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Public relations + paid media = supreme brand visibility

An integration guide for health tech, biotech, and med device companies


Achieving visibility and building a strong brand presence is more critical and complex than ever for healthcare technology, biotechnology, and medical device companies.

Two powerful pillars of marketing that play a pivotal role in this quest for visibility are health technology public relations (PR) and paid media.

By understanding the distinct characteristics and strategic approaches of PR and paid media, and harnessing the power of their integration, businesses can supercharge their efforts to enhance their visibility, reach, and credibility.

Table of Contents

Understanding public relations and paid media

They’re like peanut butter and jelly

The power of integration

Synergies of public relations and paid media

Strategies for public relations and paid media collaboration

How to coordinate efforts to increase value

Measuring success

Establish the right key performance metrics (KPIs)

Challenges and considerations

Achieve messaging consistency without overleveraging resources

Future trends and innovations

Embrace an era of rapid change

Understanding PR

PR is a multifaceted discipline that manages and nurtures relationships between an organization and its various stakeholders. Its primary purpose is shaping public perception, building trust, and maintaining a positive reputation.

PR is vital in managing the delicate balance between the public’s perception of digital health vendors (and, equally as importantly, the healthcare organizations they serve) and the products and services they provide. It involves strategies and tactics such as media relations, press releases, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement.

Understanding Paid Media

On the other hand, paid media refers to advertising and promotional activities where businesses pay for media space to reach a broader audience. It includes channels such as paid search advertising, display and programmatic ads, sponsored content, social media advertising, and influencer marketing.

Paid media is instrumental in targeting specific demographics and ensuring that messages reach the right audience at the right time. For digital health or health tech solutions, there are many trade publications (Ex. Healthcare IT Today, HIT Like a Girl, and Swaay.Health) that are well suited for generating niche interest with advertorial content.

If the solution is unlike any the healthcare community or general public has ever seen, consider top-tier publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The power of integration

Integrating paid media and public relations can yield several key benefits:

1. Message amplification

Combining paid media’s reach and targeting capabilities with the authentic narrative of public relations can significantly amplify a message. Paid media allows organizations to boost content by paying for placements and ad space, ensuring it reaches a broader and more targeted audience. This amplification extends the reach of PR-generated messages, increasing the chances of them being seen and heard by a wider audience.

2. Reach expansion

Paid media brings the power of audience segmentation and targeting. By integrating this with PR’s storytelling and authenticity, an organization can effectively reach not only a broader audience but also a more specific one. It ensures that the message resonates with those who are most likely to engage with it. This expanded reach helps in building a more significant online and offline presence.

3. Enhanced brand visibility

The synergy between paid media and PR can lead to heightened brand visibility. PR efforts establish a strong foundation by fostering trust and credibility, and paid media can ensure that this message doesn’t go unnoticed. Whether through sponsored content, social media advertising, or search engine marketing, an integrated approach boosts brand visibility, ensuring the organization remains top-of-mind in the target audience.

4. Improved credibility

Public relations builds trust and credibility by nurturing relationships and presenting an authentic image. Organizations can further boost their credibility by integrating paid media, which is often associated with established media outlets and recognized platforms. Seeing a message through both earned and paid channels can reinforce its authenticity and significance in the eyes of the audience, making the brand or organization more trustworthy.

Note: Be sure to check out the PESO model to see how these benefits appear in a framework.

Strategies for PR and paid media collaboration

1. Coordinated messaging and content

Ensuring that PR and paid media messages align and reinforce each other is crucial for maintaining a consistent, trustworthy, and powerful brand narrative. It enhances the brand’s ability to reach and engage its audience, build lasting relationships, and adapt to the ever-changing media landscape.

Ultimately, a coherent brand narrative strengthens a brand’s position in the market and fosters brand loyalty among consumers.

2. Leveraging PR placements for paid content
Using paid media to promote and capitalize on PR placements is a strategic approach to enhance the reach, impact, and ROI of PR efforts. It leverages the strengths of both earned and paid media to ensure that your brand’s message is seen by the right people at the right time, fostering engagement and driving results.

3. Using PR events to boost paid media campaigns

Combining PR coverage with paid media promotion enhances your ability to create a strong and successful marketing campaign for events, product launches, and milestones. It allows you to reach a wider audience, target specific demographics, maintain control over timing, measure results, and adapt to changing marketing dynamics, ultimately leading to a more impactful and effective marketing strategy.

Measuring success

Establishing KPIs for both PR and paid media collaboration is crucial for gauging success, aligning efforts with goals, making data-driven decisions, ensuring accountability, optimizing resource allocation, and demonstrating the value of the collaboration. It serves as a roadmap for assessing the impact and effectiveness of the integrated approach in achieving overall communication and marketing objectives.

Paid media

  • Click-to-open-rate (CTOR) measures the percentage of users who click on a specific ad or link in relation to the total number of users who view the ad, indicating the effectiveness of an ad in driving user engagement and directing them to the desired destination.
  • Conversion rate refers to the percentage of users who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form, after clicking on an advertisement. It is a crucial metric for measuring the effectiveness of paid media campaigns in achieving specific marketing objectives and driving tangible results.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) is a performance metric in paid media that quantifies the revenue generated for each dollar spent on advertising. It is a key indicator of the effectiveness and profitability of a paid media campaign, helping advertisers assess the value of their ad investments.

Public relations

  • Media placements refer to the successful inclusion of a client or organization’s content, stories, or messages in various media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, online publications, or social media channels. These placements are sought to enhance visibility, credibility, and engagement with target audiences and are often a key goal of PR efforts.
  • Share of voice measures a brand’s presence or visibility in the media landscape relative to its competitors or industry peers. It assesses the proportion of media coverage and attention a brand receives compared to others within the same sector, helping to gauge its influence and market positioning.
  • Thought leadership refers to the strategic positioning of an individual or organization as an authority and expert in a specific industry or subject matter. It involves the development and dissemination of valuable, insightful, and innovative ideas, opinions, and content to influence and shape public perception, industry trends, and public discourse. Thought leaders are seen as go-to sources for information and insights within their respective fields.
  • Event attendance is crucial as it facilitates networking with stakeholders and the media, offers opportunities for brand exposure, thought leadership, and relationship-building, and provides insights for market research. Events also serve as content generation sources and enable publicity, product launches, and influencer engagement.

Integrated paid media and public relations

  • Synergy score is used to evaluate the level of cooperation and effectiveness between these two communication strategies. It quantifies the extent to which the combined efforts of paid media and PR create a more powerful and unified impact, measuring their ability to enhance message amplification, reach expansion, and overall campaign success.
  • Brand visibility metrics assess the extent to which a brand is seen and recognized in the target market. These metrics encompass data points from both paid media and PR efforts to evaluate how effectively the combined strategies enhance the brand’s overall visibility, encompassing factors like reach, audience engagement, and message resonance.
  • Trust index evaluates an audience’s trust and credibility in a brand or organization. It assesses the combined impact of paid media and PR efforts in establishing and maintaining trust, often using consistent messaging, authenticity, and positive associations to gauge the brand’s reputation.

Challenges and considerations

Integrating paid media and public relations can be a powerful strategy, but it comes with several challenges.

One primary challenge is achieving message consistency while balancing PR and paid media’s distinct goals and methodologies. PR emphasizes authenticity and credibility, while paid media leans towards controlled messaging for strategic reach. Achieving a unified message that maintains the trust-building aspect of PR in paid media content is no small task and requires careful coordination.

Another challenge is the need for adequate resources and expertise. Effectively integrating paid media and public relations demands a diverse skill set, from data analytics to media buying and content creation. Many organizations find it challenging to have in-house teams with the proficiency required for both disciplines. This often necessitates collaboration between different departments, which can lead to communication issues and a lack of alignment.

Additionally, achieving a coherent strategy necessitates a financial commitment, as both PR and paid media require budget allocations. Striking the right balance between these budgets and understanding their varying ROI can be complex. Despite these challenges, successful integration of paid media and public relations can yield remarkable results when navigated thoughtfully, enhancing an organization’s visibility, credibility, and engagement with its audience.

Future trends and innovations

Emerging technologies and tools for integration, such as AI-driven content generation and cross-channel analytics, will shape the future of collaborative marketing.

Look forward to more personalized and data-driven campaigns, increased use of influencer marketing, and deeper integration of PR and paid media in overall marketing strategies.

The symbiotic relationship between PR and paid media is undeniable. While they have distinct purposes and strategies, their collaboration can lead to unparalleled visibility and brand growth.

By aligning messaging, leveraging PR placements, utilizing PR events, and coordinating crisis management, digital health and health tech companies can unlock the full potential of this partnership. Through careful measurement of KPIs and a forward-thinking approach, PR and paid media integration will continue to be a driving force.

We’ve guided numerous health tech, biotech, and med device companies through the complexities of PR and paid media. Check out our case studies.