As businesses everywhere learn to lead more with empathy, the PR industry is well positioned to assist in this transformative approach. Establishing and fulfilling a brand purpose is now an essential part of conducting business.
As this shift is underway, the PR industry continues its own evolution towards integrated marketing communications. Many PR firms have expanded their brand strategy and earned media expertise to embrace both digital marketing and performance media. As the lines blur between editorial and advertising—and the organic reach of content on social approaches zero—forward thinking PR firms are learning how to drive more ROI from their efforts.
As the experts in earned media and communications, PR firms are well positioned to craft performance media solutions that thrive on platforms where stories are told and deliver tangible business impact. The purpose of this post is to illustrate the value of performance media for PR firms and outline three PR-driven performance media strategies to enhance the impact of your existing programs.
The Value of Performance Media In PR
PR performance media at its core is data-driven digital marketing driven by content and story. The main advantage of this form of media is the ability to leverage primary research (the why) and data analytics (the what) to inform PR initiatives in real-time. It also delivers enhanced audience targeting, higher levels of engagement and measurable business impact.
Three Performance Media PR Strategies
The PESO model in PR embraces an integrated media landscape that takes a holistic view of your digital marketing universe from the vantage point of paid, earned, owned and shared media. Below are three PR-led performance media strategies I’ve used for Fortune 500 clients while running the integrated media teams at some of the largest PR agencies in the world.
1. Content Marketing & Distribution
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Earned media is especially powerful for filling your content marketing funnel, building pre-qualified audiences and reengaging them in an ongoing fashion towards a measurable customer acquisition.
They key to content marketing within a PR program is the sequence of messaging and ongoing data targeting that allows for optimal conversions down-funnel. This is best achieved through a service or software that allows you to amplify, distribute, sequence and optimize content aligned with your ideal user journey.
2. Social Media Performance Marketing
The decline in organic social media reach is no secret and long gone are the days of boosting your timeline posts and hoping for the best. The most impactful social media marketing programs take a campaign centric approach that places your client’s business objectives at the forefront of your strategy.
This approach is also known in some PR circles as ‘dark posts’ since they don’t appear directly on the brand timeline. In reality, they are simply social media ad campaigns created from the ads dashboards. What’s great about this approach is the ability to choose objectives aligned with various stages in the marketing funnel: awareness, discovery or conversion.
This approach is also extremely effective from an optimization standpoint since campaigns are structured to split-test creative assets and messaging in real-time. This is ideal for a PR agency that specializes in communication and messaging and wishes to drive more tangible results for their clients.
3. Publisher Partnerships & Native Advertising
Partnerships with publishers have evolved quite a bit in these last few years. What started as basic ads and pay-for-play advertorials, have now grown to encompass a variety of elements such as video production, social campaigns programmatic distribution and more.
The term Native Advertising now refers to any piece of content that matches the look-and-feel of the environment in which it’s placed. This type of content is labeled as ‘sponsored’ but is designed to look like editorial content ensuring a seamless user experience and much higher levels of engagement.
You can work with publications directly on this type of activation or leverage a software tool. Many tools will offer the ability to distribute branded content at-scale within thousands of premium publishers or directly into the newsfeeds of your target audience. Native Advertising is an extremely effective form of content marketing, especially when paired with the other performance marketing pillars such as social advertising and content marketing.
Learn More About PR-Driven Performance Media
Want to learn more about how a performance media strategy can drive ROI for your PR agency and clients? Then schedule a free 45 minute business strategy session with me and let’s talk shop.