mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Public relations (PR) and marketing agencies used to be two entirely separate entities and disciplines. However, companies began to recognize that budgets can stretch further – and awareness can climb higher – when stories are told through a mix of earned, owned, paid and shared media. Ever since the lines between PR and marketing have blurred.

Generally speaking, it’s hard to execute a PR strategy without a little marketing and it’s difficult to market without executing some PR. As a PR major with a minor in marketing in college, I’m glad to see the two disciplines have become so interconnected. After all, with end goals so intertwined, it is challenging to separate the two.

Still, integrating PR and marketing into one strategy takes some work. The following four tips can help facilitate success.

Dive deeper into the business

Have you memorized your company’s key messages? Do you know its background, market position, and roadmap? Can you draft a quote for its spokesperson in your sleep?

That’s all fantastic.

But, when you’re integrating such useful PR information with marketing into a single strategy, it’s important to look closely at all areas of the company.

Learn how they sell their product by scheduling a product demo with the sales team. Meet with the product marketing team about upcoming developments. Ask the customer service team about the positive, and negative, feedback they receive. Talk to the SEO expert about website traffic.

Along the way, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What does the sales cycle look like? What are the sales goals? How does the company generate prospects? Which product features pique the most interest? What is the product development team working on? What keywords are driving traffic to the company website?

All of this information will help you create a more holistic strategy.

Befriend buyer personas

It’s imperative to keep buyer personas in mind when creating an integrated strategy. These generalized representations of ideal customers can help you identify the right prospects and most profitable customers.

If they don’t exist, create buyer personas to understand the target preferences and habits that will inform your marketing strategies and messaging. As you do, ask yourself how prospects hear about your company and find you, what pain-points they have and challenges they face, where they go to learn how to solve problems, what goals they have.

All of this information should factor into buyer personas, and once developed, put them to use so you can become “best friends” with prospects. Make sure you refine your messaging and optimize your PR and marketing strategy accordingly in order to reach your target audiences with relevant information on the channels they use most.

Think of media in marketing terms

PR pros spend extensive hours trying to secure media coverage for clients that they can include in the next weekly email update or status call. Coverage is great, but it’s only valuable to the client if it’s supporting their marketing goals.

For example, will the story you’re after help drive revenue, customer acquisition or answer board and investor demands? Media relations should always play a strategic role in moving your clients’ business forward.

Be resourceful

If you find yourself wishing you understood even more about integrating marketing with your PR, or just want a better understanding of the jargon CMO’s use, there are tons of resources available. A few of my personal favorites include:

  • HubSpot: This is an incredible resource for anyone looking to learn more about marketing. The company’s blog does a tremendous job providing comprehensive marketing, sales and services advice. Whether you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest trends or working through a social media strategy, they offer it all.
  • HubSpot Academy: This is a great way to grasp specific, deep-dive topics such as email marketing, content development, sales enablement, SEO training and more. Through their Inbound Marketing course I was able to learn more about content creation, social media strategies and converting and nurturing leads. The course provided me with insights I’m able to leverage on a daily basis working through strategies with clients.
  • General Assembly: If you have the time (you should make the time), and the budget (some programs are free) check out General Assembly’s courses. They offer convenient programs in web development, digital marketing, product management and more. I completed their digital marketing bootcamp and learned a six step framework for developing digital marketing strategies for businesses and campaigns. Throughout the course, you’re given exercises to complete such as determining target audience, drafting key performance indicators and laying out an email campaign. You can’t help but walk away with fresh ideas.