Too often, an organization’s marketing, media relations, public relations, sales and content strategies exist in their own defined silos. At times, keeping things compartmentalized makes them easier to handle, but when it comes to building an effective organization-wide marketing strategy, “compartmentalization isn’t the best method,” says Taigen Thorne, SageAge’s Director of Public Relations and Media.
“An integrated, holistic approach,” says Taigen. “A smart plan of attack doesn’t leave sales off to do it’s own thing while the PR team tackles media placements.”
There is the risk that one team will, at some point, get it wrong. By not communicating or working in tandem, you risk one team saying something that contradicts the other team’s goals or objectives.
“When you’re not working together, the message you send is one of confusion and no customer likes feeling confused about the product or service they’re investing in, especially when it concerns a loved one’s well-being,” Taigen says.
In contrast, a well-integrated plan hums along like a well-oiled machine.
“Not only does your internal team feel well-informed, accomplished and cohesive, your audience gets the right picture,” Taigen explains. “Consistent communication takes effort, both upfront and regularly over the course of a plan’s lifespan, but pays dividends in the long run.” Let’s take a look at some of Taigen’s insights into crafting a PR plan that makes sense.
The Changing Landscape of PR
Public relations itself, long a key tenant in any well-structured marketing plan, is shifting as of late. The traditional method of public relations as an arm to bridge the gap between company and media is changing, mainly because media is changing. There are fewer newsrooms and fewer reporters to talk to, pitch stories to and cover company news and events. Reporters themselves are inundated with pitches as their numbers have shrunk and companies desires for coverage has grown.
In response, savvy public relations professionals have altered their methods. Rather than focusing on traditional media for coverage, many have expanded their definition of coverage to include highly sought-after bloggers, social media influencers, and online-only publications. Additionally, PR professionals have taken on more of a content-creation role, where they attempt to place “fully-baked” pieces of content in influential publications, or as part of a larger article.
All this change means it more important than ever that your PR efforts be integrated with the larger whole of your marketing plan.
Is your PR integrated?
Now that we understand the changing landscape of PR, let’s take a look at what makes a PR plan well-integrated.
Guideline 1: It’s based in a strong messaging foundation.
All marketers worth their salt understand the importance of all actions, strategies and behaviors within a marketing plan being driven by clear messaging.
A key tenet of an integrated PR plan is that the plan is driven by the same messaging, goals and objectives as the overall marketing plan. Creating a strategic messaging platform that runs through all of your marketing, including the PR portion of your plan, is a must.
A solid marketing plan is rooted in the brand identity of the organization it’s promoting. That brand must be driven by messages that convey the core values of the company, its differentiating characteristics and its mission. So to ensure you’re integrated, spend quality time identifying, clarifying and communicating the key messaging objectives you’re trying to accomplish.
Guideline 2: It includes actionable tactics.
No marketing plan will be effective if it doesn’t include actionable, well-thought-out tactics for achieving the messaging goals it sets out.
An integrated PR plan includes actionable tactics that work in harmony with the other tactics present in the marketing plan. That means that a press release doesn’t exist autonomously. Instead, the messaging present in it is communicated and shared via deliberate tactics. This can include social media, outreach to news sources, direct-messaging reporters on social media and much more.
To ensure your public relations plan is integrated, take a look at the tactics you’re employing for your PR goals and ensure they are in lockstep with the rest of your marketing tactics.
Guideline 3: It’s rooted in measurable data and outcomes.
PR can feel a bit nebulous, especially to the uninitiated. How can you measure, for example, the ROI on a mention in a blog post, or a quote from your company CEO in a magazine article?
That’s why it’s exceedingly important that your PR plan be held to rigorous metrics and outcomes that are defined at the start of your campaign and evaluated at the end of it.
There are a lot of different ways to measure success. It can be how much of a bump in web traffic your company sees. It can be a hard number of contributed content pieces placed in a certain time frame. It can be establishing relationships with specific reporters or influencers.
Whatever your measure for success, it’s important that your integrated PR plan outline those measurements and goals at its outset. Those goals and measurements should fit like a glove into the goals of your overall marketing plan. And, by doing so, you can show a clearer return on investment, which is an important thing to do, as companies have a tendency to look at marketing and PR first when considering things to trim.
By creating a PR plan with clear messaging, directed tactics and measurable goals, you can ensure your PR efforts fit closely with the efforts of your marketing team as a whole and get the most return in your investment. If you’re in need of some help ensuring your PR and marketing plans are in lockstep with your company as a whole, SageAge can help!
Integrated PR Expertise that Gets Results
If you are managing a senior living community and need assistance in creating breakthrough public relations that optimize your growth strategy and strengthens your brand, contact us today to learn more. SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.