Mar 14, 2019 / by Alister Houghton


I’ll level with you all: When I first started in my content marketing manager role here at Cision and read press releases about agencies being appointed to deliver “integrated” campaigns, I hadn’t the foggiest idea what that actually meant.

Actually, it’s worse than that. I thought it was a meaningless word, used to help elevate the importance of a campaign.

I’m pleased to say that 18 months later, I’ve learned the importance of integration, to the point where I’d now question why a campaign isn’t integrated.

It’s like turning up to a party and finding that the hosts are only playing music through a phone. It can still be a great party, but it would be better if there were some speakers to amplify everything.


Integration is easier said than done

However, if it was as easy as waking up in the morning and saying “today we’re going to do an integrated campaign”, everyone would be producing great campaigns which align comms, advertising, digital, social and content on a regular basis.

My latest white paper – Creating resonant integrated campaigns by using Earned Media Management – explores some of the stumbling blocks which hold comms teams back from doing this. In particular, it looks at two factors which hamper earned, paid and owned practitioners working together; their different workflows and the ways in which they measure their output.

Talking about workflows is always a risk, as more often than not it makes people’s eyes glaze over and tune out. It is a very real issue though, particularly at agency level, as trying to get ad, digital, brand and PR agencies to work together can be the marketing equivalent of herding cats.

The white paper features a number of different perspectives on how to solve this challenge, ranging from CommsCon star Gabriela Lungu relaying her tips to ensure teams work together all the way through to Threepipe’s Jim Hawker, who has looked to solve the problem by getting integrated services under one roof.


Measurement matters

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that someone working for a leading PR analytics company believes that measurement is an important part of creating integrated campaigns. I may be a bit biased, but it’s simple: If paid, owned and earned professionals are working to and tracking different objectives and goals, the campaign simply isn’t going to work.

While other marketing professionals are attributing their output to business objectives and outcomes, comms practitioners are all too often still assessing the success of campaigns based on coverage earned, rather than looking deeper and examining how this coverage impacted on organisational goals.

This lack of attribution has contributed to media spend by enterprises being split 95% paid, 4.5% owned and 0.5% earned, according to figures from Burton Taylor. To put it another way, advertisers have 190 times the budget of comms professionals.

If any of you doubt the importance of measurement and rigour in communications, let those figures sink in.


A concept to address these challenges

For PR and comms to be seen as a revenue driver, not a business cost, and reverse the hugely (and unfairly) lopsided budget differences, the industry has to take advertising on at its own game: using data to efficiently and effectively target audiences, amplify campaigns and attribute results to organisational objectives.

In the past, communicators have been limited by the availability of the technology which allows them to do this. Advances in tech mean this is no longer an issue.

However, comms professionals need a method to harness this technology. That is where the concept of Earned Media Management comes in.

Want to find out how? Then you’re going to need to download Creating resonant integrated campaigns by using Earned Media Management, which you can do by filling in the form below. An unsubtle tease, I know.

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About Alister Houghton

Alister Houghton is UK Content Marketing Manager at Cision, writing and commissioning thought leadership, interviews and opinion pieces covering the earned media, marketing and journalism spheres. As well as working in a variety of roles across the business, he has previously managed media and web content for the British American Football Association.