As a business owner, you probably know that promoting and protecting your brand are essential. But in the digital age, it’s not enough to rely on traditional tactics. In order to increase your brand visibility and foster emotional connections with consumers, you’ll need to do more than make cold calls or place a print ad in a local newspaper.
To succeed in 2021, businesses need to invest in digital marketing and public relations. Both can widen your audience and help create a positive perception of your brand. The two facets of your strategy work differently — but together, they’ll strengthen your appeal.
What’s the Connection Between PR and Digital Media?
Let’s first talk about what PR and digital media are, as well as how they work together. PR, short for public relations, basically refers to the practice of generating “earned media” — placing your message in a news story — versus “paid media,” i.e., advertising. Through PR, you can cultivate relationships with trusted sources and influence public opinion. Radio and TV interviews, magazine profiles, and press releases all fall under the umbrella of PR, as do tasks like crisis communications and reputation management.
Typically, public relations work tends to be viewed by the public as being more organic (and, therefore, more trustworthy) than advertisements. The public tends to know when they’re seeing an advertisement, but they may not realize that coverage of a community event that’s being sponsored by a local business is actually great PR.
That isn’t to say that digital media and advertising aren’t important. They absolutely are. Digital advertising will work in tandem with your PR efforts to amplify reach. There are a number of essential aspects to a digital marketing strategy, which might include search engine optimization, pay-per-click or display ads, social media, and link-building. Digital advertising often functions as a more modern version of print ads, while other components of digital marketing can pull customers to your site as they research or seek information. Digital ads are meant to directly drive sales, while SEO can provide solutions to readers.
Digital advertising will work in tandem with your PR efforts to amplify reach.
Digital marketing and PR are essentially two sides of the same coin — they both spread the word about your brand and provide value to consumers. Digital advertising can introduce or re-establish your business, while PR can foster a more personal connection between your brand and your customers. Together, these two parts of your promotional strategy can increase brand loyalty and awareness while allowing your organization to keep growing consistently.
Why Make PR and Digital a Priority?
Now that you understand the functions of these tactics and how they work together, you might be wondering whether they’re actually necessary. The simple answer is yes.
In our tech-driven reality, investing in digital advertising and digital media is crucial. While there’s still a place for more traditional forms of advertising, digital ads tend to be more cost-efficient and even more effective at targeting the right audiences.
With print or TV ads, you can only make an educated guess about whether your ideal customer will see it — and in the meantime, you’ll spend a lot of money with no guarantees. Digital ads, on the other hand, will provide more accurate targeting opportunities and can give you control over where and when it will appear, how much you’ll spend, and what kinds of changes need to be made for greater success later on. Ultimately, if you aren’t investing in digital media and marketing for your business, you’re going to have a tough time rising above the competition.
However, working with a digital marketing agency won’t allow you to tell the whole story. In fact, PR is all about telling your story — which is why it’s so critical that it plays a role in your promotional strategy, as well.
Although digital ads might generate traffic to your website, you also need to give customers (and the public at large) a reason to actually care about your business. That’s what turns one-time purchasers into loyal supporters. It’s also how relatively unknown brands become pillars of their communities.
When you’ve done all the internal branding work and have created a company you’re proud of, you’ll want to share that — and all of your most exciting news — with the world. PR can allow you to do that in a way that encourages emotional buy-in from the public and that aligns with your brand’s values and mission.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that both digital advertising and public relations should be part of your larger marketing strategy in 2021. Contact us to get started.