6 Ways to Drive Better Marketing Results with PR
Power Digital recently announced its acquisition of Covet Public Relations, a nationally-recognized PR firm that specializes in CPG food, beverage, beauty, and lifestyle brands with offices in San Diego, LA, and New York.
With this acquisition, the agency is expanding its digital PR footprint to provide Covet’s partners with full-funnel marketing strategies incorporating PR to drive topline revenue, and Power Digital’s partners will have access to an incredibly robust PR offering, including events, celebrity and brand partnerships, and extensive relationships with the top editors for all things CPG.
When Power Digital created a PR umbrella six years ago, the intention was to add a top-of-funnel channel that could support marketing efforts across all stages of the consumer journey. As the digital marketing agency has evolved, we have added more services to our roster, from email and SMS to Amazon and YouTube. Today, we have over 15 unique service offerings, which can all be supported through public relations.
PR and How It Fits in The Funnel
PR plays a critical role in awareness, consideration, and loyalty. But for the sake of this post we will focus on awareness and consideration.
Let’s start with the top of the funnel, or the “awareness” driving stage of the funnel. The whole goal in this phase of the funnel is to drive as many new eyes as possible to the brand. But quality of the new traffic to the brand is really what matters here and PR is typically one of the most effective ways to introduce highly relevant eyes to your brand. An ideal PR placement introduces a reader to the brand for the first time AND convinces people why they need your product. Oftentimes when brands drive awareness through their own digital channels, it doesn’t hold as much weight because it’s from the perspective of the business. Top tier PR hits with great content from a trusted author can change the game for a new brand or product.
In the consideration phase, the prospect is aware of your product but hasn’t purchased it. The prospect is considering whether to purchase your product or not, and the best ways to close people in the consideration phase are through risk reversal OR social proof. A well-timed PR placement can drastically improve performance across the consideration stage of the funnel because the objections to the purchase can be overcome through a well-written PR hit. And if a reader that is considering purchasing the brand sees one of their favorite publications rave about the product, that is one of the best ways to get a potential customer to close for the first time.
PR and SEO
While building a site that is easily accessible and has the appropriate content for search engines is important, building links to that content is a just as integral part of getting your domain to rank for the more competitive terms. Getting links built back to your content is the strongest signal a domain can send to search engines proving authority on a specific subject. Search engines typically rely on authoritative sources like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Bloomberg for signals about which domains are important and for what specific subject area.
The typical SEO and PR workflow starts with collaborating with the content marketing team to create an amazing piece of content. Typically, the most successful SEO and PR collaborations use proprietary data to publish information unique to the brand and to deliver some unique insight to potential publications that would be covering this industry. For example, if a job posting site wants to get links back to their domain, they may consider publishing content about the state of the economy based on user activity levels and work with the PR team to outreach to business publications for backlinks back to the domain.
Lastly, the PR team is instrumental in helping launch new products on a domain. Typically, most product launches are newsworthy events and can be easily pitched to local, trade, and national publications. These announcements can help search engines understand that the domain now has expertise in the new product category and help the new products rank much faster on search engines. Any product or market launch that is dependent on SEO should work closely with PR so the new products or markets can be quickly indexed.
PR and Amazon
While the impact of PR on Amazon is not discussed as much as the impact of PR on SEO, PR still plays a strong role in improving and maximizing performance on Amazon. Amazon’s A10 algorithm evolved to place a stronger emphasis on external traffic to Amazon pages. This means that strong PR placements that can drive a volume of users to Amazon will then lead to organic ranking and visibility improvements of a brand’s products on Amazon.
The A10 algorithm does place a higher emphasis on ranking products that receive external traffic to the listings and especially when that traffic converts at a higher rate. Online users typically have more trust in top tier publications and the content they are producing, so oftentimes this can lead to more sales than lesser known outlets due to the credibility of the site and placement. Therefore, allowing PR placements to direct traffic to Amazon will send traffic that is likely to convert, which will have a more positive impact than many other sources of external traffic. The A10 algorithm will detect this external traffic, along with the sales velocity it generates, and then rank a brand’s products higher organically for the terms in which the listings currently rank for.
Amazon’s algorithm will also increase rank for listings that receive traffic from influencer campaigns. Amazon in general is moving in this direction with the launch of Amazon Influencers, where influencers can have a page/store on Amazon that lists the products they feature within their posts. Therefore, if you work with an influencer that sends traffic to your Amazon listing or their Amazon page where a user buys the product, this will also increase the rank of a brand’s listings on Amazon due to the external traffic and sales velocity that the Amazon algorithm detects.
Both traditional PR and influencer marketing traffic can have a positive impact on Amazon performance, and therefore Amazon can (and should) be another cross channel integration tactic within your PR strategies. Given that Amazon listings convert higher than most websites, this can allow these PR & influencer initiatives to drive more sales when sent to Amazon, ultimately generating more sales than your website depending on the product, industry, brand, website and type of placement.
PR and Paid Social and Search
PR is an amazing asset for paid social at the middle of the funnel. Users who have visited your website and are not convinced are looking for justification for their purchase. Top tier media coverage is an amazing way to add social proof to your retargeting campaigns and increase conversion rates.
The food and beverage space has been a vertical we have seen where PR is not only a booster in terms of conversion, but a necessity. The learned behavior for purchasing food online is still very new and consumer trust is low. Top tier PR logos act almost as a FDA stamp of approval on the brand. Leading with this type of coverage in your prospecting campaigns will get over the largest obstacle in the category — trust.
PR and Content
Aligning your PR strategy with content is a great way to get even more out of your recent coverage. One key place to start is on your website and landing pages. Whether you are dropping in logos of where your brand has been featured or a quote from a publication, there is an immense value in leveraging the social proof element of PR. This is especially important when you consider how familiar a user is with your brand.
If you are pushing users to a landing page, blog post, or even your homepage it’s good to think about if they’ve seen your site before or if this is your first interaction. New users are looking for signs that they can trust your brand and the credibility that a PopSugar, New York Times, or Buzzfeed logo shouldn’t be discounted.
Another great way to integrate content and PR is to leverage topics that are trending in the PR space or catching the eye of editors to generate topic ideas. This is a perfect way to get a jump on what is trending and will likely be highly searched and sought after within the coming months. Collaboration between these two teams will help ensure you are producing content that users will truly engage and connect with!
PR and Email
Combining your PR efforts with an inbound email strategy is key to maximizing the lifetime and value of your earned media. There are a few key ways in which you can integrate these two channels to drive better results for your marketing efforts. The first is through press hits as social proof. If you secured a noteworthy and top tier piece of online press coverage, the social proof from relevant PR wins and media hits should be incorporated into your email marketing strategy. You can do this as a full broadcast email if the media placement is outstanding with messaging like “Hear why Vogue called us the best thing that’s ever happened to the fashion industry,” for example.
You can segment your list to send to those who have not purchased in a given time period who may need another push to purchase again. Your email can pull quotes from the article and direct subscribers to read the article and shop featured products right from the body of the email. Think of it as your way to build credibility to your target audience, share your win, and drive revenue from latent subscribers.
Another way to integrate PR and email is by incorporating PR into your welcome sequence. When someone first subscribes, you need to educate and convince them to make a purchase, which can be done through impressive media hits. Whether you are pulling logos and sharing “Most loved by [insert list of press hits]” within your email, or adding a quote to the header or footer of the email, this is your way to nurture and convince a potential customer to make the purchase decision.
Finally, similar to showcasing impressive media reviews on your brand’s website, you can do this across all email marketing, from subject-lines, to footers, to specific product launches with media reviews. PR will add to the credibility and support the consumer journey when purchasing for the first, second, or third time.
PR and CRO
As your PR campaign gains new traction and users begin to filter through the funnel and onto your site, it’s important to make sure your website experience is set up to nurture the user. In order to maximize your PR efforts and ensure these visits turn into conversions, a healthy conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy should be employed. There are three key CRO strategies that can be supplemental to any PR campaign:
- Personalization – Typically, PR campaigns will have specific promotions or missions. The latest technology in CRO practices allow you to personalize your site dynamically to fit these campaigns. If you run multiple campaigns, this will help organize site messaging and offers to tailor to the user, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates. See here for more about dynamic personalization.
- Analysis and Data Building – At the heart of any CRO strategy is data. Capturing user behavior and analytics is key to be able to make the right decisions and changes on site. The traffic gained through PR can help bolster and augment the data, and in turn your PR tactics can be improved by accurately identifying how users react to campaigns and site messaging (as it pertains to the PR message).
- Ongoing Testing, Analysis, and Iteration – The most common practices behind CRO are A/B testing, multivariate testing, and other forms of experimenting with a web experience. PR can help drive traffic to these experiments, allow you to test new messaging, and even provide better approaches to future campaigns.
Outside of these three core strategies, it is always important to make sure your website or landing page is set up properly, tracking the right information, and functional. CRO can help optimize your campaigns, and PR can act as the fuel behind your efforts (and vice versa).
Without a doubt, PR plays an integral role in the customer journey by providing the social proof necessary to engage, convert, and retain customers. As you read in this article, each stage of the funnel can be supplemented or improved with some well placed PR hits paired with a savvy utilization of the coverage after it is secured.
The fun doesn’t stop with the immediate attention driven by the PR hit. It is crucial that all channels and platforms that represent your business continue to place a spotlight on the most relevant and well-known PR hits for your brand. In the past, a public relations strategy has been a nice value-add for most brands. In today’s age of information, PR is widely seen as a necessity versus a luxury for any successful marketing campaign, especially for those companies trying to break into industries with a lot of noise or competition.
What can PR do for you and your business? Reach out to Power Digital today to get a nova assessment and to gain an understanding of how a world-class PR strategy can play a pivotal role in the success of your business!