In the past, marketing and public relations departments operated separately from one another. The two had different objectives. A PR team traditionally centered in on media relations – hustling to get their clients to appear in a positive light in print, radio or television news. On the other hand, a digital marketing team usually focused on growing the client’s customer base through promoting awareness and increasing sales and leads. Both departments used different tactics and strategies to accomplish their respective goals. But long gone are the days when public relations and marketing teams operated on opposite ends of the spectrum.

While this strategy was once the best avenue to take, it is time to face reality – with the world of digital evolving, PR and marketing teams must now come together. The inception of the internet fundamentally changed the way in which communications companies operate. Today, everyone is online. The internet is where people look for news and updates, as well as where they connect with family and friends. Because of this, it is important to adapt and align PR and marketing efforts with an approach that covers both traditional and digital media.

To move forward with this new approach, companies must encourage collaboration and communication between the PR and marketing departments. For example, “lunch-and-learn” sessions offer opportunities for different teams to learn from one another about new trends that could play a role in achieving their objectives. In addition, sending team members from different departments to the same event or conference can help provide varying perspectives on the matter. 

It is also advantageous to set up daily or weekly meetings across departments so everyone is aware of the clients’ needs. These meetings provide space for public relations professionals to brainstorm ways to assist the marketing department and vice versa, ultimately helping to come up with fresh new ideas that can be implemented into the overall strategy.

Methods for Combining Digital and PR Efforts
There are many ways to combine aspects of digital strategy into traditional PR efforts. Some common methods include:

Pitches: When an online story is published, it is beneficial if the article includes high-ranking search terms for the client. To accomplish this, have an SEO expert review any media outreach pitches. If you work some key phrases into the pitch, the journalist may add it into his or her publication, boosting the client’s SEO.

Press Releases: When a PR team is putting out a digital press release, there are two key factors for digital that should be taken into consideration. First, it is important to have relevant keywords sprinkled in where appropriate. These are usually found within the boilerplate at the bottom of a release but can also be placed throughout the release if it makes sense. Second, every digital press release should contain links to a client’s website. Having strong backlinks can help your organic rankings rise dramatically.

Websites and Landing Pages: When working on a website or landing page, public relations professionals can provide insights  as to what may interest the media should they come across the site, while an SEO expert can suggest search terms that should be included in the web copy for ranking purposes.

Social Media: Social media is continuously growing and shows no signs of slowing down. It is important for clients to have optimized profiles with active posting habits. Engagement on social posts also plays a role organically. A PR team can help with creating exciting subject lines and copy for media hits that can be shared on social to help encourage user engagement.

Video Interviews: Video content is becoming more and more popular as the years go by. If a client has secured an online interview or is recording a digital presentation, an SEO expert can help insert relevant keywords into the script where possible. In addition, it is important to add videos to a YouTube channel with the appropriate tags and keywords so that a client’s videos appear in online searches as well. This may not always be possible, but when doable it can definitely benefit the client’s overall online presence.

Working in tandem, both PR and marketing departments will learn techniques that will drive better results for the client. As the world shifts, it is becoming increasingly important for teams to operate cohesively to produce successful campaigns.