities for where they want to live. The volumes of traffic on your site may not be as vast, but it’s always worth poking around with a PR hat on.
3. Co-creating content with journalist industry experts
This won’t necessarily garner press coverage, but if your PR team has friendly journalist relationships and you’re planning your next content marketing piece or industry roundtable or webinar, adding a journalist guest expert into the lineup can elevate its credibility.
Understandably, some will charge you for the privilege, and some publications have strict rules on where their staff can feature on a commercial basis. But it’s always worth considering and keeping your eyes open for friendly contacts and worthy opportunities.
Why’s it worth the effort?
1. Lead generation
Increased awareness has a direct benefit on supporting lead generation. And by using earned media channels as part of the marketing channel mix, it can get your message further than through owned and paid channels alone. If a media article contains a backlink to your gated content, it can act as a direct lead generator.
Media publications have some of the best website domain authority out there. So if you’re lucky enough to get a backlink in the piece it can provide a real benefit to your own website’s rankings. Unfortunately, back links are never guaranteed in editorial and some publications have strict policies against it but it’s always worth a friendly ask. And if the backlink is to an in-depth report, infographic or interactive tool that adds value to the reader, that can be a bigger justification.
3. Low cost for additional halo effect
Unlike advertising or content syndication with media partners, if your story is strong enough to make its way into the heralded ‘earned editorial’ section of a publication or website, it won’t cost you a penny in media budget. Only your time to woo and influence the journalist. The only caveat is that unlike a paid advertorial, you won’t have approval on the piece before it’s published so you have to put your faith in the journalist to cover all the main messages.
We all know that an endorsement or mention by a respected industry expert or tech/business reporter can carry even more weight than if you say something yourself on your own channels. Often, this brand ‘halo effect’ is harder to track than with your digital campaign offering solid metrics on click through rates and impressions. But it can pack a long-term punch and the increased brand awareness can positively impact the success of your other campaigns too.
What are you waiting for?
From our experience, the best campaigns involve a collaborative approach between PR and demand generation and we love getting the opportunity to work closely with PR pros.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re planning your next digital marketing campaign and think it could benefit from a PR spin, get in touch.