Public Relations (PR) is a complex field where one wrong move can get you into hot water. From knowing exactly what public relations is, to being aware of how it is different from advertising, there are several nuances to PR that every newbie ought to know of. There will be no shortage of opportunities for a PR professional with the right set of skills, resources, and knowledge base.
Here are 5 things that newbies need to know about the PR industry.
It’s possible to have a perfectly passable PR campaign that does nothing more than talk a good game. It is how many businesses operate in the beginning and for others talk may be the entirety of their plan. But for those who truly want to build lasting customer relationships, great PR will be all about concrete action.
Consumers are far more advertising savvy than they once were. They know that companies are more than willing to promise everything under the sun. They are also conscious of the fact that actions speak far more effectively to the true motivations and values of a company that platitudes.
This time of year, I really put that Audible subscription to work. The Christmas rush is over and everyone is out on holiday. I read a lot, so while I search for my next favorite marketing books, check out my list of six books for marketers to read now.
1. Ogilvy On Advertising
I’ve written a few times about why I read Ogilvy on Advertising every year. And this year is no different. Every time I read it, I get something new from it. I like the evidence-based, approach Ogilvy had to his advertising and messaging. And because humans think the same way now as they did then, many of the lessons are still relevant.
In the world of online business, reputation is everything. Whether you have a successful blog or an online store, consumers only know you by the presence you have online. Below are four PR tips you’ll need to keep a positive reputation on the internet.
1. Acknowledge, Don’t Bury
If you make your living online, you should simply assume you have no secrets. While it’s understandable that you will want to keep your private life private, there’s simply no use in ignoring a scandal. If something that will reflect negatively upon you happens, be the first to acknowledge it. This lets you stop the spin and, perhaps more importantly, stops rumors from spreading and hurting your reputation.
Your public relations campaign has the ability to give you your highest returns on investment. Implement the right PR using modern technology and some of the classic techniques in a synchronized fashion. Below are some ideas that have worked for Fortune 500 companies.
#1. Social Listening
In order to have an effective public relations campaign, you need to know what to say and who to say it to! Fortunately, you do not have to guess at what your target audience wants. They are telling you everything that you need to know on social media. All that you have to do is listen.
I will argue that press releases are an essential part of a good marketing and public relations strategy. But it occurred to me: what do journalists and reporters think of them? Are they accomplishing what we want them to (getting the attention of the media and making them clamor to write about our brands)? So I asked a selection of journalists what they thought of press releases. Their responses make it pretty clear where many businesses are missing the mark, and lay a clear plan for how we can improve.
1. You’re Not Targeting Us Well Enough
I heard this again and again: journalists are sick of companies sending press releases that don’t relate to the beats they cover.
“If I’m a reporter in Miami and we cover all hard news, why would I care about a man in Kansas who just wrote a book that has nothing to do with my market?” says former TV reporter turned media relations specialist Christina Nicholson. Learn a lesson from this and make sure you only send press releases to journalists who cover your industry (and your geographic area).
Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest “ We live in an age of social media networks. For marketers, ignoring the shift from brands telling a story to consumers, to consumers telling a brands story is dangerous.
The worlds of public relations and marketing have merged. Now, the story brands tell on websites and social media networks garner the attention of the public. Reporters turn to Twitter to find the latest topics of conversation. Consumers turn to peers on social media networks to find more information about a product or service.
The upside to this social shift is easier, more expansive reach online. The downside? Your brands name is in jeopardy of slander because of one bad experience. Marketers often don’t have warning or control over this. As the face of the brand on social media networks, marketers are the first to see the damage “ and the first to react.
The way you react to public criticism online is more important than what’s actually said. If you see your brands name getting tarnished online, here is a quick lesson in crisis communication. With these tips in mind, you can do fast damage control and minimize the negative impact bad comments on social media have on your brand.
I’ve blogged a lot about press releases here, so I thought I’d condense a list of some of the most useful posts. Whether you’re writing your first press release or want some help connecting with the media, you’ll find help here.
First, let’s start with a retrospective. If you’ve only just started using PR, you’ll be shocked to know that we once mailed — as in snail mail — our press releases to the media! None of this instant publish stuff back then.
Not convinced you need press releases? This post will sway you. Press releases remain one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your brand. Read more.
You’ve written a press release about your latest company news. It’s been published online, but you’re looking for a bit more media coverage. Now it’s time to go to the next level of PR: pitching the media.
Essentially, you want to connect with journalists who might be interested in writing about your news. It takes some legwork (and ideally, you begin this process long before you have news to share), but it can pay off in huge ways.
Step 1: Connect with the Right Journalists
Start by researching who’s writing about your industry. You’re interested in journalists and bloggers who write for local newspapers and magazines, as well as medium and larger publications. You’ll have better luck with the former, but it’s always good to shoot for the stars, as long as your expectations are realistic. Your chances of getting coverage in the Wall Street Journal are very slim, but if you build up coverage in local and smaller publications, you just might get their attention.