Ok, don’t freak out. PR isn’t dead (we have the awards to prove it), but a strict media-relations strategy is not as effective as it once was. Relying solely on media gatekeepers to disseminate your message and reach your audiences is becoming a thing of the past. Today it’s critical for brands to recognize that a well-rounded digital strategy consisting of not only earned media, but owned and paid as well, is the vehicle you need to carry your message across all channels your audiences are engaged with.
Why the change?
Let’s face it – we are exposed to loads of content on a daily basis. Think about it. Flipping through your Facebook newsfeed, you catch up on current events; watch a video of a cute dog, and “Like” a picture of your friend’s new car all within seconds. After a few swipes, you look up and see an ad on TV with a woman in a really comfortable sweater – it makes you think about that shirt you’ve wanted to purchase. You go to the desired-shirt brand’s website and see another cute dog. You click that ad. You’ve officially been sucked into the abyss of the Internet: content overload.
The “rule of seven” is as true today as it ever was – potential consumers need to hear your marketing message at least seven times before they decide to buy from you. Here are 3 ways you can grow your communications strategy beyond using traditional public relations tactics to ensure your message resonates with your audiences:
Optimize your website
This means incorporating natural language that your consumers would likely use in order to come across your page organically. Google’s keyword research tool helps you discover how competitive select search terms are, and from there you can determine which ones you want to use across your site. While on-page content is important, blog writing also keeps your site “fresh” in the eyes of the all-powerful Google, so your content will always be deemed relevant.
Not only is it important to optimize your website for search, but treating it as a resource for your customer base will only benefit your brand. If your product is mentioned in the New York Times and links back to your site, but there is nothing there for the consumer to read or learn more about, they bounce. Give them a reason to stay!
Build your social media communities
There are many options for brands to have a presence on social media – some of the biggest players being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. That’s not to say you need to be on every platform, but you should analyze your audiences and think about which channels they “live” on.
Social media growth is a goal chased by brands and media alike. Editors and producers at major news channels across all mediums are vying for eyeballs. If your brand has a strong following, it might give you the upper hand in landing that placement, as the potential for cross-sharing can benefit both parties.
An effective way to build up your online community is to invest in advertising. On platforms like Facebook, you can create highly-targeted content that engages potential customers who could one day become brand loyalists.
Align with influencers
We’ve previously talked about adding influencer marketing into your PR strategy. Influencer marketing provides an opportunity for real people to see real people advocating for your brand. Often referred to as brand ambassadors, these influencers offer your potential customers insight into using your product or service in everyday life, as it pertains to the lifestyle you’re targeting. When building out such a campaign and identifying who should be involved, it’s important to be selective. Equally as important to instilling an appropriate vetting process is making sure all terms are laid out and agreed upon by both parties. Such a campaign involves detailed planning, but if done properly, can yield great results.
So let’s circle back to our original question, is public relations dead? No, not quite. However your strategies must be ever evolving in order to stay ahead in the industry!
Do you have any tips for growing an organic communications strategy? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @lotus823!