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Unlocking synergy by integrating PR and Digital

The lines between marketing and PR are becoming increasingly blurred. Throw digital in to the equation and things get very complicated. In an age when information saturation is at an all-time high, brands must constantly look for new ways to cut through the noise and deliver meaningful messages. One of the ways they are doing this is by adopting an integrated marketing-advertising-digital-PR strategy which transcends traditional ideas of how brand messages are communicated.

For years PR and Digital have worked single-handedly, yet what clients and brands are failing to realise is how well they can work together and more importantly, learn from each other to provide an all-round stronger and successful campaign.

Digital marketing has become the shiny new buzz word being used at every opportunity in the marketing and communications industry.  When it comes to content creation and implementation, digital and PR can be very powerful. Clients are recognising the importance of top quality content especially when interesting and engaging content can improve a site’s SEO. Typically, web masters and SEO experts work to improve the rank of sites through Google but by also creating high quality and innovative sites that consumers will want to use and share. Once the technical part is thought out, it is imperative to focus on producing interesting, eye catching and shareable content that is appealing to the target market, which PR agencies have the experience in. The PR industry has been writing eye catching content for years for brand campaigns, be it last minute or pre planned, so it makes sense that content creation is something that can benefit digital marketing.

Digital can learn a lot from PR in how to manage a crisis should it arise, such as bad situations, unhappy customers, customer complaints, etc. This also focuses on the reputation on the brand and how PR can look after this. William Orr, MD of home installations, British Gas, has predicted that reputation is going to be big for companies in 2016.

The PR function requires a constant online presence in its daily activities. Media monitoring is no longer confined to the newspapers, extending to online news sites, news aggregate sites and blogs depending on the client’s needs. Social media is one such grey area which straddles both PR and digital marketing functions. However social media cannot be approached with the same mind frame as any other form of media.

New media is both an opportunity and a challenge for PR practitioners. It is an opportunity for PR practitioners to strengthen relationships with consumers, which underpins all PR campaigns. It also allows them to reach new consumers faster and easier than can be done with traditional media. However it is also a challenge because of the loss of control over the message. One of the defining elements of online media, whether it is social media or online publications, is its ability to open up a two way conversation between brand and client.

PR, advertising and marketing all seek to achieve the same goal; brand building. How they vary is in their methods. By integrating marketing communications a synergy is unlocked which can create truly memorable campaigns.

Ciara Macken and Andrea Wubben

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