Piecing together a successful marketing campaign can seem both expensive and overwhelming. There are many moving parts, and it can be tempting to think that some of them can be skipped. To some, it may even be unclear exactly what the differences are among public relations, advertising and social media strategies. However, these three tools in your marketing belt are most effective when used in conjunction with each other. In order to truly cover the bases of earned, owned and paid media, a brand needs a thorough strategy for public relations, advertising and social media.

Public Relations

In a time of explosive media, the marketing “noise” is getting louder and louder. Public relations is the tool that tells a compelling brand story that can rise above the noise and be heard. More than just driving home a snappy jingle or catchy tagline from an advertisement, public relations excels at messaging. Ultimately, a brand is a perception, and the role of public relations is to establish and shape those perceptions. Building out brand trust and credibility through public relations adds equity to your brand, making it more likely to secure earned media placements.

The publicity that is gained through public relations has an added credibility to it because a third party has decided to promote your brand of their own will, rather than being paid for it. Instead of joining a constant barrage of advertisements pushing how great your brand is into customers’ faces, public relations is a tool that lets others sing your praises.

Advertising

Advertising, particularly PPC advertising, can more easily be directly connected to day-to-day business strategy and objectives. This is because paid advertising drives measurable results and has detailed analytics. PPC also yields useful keyword and traffic insights that can help improve other marketing efforts. Additionally, unlike public relations, paid advertising is a method of guaranteeing placement, and retaining complete control over your brand message.

With an increasing amount of marketing tools, many marketing functions can now be better targeted. However, advertising still has the highest targeting capabilities to reach a direct audience. All of the qualitative information that PPC advertising can yield allows future advertisements to be tailored for quite broad goals, such as generating brand impressions, or to be targeted more narrowly by device, location or social signal.

Social Media

Similarly to advertising, social media marketing allows you to create and control your brand message. But unlike advertising, social media provides a real-time, open dialog between your brand and your customers. The dynamic interface of social makes it an invaluable tool for brands looking to connect with customers in a familiar way.

Customers connect with brands on social media for multiple reasons. Social media provides a real-time and inexpensive method for you to stay connected with customers and provide them with up-to-date information about products and promotions. However, customers also follow brands to be a part of that community. Social allows you to put a personal face on your brand and connect with your customers on a real-time and more experiential level.

Synergies

So hopefully it is now clear how public relations, advertising, and social media are all necessary to piece together a complete marketing strategy for your brand. But the real key here is what happens when all three tools are used together. Think of public relations, advertising and social media like a tripod. Each is an important element in holding up a complete marketing strategy. Incredible synergies happen when all three of these are successfully executed.

Paid advertising guarantees promotion of your brand, which can in turned aid in public perception of your brand and driving earned media. PPC advertising is also a direct way to drive traffic to your owned social media sites and increase conversions that way. Effective public relations that results in earned media is another vehicle to drive customers to owned media sites. Great public relations that results in many media placements can boost organic search rankings, driving more and more traffic to owned sites.

And finally, the dynamic capabilities of social media allow for success with the tool to be defined in multiple ways. If generating buzz or boosting customer sentiment are the ideal metrics of social media success, then your efforts may be more public relations oriented. But if you are looking for social to play a greater role in generating conversations, sales and other metrics that you would typically associate with advertising, then you can synergize your social media efforts with advertising.