There once was a time, when a business hoping to engage in a number of marketing or PR-related disciplines, had to recruit a raft of agencies or in-house experts to manage their campaigns. Siloed by guarded professionals or black-box technology, that either couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to each other, the practices (and very often the results) were shrouded in secrecy, bluff and jargon. This made life difficult for business hoping to capitalize on what were never truly seamless activities.
That was all before the phrase “disruptive technology” entered our lexicon. And, while this perfectly describes the many aspects of Internet-based technology, designed to improve the marketing experience, I prefer to think of it as less “disruptive” and more “empowering”.
Thanks to companies like Vocus – whose technology suite includes tools and services from PR Web, North Social, and Help a Reporter Out (HARO), plus iContact in the near future – businesses now have to ability to manage, analyze, compare and optimize a large swath of their online marketing activity via one interface.
This single view of “the truth” can help businesses of all sizes, align their marketing efforts and ensure all channels are working towards the same goal and not competing against each other.
10 Tips for Combining Successful PR and Marketing Activities
1. Tell a Great Story: This has never been more important. Concentrate on producing great content that offers real value to your potential customers and media partners. A press release announcing a new product launch could potentially be lost amongst a thousand other releases. A press release that demonstrates how a product can change the live of a potential customer, saving them time, reducing their costs or increasing their profits suddenly becomes very newsworthy.
2. Write for People and Machines: You’ll want to include certain keywords and phrases in your content that make your copy attractive to search engines based on popular searches around your industry, product or service. But be careful not overstuff your content with “SEO-friendly” terms as this my make your content difficult to read and at the end of the day, it is always a person who makes the final buying decision.
3. Illustrate Your Vision: By including images and/or videos with your press releases will instantly make them more engaging and widen the appeal of the content opening up new opportunities for media outlets and individuals to share your news.
4. Make it easy to share: Include social media sharing tools so that readers can quickly and easily share your news with their friends and colleagues. Remember the more engaging your release the more opportunity it has of “going viral” and reaching as wide an audience as possible.
5. Present a Direct Call to Action: Don’t be shy about presenting a direct call to action. Encourage your potential customers to click to learn more, register interest or even buy. Scream benefits and guide them efficiently into making the next step.
6. The Perfect Landing Experience: Once you have captured a readers interest you will want to make it as easy as possible for them to convert (i.e. make a purchase or register their interest in your product or service). Use easy to remember web addresses and simplified landing pages (strip out any unwanted navigation that could distract the visitor). Ensure your landing page content includes all the information a potential customer could want – this could include pricing, shipping and delivery details, and other frequently asked questions that will help you facilitate the sale.
7. Capture Email Addresses: Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your site to provide their email addresses. Be sure to include an email subscription form on every page – never hide it away on an individual “newsletter subscription” page. Remember email marketing will provide you with the lowest cost opportunity to convert or re-win business after visitors have left your site.
8. Use Email to Drive Social Media Followers (and vice versa): Email and social media are two very different but complimentary channels. Social media is the ideal environment to engage with your client base and share ideas, whereas the more formal environment of email is more suited to selling. In an idea world you will want to encourage as many of your social media followers to subscribe to your email lists and vice versa. Both email and social media are ideal channels to distribute your PR content.
9. Breaking the (Old) Rules: Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Online marketing technology should not be constrained by old media style deadlines and work schedules. If you’ve got something interesting to say, don’t sit on it. It is highly unlikely people are sitting in their office waiting for your weekly or monthly update. It is always a good time for breaking news.
10. It’s a Team Effort: Ensure your sales and customer services teams are informed and up-to-date with your marketing and PR efforts and equipped to deal with incoming leads and enquiries. There is little point in spending any money on marketing if your front line troops are not prepared to deal with the results