Every business knows that there’s no point in having a great product or offering a fantastic service if no one knows about it. But, at the same time, we’re also aware that customers don’t like to be sold to. So how do you sell without selling and tell without telling? That’s where a smart PR and marketing programme comes in.
Get off to the right start
PR and marketing are often used as interchangeable terms but there are some key differences and the two need to be aligned to support business growth.
In a nutshell, PR can influence all aspects of an organisation. Its core aim is to share and build a positive reputation around its brand and cultural identity. Getting these foundations right will ensure a consistent approach every time a potential customer or other stakeholders, including employees, comes into contact with the brand.
PR is rarely sales focused. Instead, activity seeks to position brands and the people behind the brands as the trusted experts in their field. Activity generally focuses on editorial content in both print and online, paid media content, value-adding blogs, reports and other content, and working with third-party influencers to independently reinforce core messages.
On the flip side, the ultimate aim of marketing is to generate a steady flow of qualified leads to convert browsers into buyers. This generally takes potential customers through various stages of the decision-making process from awareness through to decision. Marketing programmes tend to be more data-led than PR strategies, drawing on insights across metasearch, website statistics, social media, and internal sales feedback.
Activity often combines organic and paid social media campaigns, organic search engine optimization with pay per click campaigns, traditional advertising, and event attendance, along with the usual suite of marketing collateral from product sheets to brochures.
Building an effective programme
The most effective approach to building brand awareness and driving sales is to combine PR and Marketing tactics into a strategy that will deliver sustained results that align with business objectives.
Developing your plan
Once you have your foundations in place it’s time to start building your marketing and PR programme. Being clear on the marketing objectives and how they support the business’ overall strategic goals is crucial.
Focus on building content pillars based on the themes that fall under the challenges that your customers face and how your products or services solve those. Content can be reworked and reshaped to help build brand visibility and understanding and lead potential clients through the buying journey from awareness to decision – moving from adding value and being very light in sales focus to becoming increasingly sales-led.
By structuring activity in this way, you will ensure customers are focused on key messages which are reinforced over time rather than being overwhelmed by too many topics that become irrelevant.
Clients are often short on time so give them the opportunity to consume ‘bite-sized’ content first and then choose to delve deeper if they are interested. Build out your plan along themes with an overarching PR campaign to ensure a regular drumbeat of brand-building activity.
Core content can be grouped into the following:
Thought leadership: Revisit the challenges that your clients face and how your services and products solve those. Build a list of thought leadership topics that can be developed into media articles, blogs, whitepapers, infographics and videos.
Success stories: Short articles that show how you supported a client to overcome a challenge, how you did that and the results.
Social media posts: social media is a fantastic way of sharing your brand’s personality and putting a human face to the people behind the brand. Take time to understand how your clients interact and engage with each platform and tailor your content accordingly. Remember, it’s about engagement and adding value to people’s days so save the sales pitches for the paid ads!
People profiles: People are increasingly wanting a more human-centric approach from brands. Showing faces behind the scenes helps build trust and loyalty in your business. Just test this by seeing the difference in engagement on social media of posting a picture of a person compared to a product!
SEO: Driving potential clients and customers to your website is a central aim of any marketing campaign. Being visible on the first page of search results is critical to this. Investing time in optimising both your website, content, and social media channels is vital.
Paid social media: Paid social media campaigns are playing an ever-increasing role in marketing activity. They not only ensure your messages get seen by your target audiences, but with clear calls to action, they are highly effective at driving people to your website.
Email campaigns: With the focus on personalised marketing showing no sign of slowing down, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways of engaging with customers. Carefully crafted and highly tailored emails will deliver the greatest impact.
Get ready for launch
Once your programme is ready to go live take a fresh look at your audiences and consider how content can be grouped and shaped into campaigns that target specific groups who can be reached through tailored emails and sponsored social media posts.
Check timings to optimise engagement and ensure that content is published in a sequence that will enable it to reinforce what went before. It can also be helpful to seek the support of colleagues and third-party influencers to help amplify and share your content.
Data is at the heart of every modern marketing and PR campaign. Don’t forget to constantly track and measure the performance of your marketing campaign against targets. This will enable you to amend and adjust activity as you go. The world of marketing and PR is always changing so don’t be afraid to test and take risks!
Most of all, just get started
While the thought of launching a PR and marketing campaign can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Starting small is much better than not starting at all. Defining your values and messages doesn’t need to take long and once it’s in place it will influence different aspects of how you do business. When it comes to deciding on what content to create choose one aspect of the business that you know you do really well, and that people will be interested in and start there. You can develop and expand activities as you go.
How we can help
Korero is an integrated PR and Marketing agency. We join the dots between businesses’ strategic aims, all aspects of their PR and Marketing activity, and their customers – helping them to tell a consistently engaging story that builds awareness and secures leads.
To learn more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit korero.co.uk.