Building bridges

Last week, my colleagues and I were discussing the merits of utilising our email marketing system for internal communications. What became evident was that when procuring new technological solutions, such as these, it is often marketing who take on the role as master.

This is because it is the marketing department who usually have the role of lead generation and ultimately sales. Streamlining this process ends up taking priority to maintaining a successful business and often other functions remain in marketing's shadow.

During our discussions it became clear that what we do externally needs to be mirrored internally. By interrogating these software solutions it's easy to see how they can be utilised for more than just marketing. Advanced features such as A/B testing, smart sending and personalisation can definitely add value to any organisation's internal communications. We all have the same strict targets so the more we can use our resources to prove the worth of our efforts, testing, learning and refining, the better. Gone are the days that a mere read receipt was seen as a win on an all staff email!

These types of digital communications are also the catalyst that has drawn public relations and marketing together. The main benefit of this integrated approach to PR and marketing is that both functions can learn from each other. For example, marketers are generally very good at measuring the success of a campaign in terms of ROI, whereas PRs might focus more on the amount of exposure and potential reach a campaign receives.

PR consultants are also good at telling a story and engaging customers and prospects without any hard sell, something some marketers can struggle with since traditionally their role is to promote a product and drive sales. Content marketing is a prime example of where this approach doesn’t work, instead content (blog posts, social media updates etc.) need to build trust, engage audiences, and raise brand awareness. Marketers can support PRs by helping them create content that also includes, subtly, some of the tools and tactics they use to get audiences to take the next step.

It's important to understand the difference between content and copy in that 'content' is material intended to educate, while 'copy' is material that you write to get people to take a specific action. Content can be more long-form - such as blog posts, white papers, or podcasts. Like this post for example! Copy has to be concise, hard-hitting and focused on what makes people want to take a specific action like: click, download, sign up, share something on social media or make a purchase. Every PR person should learn how to write more effective copy that doesn’t just educate - but also persuades and inspires action.

This action is important because it can drive media coverage and help clients with conversions, web traffic and increased sales leads. Ultimately it also helps to build a measurable public relations and growth marketing program which usually creates a major return on investment.

While there are specific activities that are easy to define as either a marketing job or a PR task, there’s a large pool of shared roles that can be even more efficient when marketing and PR collaborate. I'm very excited to be working in a department which has recognised the importance of shared goals to encourage collaboration.

Whether, it be marketing, PR or internal communications the customer doesn’t care who within a company is talking to them. They just want engaging content that speaks personally to them and adds value.
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