I was recently a panelist on “The Changing Face of PR” at the ATME Conference (Association of Travel Marketing Executives) in Miami last month. With social media, depleted editorial staffs in the nation’s leading newspapers, declining viewership in network TV, and the “consumer terrorism” of online reviews, what does all of this mean for the PR industry today? My topic, ‘Top Three Must Do’s in PR’ in today’s world helps PR Pros tackle these issues:
1. Produce Quality, Quantity and Diverse Content
– The good news? There are abundant distribution channels that exist today to get your message out. But you must be present across the consumer’s behavioral path, because each is a potential contact point and integrating these marketing channels can provide a comprehensive approach.
The 3 P’s of traditional PR content are still valid – product, packages, and promotions. But now we need to think beyond these and create content that addresses the psychographics of your target markets, e.g. their special interests and passions. Think not only in niche terms, but micro-niche.
– A growth area for content is service articles, traditionally the staple of B2B programs. There are endless opportunities, e.g. articles on tips, how-to’s (look at ehow.com’s success), and top 10 lists via slideshows which the media love, as well as copy.
– Content that shows thought leadership and innovation to establish clients as an industry authority, a source for the media. Admittedly it’s a process, but once you achieve this, it’s the gift keeps on giving. Surveys, audits, research are all effective platforms to launch this approach.
2. Customize Your Message to Your Audience, to the Medium
What hasn’t changed in decades is being relevant to the media you’re addressing, using targeted, customized pitches and lists.
– In a PR GENIE survey of journalists in 26 countries, the #1 complaint (59.5%) with PR is irrelevant PR pitches. That’s up 2.5% just in one year.
– The #2 complaint (new this year) is mass PR pitching over social media. Messages need to be further refined for each social media channel, as people want different things from Twitter and Facebook, which are still different from Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.
3. Build Relationships with Media; Make It Easy For Them to Experience Your Product
– Nothing can replace face-to-face meetings and press visits, which remain powerful PR tools. Such interaction helps keep you top of mind when looking for their next source.
– Following and friending media and other influencers on social media offer insight into their personality, their interests, their travels, stories they may be working on, and plant story ideas. In the same PR GENIE survey, 59% of journalists say they follow and friend PR professionals on social media. 70% have used twitter to post a question to get public reaction and used replies as a part of a story; 62% have done so on Facebook.
– Also facilitate relationships with the product itself. Brand managers are rethinking the traditional presentation of their products and finding other ways to reach out such as pop ups – shops, restaurants, hotels – which celebrate the essence of a brand for a targeted audience or timeframe. Low budget alternatives are DIY packages to create the experience at home.
The following is an expanded version of this speech, which includes industry examples for each topic.
Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President & Chief Strategist