What is involved in PR?
Every brand approaches public relations differently but there are a few essential elements to include. Most importantly, it's about content development. Whether you are planning an online or offline strategy, preparing your content is the first step to your success. You need to decide on your message and strategy before writing good, compelling content for your audience. Remember that the web is constantly flooded with press releases, many of which contain little actual “news”. One would do well to really consider what the target audience would finding interesting. So, your office just received new chairs in the cafeteria – keep that to yourself, nobody cares – however the launch of new product, your sponsorship of industry, community, and charitable events might actually get more traction. The more compelling and bookmark/favorite/link-worthy your news, the better.
Some of the areas you may choose to involve in your online and offline PR strategy could include press tours, journalist outreach, appearances on local TV and radio shows, social media marketing, and trade show activity (beyond just standing behind the booth!).
Understanding the potential for all methods will help you to develop a creative and effective public relations strategy to build your brand and help you communicate with your audience. Keep in mind that traditional PR has changed over the years and in the modern landscape you now have more opportunities and platforms on which to promote your message.
Modern PR Methods
We’d argue that traditional PR should not be completely overlooked in your quest to tackle New Media opportunities. For example, the value of your appearing as a panelist on a business news program will bode well with a B2B audience, should that be your demo.
Consumer behavior continues to evolve however and people are looking to the internet first for anything and everything they may need. In addition to SEO and ensuring overall site health, consider incorporating some of the following into your digital marketing efforts in an effort to capitalize on the expanded reach of modern PR:
- Journalist Outreach – set up your own Google Alerts for topics of interest. Learning who covers those stories gives you a lead on who to woo (maybe that should be “whom” but it’s catchy the other way). Speed up the process with services like HARO , ProfNet , and PitchRate that will connect you with journalists looking for stories and quotes right away.
- Online Press Releases – yes, these have been abused over the years but the medium is far from dead. Just make yours truly newsworthy, don’t spam up the link to your website, and only use them when you’ve got something to say.
- Influencer Outreach – several tools are available for finding out who resounds with your desired audience on social media. These folks/brands could become advocates for you over time if you tastefully establish a good relationship with them. Influencers turned Brand Advocates mimic the public relations function with the added benefit of a deeper level of trust among their followers.
- Video News Releases – take advantage of our increasingly visual nature online. Your targets are bombarded with text and video is a sharable, welcomed change of format.
It’s about credibility
An important goal of effective PR is to develop credibility for your brand by including voices other than your own. The fact is that people are more inclined to support a business that has positive reviews and favorable press coverage. Developing credibility will also help coax leads through the sales funnel, by adding those extra layers of assurance that your brand is “for real”, respected as an authority, and multidimensional.
By developing a thorough public relations strategy you can help to effectively position your brand as a market leader and stand out from your competitors. Always consider your specific marketing goals and focus budget, time, and effort on those PR methods with a high probability of propelling your business to new levels of success.
Public relations is not just for Fortune 500 companies. Every online business should work some aspect of it into the overall digital marketing plan.