Anybody can tell you that your marketing strategy must align with your target market – but how many people tell you that public relations should be the secret weapon in your marketing strategy arsenal? Moreover, do you know how connected and important PR and content marketing are for business growth and brand impact?

The gap between these fields started closing recently and quickly, which is why you should jump on this emerging content strategy today.

Fear not! It’s never too late to leverage this approach in your content planning. You can form meaningful relationships with people who are in your industry and beyond it at any time.

Strong relationships give people reasons to do nice things for you – sometimes without even asking – which is why this marketing strategy is as worthwhile as it is effective.

Here’s how to do it.

How to Establish Relationships that will Lead to Brand Amplification

1. Brainstorm the exposure that your brand needs

We all want exposure, but what type of exposure will be best suited for your audience as well as your marketing strategy? Consider your target market profile. Ask yourself:

  • From where do they receive information?
  • Do they read, follow, or watch national or local newspapers or magazines?
  • Do they follow blogs?
  • Do they spend a lot of time on social media? Who do they follow?

The answers will direct you towards the type of exposure and relationships that you need to focus on. For example, this could be a news feature, a guest blog post, or an organic social media mention from an industry thought leader.

The type of exposure you are looking for may change depending on your marketing campaign and buyer persona.

2. Research the exposure market

Find the right people who can amplify your brand. The best way to do that is by finding them through publications that are on the forefront of your target’s mind (exercise #1). This will take some Google, Reddit, and Quora research. Be creative, but try the following:

  • Find magazines, niche blogs, and blogs that feature guest posts by Google searching: intitle: or intitle: guest post.
  • Look at retargeting ads and other ads that pop up in your social feeds. It’s likely that these companies have the same target market as you.
  • Search for niche news in Google News. Read the articles and document the publications and the byline writers. Understand the writers audience, style, and beat.

3. Build organized lists

Create some spreadsheets for the names, contact information, niches, and social profiles that you discover throughout your research process. Organize contacts based on their relevance to your brand, specific content pieces, and different buyer personas.

Use Linkedin, social networks, and Hunter.io if you’re having trouble locating their best point of contact.

Finally, remember to update these lists as you learn about emerging players in the market, or if your contacts have new achievements or announcements.

4. Reach out to the right people for the right reason – and be human about it

The absolute worst way to build relationships is by telling a stranger to do something for you that is of no benefit to them.

You should always get in touch with them for a good reason. Focus on building rapport. Use your detailed lists to influence your first point of contact strategy. You can try:

  • Congratulating them on social media for one of their latest achievements.
  • Writing them a personal thank-you email for their helpful article.
  • Sharing some valuable information (branded or not) that might improve their work or aid their audience.
  • Letting them know that you’ve included their product or brand in your last piece of content.

Engage with them. Offer to chat over the phone about a topic of interest or a question you have.

The point is that you need to offer something of value to build a relationship – this could be support, information, or conversation. Be persistent, present, and helpful.

5. Always ask and always display audience benefit

There are a lot of nice people who will happily share a piece of your content if they genuinely feel that it can help their audience. However, there are some people who aren’t so quick to give.

Get both of these types of people to share your brand or content by:

  • Asking if they would like to see your content or information.
  • Conveying how valuable your piece or brand is to the needs of their audience.

When you give a person something that they need, they will end up helping you amplify your brand in one way or another.

It’s in their brands best interest to share good material!

After you’ve established a relationship based on communication and valuable information sharing, you can move onto bigger fish such as featured/guest posts, social media takeovers, and branding and marketing collaborations.

6. Reciprocate

Always offer something in return without having them ask for it. It’s good manners and it shows them that you’re happy to support them, and help them grow their brand too. Praise and celebration go far.

If you’re trying to win a writer’s heart, then share their best work with praise on social media and tag them. If you’re impressed with another company’s latest marketing strategy, then write about it and send them the piece. Link to pieces in your blog that display good examples, and then tell the writer about it.

People are compelled to help you when you’re nice, and when you give them a reason to do so.

Trying a PR-Content Marketing Hybrid

When it comes to finding new marketing strategies to grow your brand, you need to consider every avenue. Brand amplification through a PR-content marketing strategy is a great hybrid approach to try.

In order to reap the benefits, you need to have a solid relationship with a brand or an individual. This relationship doesn’t come out of thin air – it is a product of deliberate and strategic research, detailed list-building, information sharing, and continuous communication.

If you want to increase your brand awareness, improve your backlinks, richen your domain authority, and make some new connections, then start here. The value that public relations brings to your marketing tactics will soon be obvious.