Public relations involves a blend of strategy, creativity, and persuasion, and if you do it right, it will impact different components of your business. If you’re constantly looking for ways to expand your reach and expose your brand to new audiences, having a solid PR strategy might be the ideal approach. Learning how to do PR may seem overly complicated, so we decided to create a concise guide that will help you manage your public relations with ease.
Public relations (PR) is the practice of using media channels for the purpose of promoting your business, organization, or personal brand, and building a positive public perception. The role of a public relations specialist lies in the management of all the ways brands spread their information. The whole process is accomplished through the use of a communication plan that covers all the efforts planned for the media and other direct and indirect channels.
Public relations defines how an organization communicates with others, including partners, customers, journalists, philanthropists, and the general public. Therefore, all businesses can benefit from PR, no matter how big or small they may be.
PR specialists are skilled storytellers, and as such, they employ various strategies that can get the story of your business in front of relevant audiences who actually want to see it. Of course, they do it through trustworthy media outlets.
Investing in PR can help you raise awareness about your business, manage your reputation, and build credibility. On top of that, it can also promote your brand’s values, create a likable image among potential clients, and therefore increase niche authority.
All public relations efforts fall into one of the three key categories: owned, paid, or earned media. Each of the categories shares the goal of building a positive reputation, but they employ different strategies. Ideally, your PR strategy should include all three, so let’s go over their basics:
Owned media refers to any piece of content controlled by your business, and it is usually the place where organizations start building their PR strategies. Owned media is the core of your PR activity, so when others decide to write about your brand, they will probably reference such content pieces in their coverage. The best examples of owned media are website copy, blog content, social media posts, and email newsletters. Some of these elements
Paying to promote your content is a well-known concept in the world of marketing, and PR is another category that supports this method. Paying to promote owned media is a standard practice that includes the use of pay-per-click (PPC), social media ads, and influencer marketing. Boosting your PR content is an excellent idea, especially now that the major social media platforms have begun reducing the organic reach of business accounts.
Earned media involves a strategy used to boost conversations around your business. Essentially, it refers to the good old word of mouth, which is by far the best PR tactic for building a positive reputation. However, earned media is also the most demanding type of PR there is, as it takes a lot of hard work and consistency. Earned media includes high rankings on search engines, mentions in industry news, and social media praise received from customers.
Let’s go over some of the best public relations strategies and tactics you can use:
Building media relations helps your organization create positive connections with journalists, publications, and all sorts of news outlets. When done correctly, it can give your brand significant exposure by encouraging the media to promote your business for free.
Instead of just sending out press releases to all media outlets you can access, come up with an exclusive story that you will only share with a single targeted outlet at a time. Take some time to research journalists who are influential in your industry and create a strong pitch that will explain why you choose them for each of your exclusive stories.
Nowadays, more and more individuals are simply losing trust in traditional advertising, and they are much more likely to follow third-party recommendations provided by influencers. Influencer marketing has been thriving for a while now, and you shouldn't miss out on its benefits. Find high-quality influencer accounts that resonate with your target market and partner with them so they can promote your business to their audiences.
Social media channels are the pillars of your brand voice, but you should always keep in mind that everything you post on your social accounts is exposed to the public at all times. That is why you should make sure that each of your posts is part of a carefully planned strategy that revolves around building a strong presence for your business.
Using real client testimonials is one of the most effective PR strategies out there. Giving satisfied customers a chance to express their excitement about your products or services is one of the most convincing efforts you can possibly make. As for the format, you can post anything from short comments and video testimonials to full-length case studies.
Interacting with customers is not always favorable, and today it is fairly easy for an unsatisfied client to use social media to rant about their negative experiences. One way to prevent some of these unpleasant interactions is to publicly share the core values that are the backbone of your brand. This will give your company a more humane feel, which will make it harder for angry clients to rant about minor issues.
Native advertising refers to paid media that looks like organic content. Since traditional ads tend to be less effective with today’s audiences, native ads offer a more subtle approach that usually provides readers with actual value.
Before you start taking any serious PR steps, you should take the time to develop a media list of all outlets that will receive your news. Also, you should define how you’re planning to approach editors, journalists, producers, bloggers, and influencers in order to get them to share your stories. The following list of steps will help you streamline your efforts and do everything right:
No marketing strategy can have a positive result without a well-defined target audience. Once you’re certain about the group of people you should be talking to, you will need to find out everything there is to know about them. But most importantly, you should learn about their interests and all the ways they enjoy consuming information. For instance, you should know whether they actively use television, magazines, blogs, social media, or any other source of data.
Before you approach a particular media outlet, you need to figure out the size of their audience, the mediums they have access to, and the topics they cover. Next, you should make an effort to find out how often each outlet publishes new content. For example, a blog you’re interested in may post daily updates, while a magazine is set to publish new editions monthly. Having a good understanding of lead times and knowing exactly when your story gets to land in front of your target audience is pretty important for your overall PR strategy.
To make your media list complete, you need to include the best people to contact for each of the outlets mentioned. Adding contacts to the list is an ongoing process, so always take note of the journalists who write sections relevant to your business. Keep track of the job titles of important journalists, reporters, and producers, since those will give you an insight into their specific areas of expertise. Next, find the contact details of each person you’re planning to pitch directly. Many media outlets list staff members and their email addresses on one of their website pages.
Your media list and all the valuable information it contains should be kept in order so you can easily find contact details or any other piece of data at all times. The best way to stay organized with very little effort is to use an Excel sheet that will help you manage the list in a database. Within the document, you can have separate columns for each outlet’s contact person, job title, phone number, and email address.
A strong PR strategy is an ongoing activity, and it can take some time before you see actual results. However, if you do it right, you will soon experience more exposure than ever. Now that you’ve learned all the essentials about creating a strong public relations plan, you can start taking actionable steps toward building greater brand awareness.