Before digital media, public relations complimented franchise marketing campaigns, but didn’t contribute to them in a way that was measurable. While we know print media is an extraordinary driver of leads, measurement techniques for digital public relations are much clearer.
Earned media placements are an excellent way to flex SEO muscle in the marketing ring. Thought leadership who act as contributors to major publications with bylines not only add credibility to their brand, but those articles can be optimized for lead generation. Ideally, digital bylines will be backlinked to the author’s company website, but with Google’s updated algorithms, even a brand mention is considered an “implied link.”1 If the publication is renowned enough, it may turn up in searches for up to ten years, creating a lead generating machine that keeps on giving. Align owned and earned media to create content that bloggers and other influencers won’t be able to resist.
PR creates fresh content that can be curated and optimized in several ways. Each new press release or piece of earned media should be optimized and utilized in different ways across the web. Add it to the company blog and link it from the company website. Each article can be broken up into multiple talking points to be distributed along email drip campaigns, as well as timed out across social media channels. Add tagged images to correlate with the written message for more organic search for your franchise opportunities.
Speaking of social media, there is no better place to engage with an audience. Social channels are the new water cooler, club meeting and all around hang out space. It is a place of ever-changing guidelines that marketers must maneuver through, but when the right comment, tweet or post strikes, it is PR and marketing gold. User-generated content, which accounts for a 4.5% higher conversion rate than traditional social media marketing,2 is something PR departments should strive to perfect. Social listening is the new buzzword now that content marketing has earned its stripes and become a mainstay marketing method.
Tried and true community outreach can still make its way to the screen in measurable chunks. Companies that sponsor community events, or leadership who take on keynote speaking positions at professional gatherings, have an opportunity to get their URL and social media links out to the local masses. Whether it is a sign on the fence of a football field or a power point slide above a speaker, don’t rule out lead generation that “grows from the ground up.”
The digital realm is an exciting new frontier for PR professionals. Finally, there is a way to measure the fruits of their labor, creating a collaboration between the marketing and public relations departments that has been a long time coming.