In this noisy and media saturated world we live in today, it is more important than ever to communicate with customers and other stakeholders to help them understand our story. Public relations is one of the best ways to get recognized, build loyalty and encourage advocacy.
You must be familiar with the dictator-like approach to public relations. It is the approach of “we speak, you listen.” Companies broadcast instead of communicate or participate. Don’t you agree that the whole essence of public relations is about relationships and people? Like most forms of communication, the Internet has changed how we get information, who we have access to, and who controls what is said. Nowadays anyone and everyone is a potential publisher. Traditional media outlets are still important, but their importance has been diluted, to some degree, by the flow of information that reaches directly to the end user.
A lot of things have changed in communications and public relations in recent years. From mass press releases to customized email management tools to reach our target. We moved from Excel sheets to Customer Relation Management Systems (CRMs). All of these changes stem from the evolution of an industry that never stays still, where information is available to everybody, anywhere, at any time. And if you’re not there to take part, you’ll miss out.
PR and Communications drive a substantial amount of content creation from developing messaging strategy to content for newsrooms. PR content that can be optimized, socialized and publicized include: blog posts, press releases, case studies, social media content, newsletters, contributed articles, white papers, events (online and off). Whether it is text, image, audio or video, most PR activities involve content creation on a regular basis. Understanding the role that content plays in achieving both brand awareness and customer acquisition goals, the opportunities for integration between digital marketing and PR has become of great importance.
PR has changed massively; it isn’t just about media relations any longer. Digital PR is all about combining traditional PR with content marketing, social media and search: transforming static news into conversations and bypassing media to speak directly to your target audience online. News can be spread further, faster, and more directly to a specific target audience than ever before in history. It allows us to maximize news like never before. Instead of being satisfied with a single placement, your news can be shared exponentially. So now that we’ve established just what PR can bring to the digital marketing table, what are the best ways for businesses to put the methodology of public relations to use in the online arena?
Here are 8 Best PR Practices:
1- Offline and online activity complement each other
Content creation is one of the key struggles for businesses branching out into the world of digital. However, by ensuring that offline and online activities complement one another, brands can ensure they have plenty to talk about via both channels.
2- Bolster your media relations
PR has long been about quality over quantity. Businesses should attempt to emulate PR practices with a view to building long-term relationships with offline and online publications, bloggers, and journalists that can provide valuable sources of coverage.
One way to incorporate content marketing into your mix is to repurpose content you already have (press releases) into fresh content. A single press release can be re-purposed into a Slideshare presentation, a blog post, a guest blog post, a Pinterest infographic, a LinkedIn news update, a post on a relevant trade publications, Facebook page, an editorial opinion article for the local newspaper’s website and more. Share, re-purpose, share again – and repeat the same process a few more times! One piece of content can flow out to multiple sources.
Instead of simply putting your press release in the press, turn it into a blog post that connects the news to an engaging viewpoint; use it as the launch-pad to discuss a related issue and educate. Find ways to take an offline PR campaign to social, and vice versa. When you re-purpose, don’t simply rewrite the piece. Go one step further to transform your news into content that provides VALUE.
4- Search Engine Optimization
Once you have your content underway – take it even further with the second major piece of digital PR: SEO. This particular function should not belong to the IT specialist, or the web programmer – it’s a marketing function that should cross into all PR activity. Integrate search keywords to expose your news to those who are searching for similar content.
Use your keyword research to drive trends, press releases and blog posts, and learn how to correctly integrate keywords into each piece of writing for maximum impact. By using your site as a hub for quality content relevant to your industry and offering insightful comment on pressing issues, you have the potential to attract social shares, online coverage, and guest-posting opportunities on relevant sites, which will generate more of those precious inbound links for SEO purposes. PR itself can also have a direct impact on traffic to your site. Companies can see a spike in website traffic following an intensive campaign.
5- Social Media
Everyone knows that social media is a serious piece of “creating relationships with the public”, which is the core definition of public relations. For the last five years, social media has impacted brand visibility with a force. Take advantage of it to share your content. Not only that, but we can now use social media, blogs, reviews and content to not just share news, but also create dialogue.
6- Quality over quantity
Promoting your quality on-site content can get you noticed by the people who matter, leading to the possibility of print coverage and participation in real-world interviews, editorials, and events— not to mention the prospect of new business from parties you’ve attracted through blogs, whitepapers, videos, and the like.
7- Join relevant industry communities and discussions
Platforms such as LinkedIn and Google+ are among the best tools for finding and developing relevant communities; they also offer you a chance to showcase your expertise to those looking for advice or guidance.
8- Be curious… knowledge is a competitive advantage!
Learn, learn, and learn. It has never been more important to ALWAYS continue learning – fresh skills are critical to your success. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or brand new to the industry – challenge yourself to constantly learn and apply new skills/technology to what you are doing, and adapt processes to fit your environment. It is critical to invest in YOU.
The Bottom Line
As with any sustained marketing effort it takes hard work, collaboration, and regular review to realize a successful PR campaign.