By Megan Paquin, APR, CPRC
Working as a public relations professional in a full-service advertising agency might make me a little biased, but I believe in integrated marketing communications strategies. Paid, earned, owned and shared media each have their own roles in achieving goals for our brands, clients and stakeholders. Yet, I was surprised to see at the Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference when digital marketing expert Megan Harris polled the audience revealing many public relations professionals were unaware of digital marketing resources that are enabling marketing professionals to better target and influence key publics.
In public relations and marketing, our overall intent is to change behavior. Whether that is to encourage someone to buy our goods or services, or to think differently about our brands’ reputation. Public relations is hands down the most powerful tool (in my humble opinion) to gain endorsement and influence, yet I see time and again that reliance on earned, owned and shared media is sometimes not enough. Sometimes, we need a little rocket fuel.
Enter: digital marketing. My colleague Cristina Howard, director of digital media and analytics at &Barr, broke down for us the basics of digital marketing and, along with Fiona Cooke, director of southeast sales for Nativo, the ways public relations professionals can use to boost our efforts. Today’s digital marketing landscape extends far beyond the realm of display banners. We learned about native content, the next generation of advertorial where public relations professionals can place narrative content within the native settings of the websites where our target audiences are currently engaged. We also learned that programmatic advertising allows us to amplify high performing owned, earned and shared content, and boost it directly to those audiences who are most likely to engage with our message.
For me, the takeaways of this chapter meeting were that we can and should look to paid initiatives like digital marketing as an opportunity to add rocket fuel to our initiatives. With a greater understanding of the lingo and technologies available to do so, FPRA members can make sound recommendations to their stakeholders about when and how to leverage these technologies to move the needle. That’s pretty smart, definitely engaging and a lot of fun to see when it all comes together in successful integrated campaigns.