Smart marketers know that all three components of digital marketing, advertising and PR are necessary to have a healthy brand presence. This article provides tips, insights, and examples on how each of these entities can help your brand awareness, engagement and reputation management.
When brands are looking to achieve a certain goal in the New Year, it can be hard delegating where their annual budgets should go. When assessing the options between a marketing, PR, or advertising agency, the multitude of choices and benefits of each one overwhelm decision makers. Previously, this choice came down to choosing between paid, earned or owned media.
Before the digital era, marketing, PR, and advertising were separate entities with defined responsibilities. Now, these industries are more closely related than ever.
Brand initiatives are carried throughout PR plans, marketing strategies, and calculated ads. Furthermore, agencies are finding themselves crossing paths with one another more often than not.
Digital outreach is practiced by PR professionals and traditional advertising moved into the social realm. But how do you use each one of these facets to achieve your goals?
Goal: Create Brand Awareness
Whether you’re an unknown brand, or have already established yourself as an authority in the industry, brand awareness is necessary for top funnel strategies. There are multiple ways you can invest your budget appropriately to achieve this goal.
- Digital: Using both owned and earned strategies, online marketing can help achieve this goal. Whether it’s syndicating a popular infographic or targeting long-tail keywords through your content calendar, you can reach an audience that was once untapped. A solid content strategy is key here.
- PR: This is where the lines become blurry. Off-site SEO often collides with the PR world when conducting influencer outreach. This earned media strategy results in online mentions by influencers, bloggers and even journalists. PR and marketing agencies can approach this tactic in multiple ways including content marketing (digital) and pitching to journalists (PR). Either way, a healthy brand should use both outlets to cover the different areas of expertise.
- Paid: Paid media is also extremely beneficial for brand awareness, mainly due to the prospecting options available online. Using custom audience metrics, PPC and social ads target new customers that may not be aware of your brand, but have similar interests, are located nearby, or have previously been to your competitors’ site.
Goal: Build Brand Engagement
Keeping your audience engaged is difficult. Constant, high-quality content creation is essential to this, but then what? You need to stay relevant to your audience’s interests, industry trends, and more.
- Digital: It all starts with content. Creating useful, interesting and relevant content for your audience members is a necessary step in this process. Fashion brand Joie creates consistent pieces of content that relate to their target demographic, including music, fashion trends, and interviews with influencers. Its social media also engages users on a frequent basis. Whether it’s creating beautifully pinned boards, hosting a contest on Facebook, or replying to messages from their users, these actions keep audience members engaged and talking about the Joie brand.
- PR: Once again, PR and digital marketing cross paths. PR agencies will consistently monitor social media for any brand mentions, trending topics, and more. This mirrors what many social media managers do on a daily basis as well. PR professionals will follow-up with social media or editorial leads to try and insert the brand name into the conversation. They will also notice if influencers organically mention the brand or show interest and send them some free products (thus increasing engagement). For example, an emerging beauty influencer has been receiving a multitude of products from big beauty brands (including Benefit Cosmetics and Pixi), thus leading to various social mentions.
- Paid: Remarketing is a powerful tactic that can keep your brand top of mind throughout a user’s online experience. Display and social remarketing ads target users are the mid to low funnel, thus increasing the chances of engagement and direct conversions or leads.
Goal: Manage Reputation
- Digital: Reputation management strategies used to be more aggressive in the SEO world. Today, the majority of this is done via on-site optimizations for a certain brand term or name. Another way to manage a brand’s reputation is through social media. Social media platforms are now considered a meeting point for brands and their consumers, giving consumers the power to voice their concerns. Having strong CRM allows brands to address these concerns in real-time.
- PR: Cause marketing initiatives help align brands with positive messages such as REI’s #OptOutside campaign or brands that participate in #GivingTuesday. This also gives brands a chance to tout their social corporate responsibility.
- Paid: Using PPC, brands can ensure their websites are the first thing users see when searching for their brand names. We also hope for organic listings to also appear first for your brand name; however, an optimized PPC campaign can ensure this happens.
The above situations include specific examples of the roles each discipline can take, however they aren’t limited to these actions. In reality, there are an endless number of ways all three disciplines can interact and compliment each other. So, when considering your budget for this year, make sure to incorporate adequate spending across these three areas.