The Art of Integrating Marketing and PR: How They Can, and Should, Work Together

By Maggie Markert

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, marketing is focused on selling products or services to end-users (whether those users are consumers or businesses) and helping them understand the value of those products or services. Public relations (PR), on the other hand, is described as the art of preserving a positive public image for a company, organization, or individual. 

Based on these definitions, it is not surprising these entities within a company are often kept separate, as are many of their activities. However, by siloing marketing and PR, companies and organizations are missing out on opportunities to leverage both entities to their advantage. 


The Messaging

Companies that are looking to integrate their marketing and PR efforts should start with their messaging – whether they be at a corporate level or a product/service level. While messaging may be conveyed differently in a marketing piece compared to a press release or pitch to the media, the overall takeaways should be the same. 

When corporate or product/service messages are not aligned, it can lead to confusion and even a lack of trust. In order to avoid this, both the marketing and PR groups should host a joint session to outline and approve the messaging in all of its forms. And, this should be repeated each time the company is set to introduce new products, services, or initiatives.  


The Plan

Companies should also always be on the same page regarding planning. Marketing and PR plans should be developed in conjunction with one another either annually, bi-annually, or quarterly. 

Not only should these plans align when it comes to major initiatives such as product/service launch or an acquisition, but also content and social media that falls in between. The plan should lay out all initiatives, outline how they can be leveraged by both groups, and include key messages to be conveyed. 

For example, if a software company is unveiling a new feature of its solution, there should be a press release and coordinated media outreach planned. These PR initiatives should align with the exact time the marketing group’s email and social media campaigns to their target audiences or current prospects and customers are deployed. 

The Content

Companies often miss the mark when it comes to leveraging content across marketing and PR. This can be attributed to the fact that PR can consider some marketing pieces to be too self-serving and overly promotional for the media. In contrast, marketing may think a PR piece is not product- or service-specific enough for their target audiences. 

While that may be true, it doesn’t make it impossible for any piece of marketing or PR content to be transformed into something that can be used for either purpose. Here are some examples:

  • White Papers: This type of long-form content, which takes great effort to develop, typically offers guidance from a company or organization on a particular topic – whether it be in healthcare, technology, education, and more – or a product and service related to that topic. Once developed and finalized, white papers are often gated on a company’s website and used in paid social media or email campaigns to generate leads for the sales team to pursue. For PR, a white paper can serve as the foundation for a byline that showcases the company’s thought leadership on that topic.
  • Data Sheets: This type of technical content can often be seen as “too in the weeds” for PR purposes as it outlines key details surrounding a specific product, service, or piece of technology and uses a lot of industry jargon. One key benefit of this type of content is that it can clearly outline key paint points and benefits in the industry that back up why the product, service, or technology is needed. These points can then be generally outlined in a thought leadership pitch to key trade media in the company’s industry or vertical. 
  • Bylines: This type of content is purely about thought leadership. These pieces set the stage for a company, and describe why their product, service, or idea is important without being promotional. Once this content is published by a media outlet, the piece can often be added as a news or resource item on a company’s website that includes a link back to the publication as well as a short, high-level summary of the piece and the point of view it makes. This enables the company to drive traffic to its website first before pushing the traffic to the piece. (Please note, companies should check with the publication that originally published the piece on their specific guidelines for reposting prior to adding it to the website.)
  • Earned Media Coverage: PR teams work hard to garner earned (unpaid) media coverage for a company. This coverage can include executive profiles, product or service mentions, or thought leadership pieces like bylines or op-eds, and they help to  build credibility by acting as third-party validation. Given this, these pieces should be repurposed for various marketing initiatives such as social media or monthly email newsletters/round-ups to prospects and customers. 

The Time (Is Now)

It is never too late for a company to integrate its marketing and PR efforts. If time is taken to review current plans in both entities within the organization, there may be items that both teams can capitalize on in the interim while more in-depth planning occurs. 

Contact Zer0 to 5ive to learn more about how your company can begin to align marketing and PR.