The Role of Public Relations in Marketing. Why is it Important?
Public relations, or PR, is a key piece of any marketing strategy.
PR is devoted entirely to managing and dissemination information between a business and the public.
Public relations efforts typically include a media strategy and management of the brand’s public image. This helps boost brand awareness, build trust with the target audience, and expand the brand itself.
Why Is Public Relations Important In Marketing
To understand the role of public relations in marketing, we need to understand the distinction between the two.
Understanding the difference between PR and marketing isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. However, there are a few key areas where the two can be delineated from one another.
Marketing is all about promotion with clear goals in mind. These might be to build leads, increase brand awareness, or boost revenue. Often, a marketing communications agency will measure success based on revenue.
Within the overall field of marketing, there are various subsections with their own goals and methods. For example:
- Digital marketing
- Product marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Content marketing
PR, on the other hand, has a very different end goal. PR professionals concern themselves primarily with maintaining public image and nurturing the relationship between your business and your target audience.
While there is considerable overlap between PR and marketing, to get the best out of your marketing and PR efforts, it’s important to understand where they differ.
Working with a PR consultant can be a very powerful piece of your marketing strategy.
A strong PR strategy can help to achieve your marketing goals.
The most common traditional PR approach is to build relationships with media channels relevant to your niche. In doing so, you can generate press coverage that builds your brand and trust with your target audience.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting the right press releases to the right people.
These days, with the prevalence of social media networks, public relations often includes a strong understanding of the digital landscape as well as traditional media coverage.
(Graphic suggestion: Let’s make a graphic that lists the difference between public relations and marketing like the one in this page.)
What Is the Role of Public Relations in Marketing
The role of public relations in marketing is to create a positive, trustworthy image for your brand. PR professionals accomplish this using a combination of a well thought out media communication plan and media outreach.
When you understand PR’s specific role within your marketing approach, everything about marketing gets easier.
Responsibilities are clearer, teams are more easily aligned, and your PR and marketing teams can work in tandem like a well-oiled machine.
PR’s role in marketing can be as broad or as narrow as you like. For example:
In this day and age, you want to be on the first page of Google. Most users won’t even click beyond the first couple of links. That’s why Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is so important.
A prominent, trusted site such as a news outlet linking to yours is great for your Google ranking.
Building Brand Reputation With Your Target Audience
Your brand’s reputation is its most valuable resource. A strong PR strategy prioritises building and maintaining a positive reputation with consumers and potential customers alike.
Establishing trust with your audience also has the added benefit of making crisis management much easier.
Sometimes incidents occur where you need to quickly put out fires following a controversial social media post or manage an unforeseen product issue.
Fortunately, keeping your audience on side is much easier when they already have an established positive relationship with your brand.
Opening Communication Channels
Part of the media relations aspect of PR is controlling your flow of communication with the public.
However, with modern social media marketing tactics, ad campaigns on social platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram present opportunities for two-way communication with your audience.
Not only can your brand engage with comments and content from your community, but you can react to their feedback in real time and tweak your campaign as you need to.
Public Relations Efforts In Marketing Tactics
When using PR as part of your marketing efforts, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.
Below are a few examples of how targeted, strategic actions optimise your investment in PR efforts and help you achieve your marketing goals.
A well-written press release should be the primary weapon in your PR arsenal.
Typically, a PR professional will send press releases to media contacts for them to turn into news articles. This is the oldest trick in the PR book for a reason: it’s been remarkably effective for decades now.
A press release is useful for announcing things like new products and services or industry accolades. It will raise awareness not only of your new product, but of your brand, too.
A regular newsletter is a great way to maintain contact with your audience. This is especially true if you operate in a smaller niche where consumers are particularly engaged with your content.
Things like specialty sports items, musical equipment, and fine dining often deploy simple email newsletters as part of their marketing public relations.
This also helps generate leads and makes your audience feel closer to your brand.
Content & Influencer Marketing
Your PR strategy should include outreach with key influencers within your niche.
They’re called “influencers” with good reason: they influence the choices made by their followers. If their followers cross over with your target audience, you can see great results.
The same goes for content marketing. If you publish content online that is relatable and engaging, your community can’t help but interact with it.
This is one of the areas where PR and marketing crosses over more than others, so be sure to clearly mark out which aspects of the strategy belong to which team.
Future Role and Impact Of Public Relations In The Marketing Landscape
Moving forward, PR is only going to become a bigger feature of the marketing landscape.
When you understand the role and strategy of PR within your marketing goals, your brand’s reputation and image in the public’s estimation will only improve.
The future of PR in marketing will likely see two major trends. Firstly, quality will be prioritised over quantity, as the marketplace becomes increasingly saturated. Secondly, it will keep getting easier to quantify the impact of PR thanks to ever-improving tracking methods.
PR will continue to be a vital piece of the marketing landscape, and it’s never been a more exciting time to execute a cutting-edge PR strategy.