By Samantha Scott, APR
The news media is dying. Fake news is rampant. People only use social media to get information. You’ve likely heard all of these at some point. While the way we obtain and consume information has changed (especially rapidly in the last five years), it does not diminish the importance or need for strategic, effective, public relations.
As an accredited public relations (PR) professional, I’d like to share three strategies for revamping your public relations approach and using it to benefit your brand.
1. Work with the media
Sure, you might see that and think, “Wow, that’s novel. Not.” I know it sounds simple, but hear me out.
If you have PR staff or if you’re doing PR, you’re probably aware of just how much the media landscape has changed. There are fewer reporters asked to do more than they used to. They have to source information, do interviews, write, capture photos and/or videos, post to social media, field tons of pitches, and review a multitude of news releases, etc. It’s not easy.
So, to throw back to sales and public speaking expert Dale Carnegie’s suggestion in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” – one of the best ways to get what you want is to help the other party.
Translate that for today – work with the media; Help them. Here are a few examples:
- Respond to them promptly.
- If you send them info about your business or organization, provide additional assets (not just a pitch or release), including video, photos, and audio.
- Know them/your audience (targeting, providing the right info to the right people)
2. Extend the shelf life of your publicity.
Don’t let your public relations efforts work in a vacuum. All of your marketing and communication strategies and tactics should work together. Don’t waste a good story!
If you earn positive media coverage, be sure to share it. You can leverage it beyond the single article or news cycle. Consider the tools in your communication toolbox… we have so many more with the advent of social media and, going further back, the Internet.
Here are a few ways to extend the shelf life of your publicity.
- Promote it on your organization’s social media channels (and be sure to tag the publishing outlet to give them a little social media love, too!)
- Include it in your next newsletter… Don’t copy/paste it, but write something explaining why this is important and link to the publication/article.
- If you have a newsroom on your website, link to the article or news story. This will help generate more awareness and help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as you add fresh content to your site.
3. Owned Media
This is the perfect segue to my third tried and true strategy for public relations success. Don’t forget or underutilize your “owned media.” Owned media includes any communication channel you/your organization “owns,” think website, newsletter, etc.
Publicity can be earned, and public relations implemented through non-media channels as well. Get the news out via your own channels. It can help with your SEO (new, fresh, keyword-rich content) and help spread the word outside the traditional “earned media” (news releases, pitching, etc.) approach. Even Entrepreneur wrote to this point recently.
Some examples of ways to leverage owned media and methods you can produce your own content/generate your own publicity include
- Blog (on your website)
- Social media channels (remember to keep content appropriate by channel)
Bonus: Tell Your Why
Because I just can’t help myself 😊 here’s a bonus strategy – use your public relations efforts (owned or earned) as an opportunity to tell your why – why your organization is in business and what problem your nonprofit solves. Go beyond the face-value story (you hired someone, added a service, etc.) and connect your organization with the reader (or reporters’ readers, rather)…
Telling your why connects with your audience. Think corporate social responsibility, how you support your community, or otherwise give back. Consumers (in all industries and of all ages) care about the heart of the businesses they support/buy from (or nonprofits they donate to). They want to know why you do what you do and how you will do good and effect change if they support you/buy from you.
Looking for more?
If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of PR, check out this blog, “Public Relations Strategy – 10 Steps to Ensure Success” (it’s an oldy but a goody). Interested in learning more about leveraging media relations specifically? This blog about how to leverage media to build brand awareness could help.
And, of course, if you need a partner to help you with your strategic marketing and communication, including public relations, we’re always here to help. Just let us know.