PARTNERSHIP TREND ALERT: No more silos! PR and partnerships work best together
Today Melissa Feemster of Team Bespoke and Megan Stephenson-Dado talk specifically about PR and Partnership or Affiliate Marketing and how it can help your business create that 360 degree approach to make marketing messaging most effective.
In the past six months, a trend has gained steam in the United States where PR and Partnership messaging is being blended to the digital publication teams at publishers such as Conde Nast, Meredith, Vox Media and others. Brands who break down tried and tested silos and combine messaging efforts to talk about new products with both their PR and partnership or affiliate teams can be most effective.
Since the virus outbreak, traffic at these sites has increased between 30-50% YOY as consumers seek escape and news. Additionally, their client mix has drastically changed as Amazon and travel partners have pulled back from spend. If you’ve waited to invest in this channel, now is the time to jump in. Get a 15-25% revenue share ready within your affiliate channel, and call your PR agency to tell them to leverage their contacts to push products that are relevant - cozy clothes, skincare, family activities, and gifts for those you cannot see in person.
In our experience those that bridge the gap are the ones seeing higher conversions and revenues, not to mention happier teams and satisfied customers.
Why has this been happening?
The publications are investing in their digital commerce teams - hiring editors specifically for this role, hiring relationship managers for coordination, and setting goals for revenue internally.
Partner/Affiliate links and technology, such as that provided by Skimlinks, are turning up in more and more articles, along with clear disclosure that the publications do earn commissions from their recommendations.
Consumers love the curation and time saving research conducted by publications they trust.
What is the magic formula?
Team Bespoke works with a number of direct to consumer brands who have leveraged a strategy of the 360 degree approach by both the PR and affiliate teams to gain the best coverage. Rather than send the two teams out separately, coordinating their education and messaging prior to a release can increase coverage significantly, resulting in a proportional increase in sales.
Megan Dado Consulting on the other hand works with a variety of tech, wellness as well as traditional offline businesses. Her strategy leverages all elements of content to create consistent messaging across all channels in varying formats to help customers see and experience content dependent on their position in the funnel and market demographic.
Training/Education: Megan & Melissa
For new product launches, brands should be sure to educate both PR and affiliate teams on all of the messaging and newness. A one-sheeter is your friend and helps distill the information quickly. Be honest about your position in the market and how editors who see EVERYTHING will find this to be different. Make sure your one pager contains:
Why are these products or services different than prior releases and/or the competition?
What specific market need does this product or service meet? Who are the key customers and what are their needs and wants from this product?
Did stock sell out the last time we released a similar product or service in a different variation or color?
Do you have images of celebrities or highly regarded influencers using your product? Show them! Publications will be less hesitant if you have endorsements already to validate your brand/product.
Is there a higher margin on Product X or Y? Are there 5 products with the deepest stock?
Will the site or instore be the only place consumers can find this product or is wholesale or white label also involved?
What words are best to use and avoid when describing the launch?
Who are the competitors in this product or service launch and what is their current campaign looking like?
Links to key product images so the editors don’t need to ask!
As has been traditional in the PR world for some time, gifting is critical in gaining the trust of the writers - both on the commerce and editorial side. Budget for gifting and be sure to get the product in their hands 30-45 days ahead of launch if possible.
Create and spread content consistently: Megan
I am endlessly talking to business owners that are creating fantastic content that is hugely supportive for their customers. However it sits somewhere in a video, a blog post or presentation they did with a set group of people. Salesforce says it takes 6-8 touchpoints to get a viable sales lead. In my experience with Attribution back at Rakuten I would say it's roughly 3-6 months for a purchase to happen in the online space for anything below the price of a television. I will also note that no one is eating, living and breathing your business and your product but you. So let's remind them and showcase our content in a variety of different ways to help them understand and see how your product or service will remove something in their life that is otherwise causing them discomfort.
Relationships: Megan & Melissa
Creating consistent and collaborative experiences with brands and publications removes the need for useful energy being held in silos and formalities. With PR and Affiliate or Partnership team members working together publication by publication it reduces duplication of work while increasing conversion and revenues.
Build relationships across both PR and partnerships with contacts and coordinate outreach so that the brand doesn’t look disjointed. Time emails/calls and share contact information freely so that you can create a buzz that looks effortless to the publisher.
Get your Teams or Agencies to talk and work together: Megan
Gone are the days where PR and Partnerships or even search live and breath different worlds and objectives. If you are outsourcing or doing thing in-house get everyone in the same room, remove the competition and create goals that everyone can collectively work towards. I have seen the best and most productive marketing dollars spent with different specialty agency sitting around one table regularly.
Melissa is the co-founder of Team Bespoke, a digital marketing consultancy. Melissa’s true passion is meeting people, learning about brands, and connecting each to revenue. After getting her MBA from Wharton, she built a career at Rakuten, becoming GM of the US and UK business. She left Rakuten to incubate two businesses in fashion-tech, one of which was acquired by Google in 2018. For specific examples of how we’ve driven this success for clients, please visit our website or drop us an email - we are happy to spread the word about how a 360 degree collaboration across channels drives the best sales results!
Megan is the owner of MD Consulting and Co-Founder of Genius Advisers, growth hacking consultancy. She spent 10 years working in London England in the CRM/Data, Tech and Affiliate/Attribution space with companies like Rakuten and AIMIA. Megan is a data Madhatter and Growth Hacking Obsessive. She works with business owners to optimize existing revenue channels and create new ones through identifying customer needs, market and product fits and generating and rolling out the strategy to increase profitability and revenue for businesses. For specific examples and more information about Megan can support you and your business growth get in touch.