The idea that public relations and sales should always have a direct, positive correlation is a common misconception. In a dream world, yes, a well-executed PR campaign will eventually lead to higher sales, but it won’t happen overnight.
The North Star of public relations is increased brand awareness through media placements with high impressions—and everything else comes second to that. Public relations professionals are generally not trained to think in terms of sales, but rather in terms of top-tier media leads and placements. While not an exact science, increased media placements = increased consumer awareness, but increased media placements do not always directly equal increased sales.
Website and social traffic (and site clicks!) are likely to rise after a brand or product is featured in media stories, but that won’t guarantee the reader actually makes a purchase. The missing link here can be several things, including marketing efforts, social media engagement, and more.
So, what is linked to sales?
Affiliate public relations and marketing, however, are more closely tied to sales. This is where a public relations or marketing professional will work directly with affiliate marketers at media companies (but this can also be managed through brands’ affiliate network accounts) to ensure proper tracking of sales as a direct result of a media placement (assuming that brands are using affiliates). Think: ShareASale, Shopify, Rakuten, Amazon, and more. Affiliate marketing is also likely to increase a brand’s media placements, as many media companies make a profit if a sale occurs as a direct result of media inclusion, which means writers and editors are more likely to include a brand in articles because there is a potential for compensation. This is even more likely to be the case as the media industry continues to change and big publishers look to monetize in different ways.
"Traditional PR is vital for brand recognition and social proof, while affiliate is vital for tracking the financial impact of PR coverage and incentivizing ongoing coverage through commission tactics. Without the two working together, you lose a big chunk of the pie," says Emma Grace Moon, an Affiliate Marketing Consultant. One isn’t exactly a clear substitute for the other.
Because we know editors are looking for products and brands on affiliate networks, Press Hook has an option for editors to filter and search for brands by various affiliate networks, which allows them to find what they’re looking for more quickly—and help your products get noticed. At Press Hook, we see affiliate PR and marketing as an extension of traditional pitching and have seen success when brands utilize both methods.
Want to know more about how affiliate marketing works and how it can benefit your brand? Click here for an explainer.
When executed properly, traditional public relations, marketing, affiliate marketing, and social media content should all work together to increase brand awareness, engagement, and (finally!) sales. It’s a delicate balance and should be approached as a flexible strategy in which one funnel does not overpower the other. So while no, PR does not equal increased sales, it still has an important role to play in helping you get there.