When you work for an agency, it’s more or less understood that you’re often not the only player in the client’s overall marketing mix. Vendors can include anything from design houses, advertising agencies, public relations specialists, and now more often than not, online marketing companies. Thanks to the new-age online/social universe, working together has never been so important, especially between PR and online, where there is an increasingly great deal of overlap.
With the opening of our Saint Paul branch, aimClear welcomed a team of traditional public relations pros who have since experienced the transition from PR guru to thoughtful community manager and future online marketing maven. Since then, we’ve dipped our toes into a wide variety of PR and online marketing tactics for clients, and we understand the value in working with others, now more than ever, to ensure we are gaining the best results possible for our mutual client.
For your viewing pleasure, we’ve created a list of tips and tricks to help make a better connection and working relationship between public relations and search/social professionals.
1. Like any relationship, COMMUNICATION is key, people.
Don’t just exchange business cards, be short, and then never follow up. AND don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep just because you are in front of the client. Be sure to leave the line of communication WIDE open. During your first meet and greet, exchange contact information, put a communication plan in place (who to contact for what), and follow it. It also never hurts to send a follow-up email after the meeting to solidify your commitment to making this work. Whether the other party is compliant or not it is always in your best interest to continue to make an effort. Developing a strong working relationship with your fellow agency partners right off the bat will not only show your commitment to the work but also your commitment to the client.
2. LEARN from each other!
Don’t assume the other knows exactly what you do. Offer introductory training on your specialties, whether SEO, community management, PPC, media pitching, content writing, etc. This will give both parties a clear understanding of what each agency does. You may also find out that members of the other team have experience in what you do making the transition a bit easier and it can also be an opportunity to find new ways to collaborate down the road.
3. OPTIMIZE the content.
Those from a traditional PR background understand the time and thought it takes writing content for a client whether an article, case study, press release, etc. And for a long time you never had to worry about whether or not you were including the right keywords, instead you were more concentrated on getting out the right key messages. Which don’t get me wrong, is STILL important but now you have more to think about.
Nowadays the game is different. The game is social. And the content you write is not just getting published in print, it is being re-purposed online, possibly for a blog, on the company’s website and pushed out via the company’s social channels. When they say, “content is king,” they mean it.
The intersection between social and SEO is becoming more and more significant. These facets should no doubt be working together, starting with the content that is produced. When you push out a piece of optimized content on behalf of your client be sure the post strategically includes your client’s keywords and if directing people back to the client’s website that the link is tagged properly so that traffic can be monitored.
4. SHARING is caring.
Sharing. One of life’s most simple acts of kindness is also one of the most important things to keep in mind while collaborating with others. Any content produced or coverage secured by the PR company should be shared with the online marketing agency handling the community management so that they can share with the online community. This gives the community manager an opportunity to engage with the media publication/editor and other relevant third parties.
Share your ideas with each other. If you see a conversation happening online that strikes a cord for a possible article or blog topic, pass along the idea to the content specialist and visa versa. Sharing ideas from what you see and hear in your day-to-day work that is applicable to the other party will help the overall success of the client’s marketing strategy.
5. NEW products, events and links…OH MY!
Collaborate! PR companies will usually be the first to know of any new product launches or upcoming events. Work together on building a tight plan that incorporates both PR and social and goes hand in hand with one another. The last thing the client needs is for two agencies to be on separate pages. Make sure content is written and shared among the social communities; media placements are secured, monitored and pushed out online; photos and videos are lined up, optimized and shared; all social channels are following and monitoring relevant media outlets, bloggers, etc.; product pages are optimized; and updates on event happenings, coverage, etc. are shared on an ongoing basis.
Link building is another great way for PR/online to work together. Share a list of media outlets (both traditional and blogs) and decipher which ones would help best with SEO. The PR expert can then help to define relevant newsworthy content to link to on these sites and so on.
No matter what side you are on, this process is going to take time and will be a learning process for all involved. New advances will come around that will continue to change the playing field. As long as you stay on top of them, keep the line of communication open and continue to produce the best work possible, results will come through and your client will be satisfied.
Photo Credit: © Ruslan Solntsev – Fotolia.com