Typically, public relations is focused on building the reputation of a company, while traditional marketing practices like online advertising are used to define the brand.
However, as the marketing landscape has grown larger and campaigns have become diversified, it’s become clear that even traditional public relations strategies can play an important role in building brand.
In 2016, it’s time to bring branding & PR together under one umbrella. Here’s how:
Share Your Stories
Story telling has always been a successful marketing strategy.
Story telling helps to bring concepts to life and to create an emotional connection with your audience.
A lot of what you do with your public relations makes for great stories. You can turn your community events, customer success stories, and even your employee exploits into some great stories.
For example, if you are a financial advisor, you can share stories of customers who found big success with their trades. If you are a personal trainer, you can share stories about you and fellow trainers who participated in a fitness challenge.
These stories help to show your customers about your brand values and what you have to offer.
Highlight Your Employees
Your employees are the heart of your company.
Yet most companies only talk about their end result, or what they can do for customers. They don’t show a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes to make that happen.
Showing off your employees and your work place helps with both public relations and branding.
Give a tour of your office, or talk about why your company is such a great place to work. Share your employee’s success stories, such as accomplishments they achieved or ways they went above and beyond for customers. For example, if you have a weight loss company, you might share an employee’s fitness journey.
Your company culture and your employees’ work shows off what you value as a brand. You bring those same values to your products and services, so you are showing your customers what they can expect from you.
Establishing leadership can help you build authority for your brand, and you can do so through some of your PR events.
For example, you can attend conferences or other industry events as a presenter or speaker and then share that information with your audience. You will quickly establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
If you can land a high-profile speaking engagement, like a TED talk, you can also get a lot of online exposure for it.
You can also establish authority with thought leadership, such as by writing editorials. Get these published on the highest-authority sites for the most exposure, such as a major newspaper or website in your niche.
Other opportunities include online courses and webinars.
Create Educational Campaigns
Your outreach events shouldn’t be about just promoting yourself, but also helping your customers.
A great way to do both is to create an educational campaign.
For example, if you sell dog clothing, you can create an educational campaign about the importance of dog grooming or about how to identify health issues in pets through behavioral problems. If you are a consulting company, you can create an educational campaign about the issues you address, such as financial literacy or tax obligations.
You can share your campaign through ads, videos, white papers, and more. These free resources will be of great value to your customers, and they will establish your brand as an authority in your niche, which will create more exposure and drive your sales.
Endorsements are at the heart of public relations, but they can also help you with your branding.
Links from authority sites are essentially endorsements of your brand, and if they are placed in the right context, they also help to define your brand. You don’t just want any link to your page — you want your link nestled in an informative article in the context of naming you as an authority or pointing to your page for more useful information.
You can also get endorsements in the form of sponsored reviews. You pay other sites to review your products or services, and they write the review. It can’t really be an endorsement if you are paying them what to say. But if you have a good product, you don’t need to worry about what will end up in the review.
Many other forms of public relations can be used to help brand your company, such as government relations and lobbying, investor relations, employee communication, and crisis communication. How you handle these strategies says a lot about your company’s approach to your work, which helps to define your brand.
Stop seeing public relations and branding as separate entities. Make 2016 the year that you combine your efforts to get more from your marketing.