While Public Relations (PR) has always been a complementary procedure to traditional promotions, digital marketing has come up as the most potent source of leads and sales in recent times. Considering the nature of these two activities, some people wonder if they can be merged into one. Especially in recent years, with the increasing quality orientation of the search engines, we are seeing a gradual shift in digital marketing towards quality rather than quantity, thus taking it all the more closer to PR. Let us have a look at this issue in detail from three major perspectives.
Content marketing has been the buzzword in digital marketing of late. What does it basically mean? It is all about creating quality content that is useful and informative to the prospective customers so that they perceive you as the authority in the field and purchase your product or services in the long run.
This has become necessary because competition is too high and the internet is saturated with information. The only way for you to stand out is to create exceptional content. Also, search engines are also getting smarter and they value long, in-depth content instead of desperate link-bait articles.
Now, this is where the PR comes in. In fact, this is something they have been doing for ages. PR material naturally needs to get published in the mainstream media. So, the quality of their content must be up to the mark. So, they have the requisite skills to play a major role in content marketing by standardizing the content creation and more importantly by getting published in major publications.
As we know already, gone are the days of spammy, bulk link building. You do not have to get thousands of links from random websites to improve your SEO. What the search engines value instead is quality back links. You do not need hundreds or thousands of them. A handful of links from reputable websites such as major newspapers or authority sites in your field are worth their weight in gold.
Progressive companies have seen the need to diversify content in order to attract links. Companies have used Infographics and Instructographics combined with blogger outreach to attract links. Others, like Shopify, use widgets and templates to attract links by providing a free service of value. Brands need to focus on creating something of GENUINE value, something that others are not offering, that solves a pain point for their audience.
Now, again this is something where PR expert excel. PR specializes in leveraging contacts to create publicity in major publications. Where does SEO end and PR begin, or vice versa? Essentially the roles are the same, but PR experts have been building their networks for decades.
Just like any other medium, social networking is maturing now after initial turbulent years. Even here we are noticing emerging trends that suggests the importance of quality content as well as influencer endorsements. Authority and reputation matters more now compared to volume and showmanship.
So, yet again this plays perfectly for the PR experts. For instance, getting shared on Facebook or retweeted by a celebrity or an authority figure of your field can do wonders to your business. Generally such people have thousands or even millions of followers. One such share can get you thousands of visitors. But the question is, how do you get such people to endorse you? This is exactly where your PR manager comes in handy. After all, building contacts is what she does for a living. Modern day PR also includes getting approval of influential figures on social media.
The road ahead:
PR must evolve to adopt new technologies and at the same time digital marketing must mature to build media presence and authority. While PR and digital marketing always had overlapping operations, now we can safely say that both are on the verge of becoming synonymous. SEO agencies, in-house digital departments, and others that are involved in this field need to rapidly adapt to use the same techniques as PR agencies, and vice versa. This evolution is inevitable.