Strategically Integrating PR With Marketing To Build And Feed Sales Funnels

James Rostance speaks with Debby Penton, MD at Wildfire PR about strategically integrating PR  campaigns with marketing in order to provide continuous qualified business leads.

Content Covered:

  • How strategical integrated PR differs to traditional methods
  • How to integrate PR campaigns with marketing to generate leads
  • Favourite current example of an integrated campaign which delivers consistent sales leads
  • Secrets to a successfully integrated PR & marketing campaign

– This week on THE 414, it’s about strategically integrating PR and marketing to build and feed sales funnels. Hi, I’m James Rostance and welcome to THE 414. Each week we’ve some of the greatest minds in marketing and joining me today is a lady who’s an expert at integrating PR campaigns with sales and marketing funnels to provide continuous, qualified leads. Welcome Debbie Penton.

– Hi James.

– So Debbie, your approach to PR is different to the traditional way, which most professionals take. Could you tell me about that?

– Traditionally, PR has always been about getting media coverage. You write a press release and send that out, do a media event, talk to a journalist and it’s always measured in the clippings that you can generate. The problem with that is it doesn’t really have any meaning to the business. It can’t really be measured and this has perpetuated the perception that PR is a black art, rather than a critical tool. I like to recommend approach that’s focused more on business impact, where coverage isn’t a result, but it’s a means to an end. It’s a means to driving people to take action, visit a website, download a report, attend an event. This way, PR can be more closely aligned with marketing and can be measured as a result.

– So how do you set about implementing your approach and what are the advantages?

– I think it’s important to understand how buyers are actually searching for information. So traditionally, PR would be very one-dimensional and would look very much at just generating kind of earned media coverage. These days, people are looking at email, they are reading publications, they’re looking on the web, they’re going to Google or looking at social media. And so PR needs to take that into account and to be truly integrated with marketing, needs to be able to create campaigns that work across all of those different channels. And that content then needs to be broken down from press releases, blogs, articles, tweets, you name it, to email marketing. And by doing this, then the two can work really well together and you can actually create measurement and measure people’s journeys throughout the sales funnel.

– So what would you say is your current favorite example of an integrated campaign that you’ve delivered?

– My favorite example at the moment, because we recently won an award for it, is a campaign for a web-content management system client that we have. We created a really exciting report about the future of mobile shopping, that had so many news angles that we were able to keep that report alive for the course of a year. With lots of people coming to find out more about the report, through links in the coverage and download that report and handover their details to the client. We got 700 people organically come and download the report and the client was able to measure that of those, five turned into sales. And given that they’re selling these at hundreds of thousands every single time, that was a fantastic ROI for the client.

– And finally, what would you prescribe as being the secrets to a successful integrated PR and marketing campaign?

– So the secret to a successful campaign is to take the time at the beginning to really understand your audience, to understand what challenges they’re facing. What are the trends in the market? What are the hot topics? And when you understand that, you can really create a story that resonates with them on a human level. Don’t be tempted to talk about product, or your marketing messages, this campaign has to cut through by all of your competitors and really get the mind of the journalist in there as well. And once you’ve done that, you’ve got content that can work across all of your marketing channels, really fuel your marketing programs. So you can measure it in terms of leads and ultimately impact on the business.

– Debbie, thank you very much for joining me today.

– Thank you for having me on, James.

– If you would like to learn more about strategically integrating PR with marketing and how it could work for you, then visit THE414.net to watch extended content in THE414 extra. I’m James Rostance, thank you for watching.

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The 414 EXTRA

James Rostance speaks further with Debby Penton, MD of Wildfire PR on the content covered in this week’s main show:

– The challenges marketers face when setting up an integrated campaign.
– Creating a campaign that can provide a year’s worth of content which the media picks up and runs with.
– Packaging and preparing content for optimal absorption in keeping with current attention spans
– Qualitative and quantitative statistics to add power and punch.

– Hi, I’m James Rostance and welcome to The 414 Extra. This is where we get to deep dive now into the content we’ve just covered in the main show and joining me still is Debbie Penton from Wildfire PR.

– Hi.

– Debbie, so I thought it’d be good to look into the challenges that marketers commonly face when they set about setting up an integrated campaign. Could you tell me a bit more about that?

– Sure, one is that marketers have almost no time on their hands and multiple channels that they’re already experts actually creating from a demand generation point of view. In terms of how to create a story around their brand that resonates with lots of different audiences, it’s kind of hard to lift yourself out of the weeds when you’re working on the same product or set of services every single day. It’s great to work with people who can actually help elevate that story and think about the bigger picture. Also, think from the perspective of journalist because if you can put PR at the beginning of a marketing campaign then it almost super charges it with good things like back links and coverage, being able to found through SEO. Those are things that a marketing person can’t achieve on their own and can be achieved through those connections into the media.

– Okay, in the case example that you gave, as well. You managed to make one report last over the course of the year. How do you actually set about repurposing that? Are you actually repurposing? Or, how would you set about doing that?

– I think the case is that we’ve done this for many years. In the past, PR people used to do research, send out a press release and that was all they did with it. These days we do a lovely piece of research or some thought leadership. We create a lovely report but we almost pre-put into those lots of different news angles. Thinking, right how many times can we reuse that? So, we set about reuse from design and we make sure that once we’ve announced one angle, we hold another load back so that we can keep going out with different kinds of stories but they all relate to that central piece of content. Then everything that we do, whether that’s social media posts or press releases, or articles or blogs, all have links back to the download page where that report might be held. It can also then be used for marketers for webinar content and presentations and even put in sale stats. So, it can be a really valuable piece of content that you can reuse and reuse. The important thing being is the world doesn’t need more content, it needs better content and that’s the kind of thing that we’re trying to create.

– One of the other things I’m acutely aware of is the attention span of viewers and readers. How do you manage that with these reports, and setting up these integrated campaigns?

– I think that the pieces of content that we engage people with are usually shorter form. They’ll be short articles with a few hundred words, or blogs, or press releases, or tweets. If people are interested then in finding out more, they’ve got a path to conversion really. They can go well that’s an interesting story, let me go and find out more. At that point they download the report. We make sure these reports are really easy to read, very compelling visually, stimulating, and not turgid white papers. But, ultimately, as far as the kind of market is concerned, they’re really interested in those people’s data. So, it’s like we don’t really mind if they read that report or not, but if they exchanged their data in return for the report that’s the gold dust that the marketers can then use to feed into that marketing funnel.

– And win your case. It sounds like you’re also putting a lot of work into actually making it a qualitative report that the readers will actually likely consume in full.

– Yeah, and I think that’s because qualitative and quantitative stats give you lots of different angles and thought leadership and stories that you can build. So, if you’ve got a nice stat that makes a nice headline but we also want to think about the context of why that statistic is why it is. And position our clients as adjacent to that story so that people automatically think they’re experts in the subject matter.

– Great stuff. Debbie, thank you so much for your time today.

– My pleasure.


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