Public relations is an effective way of increasing the reach of your content. A well-strategized public relations plan can help you engage and inform your target audiences, and build important relationships.
The Traditional Approach
In traditional PR, firms will identify some newsworthy event such as a client win. They’ll then weave a story and pitch it to the press in an effort to gain earned media. This type of coverage is desirable because it provides third-party credibility and dramatically increases awareness. The downside is that firms don’t have much control over the message since external reporters and editors are in charge of the story. Nonetheless, the value of good PR outreach is undeniable.
PR used to be exclusively about getting earned coverage from the media, leaving the story in the hands of the journalist. But to get the most value out of PR today, companies need to rethink this model. As David Meerman Scott writes in The New Rules of Marketing & PR, “Public relations work has changed. PR is no longer just an esoteric discipline where companies make great efforts to communicate exclusively to a handful of reporters who then tell the company’s story, generating a clip for PR people to show their bosses. Now, great PR includes programs to reach buyers directly.”
The Rules Have Changed
In the old days, PR strategy involved issuing press releases that only journalists would see. Journalists published their content in mainstream media and trade publications, and the editors of those publications controlled the flow of stories.
Today, everything has changed. The traditional press is still very important, but influential bloggers have as much standing as journalists and often get better search ranking. Social media, influencer outreach, blogging, video, and online press release distribution can allow companies to directly reach prospective customers.
Integrating PR With Marketing Strategy
Today, PR should be tightly integrated with the overall marketing strategy. We’ve found the following techniques to be particularly effective for amplifying a PR message:
- Integrating Social Media: Social should be woven into the very fabric of your PR strategy. Doing this will help you generate more buzz about your company and form valuable connections with customers, prospects and other important stakeholders. It’s also the foundation of your influencer outreach program.
- Blogger Outreach: Focusing all your PR effort on appealing to journalists is no longer enough. You should also be connecting with reputable bloggers who target your buyer personas and have built up an audience. Particularly if a blogger has a large audience, you can benefit from building a relationship with them, seeking opportunities to guest blog for them and have them guest blog on your site. Influencer marketing is an art form, just like media outreach. For more information on that, check out Mark Schaefer’s book Influencer Marketing. Additionally, look for opportunities where you can publish a guest blog or bylined article on other sites. Consider industry forums and trade publications such as Tabb Forum and Wall Street & Technology. But remember you need to write like a journalist, not a marketer.
- Using Press Releases to Amplify Content: Because most newswire services publish press releases on dozens if not hundreds of news sites, today, a press release can reach your buyer, even if journalists don’t pick up the story. Leverage this audience by including links to more information about the topic of the release on your website. For instance, if you release a survey, publish a press release via a wire service. Incorporate a link to a landing page where the reader can sign up to receive the survey results. Keep in mind that this approach is not intended for search optimization, but rather for promoting your content to a wider audience.
- Incorporating Images and Video: Video and images dramatically improve performance of press releases. A PR Newswire study found that “adding a video to a text-only release delivers 4.3 times the number of views. Including both photo and video content further enhances a story, driving visibility by 7.4 times more than plain text releases.”
Contact us today to learn how PropelGrowth can help you develop an effective public relations plan that generates a healthy ROI.