When it comes to PR and communications practices, there are always opportunities to refine, enhance or streamline the work your team is doing. With springtime now in full force, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your PR practices and see where there’s opportunity to dust off the cobwebs, spruce things up and iron out any inefficiencies.
We’ve got three suggestions to help you tap into your inner Marie Kondo and get started.
1: Spark Joy with Your PR Pitches
If you’re still mass blasting your entire media contact list every time you have a story to pitch or a press release to distribute, it’s time to rethink that strategy. Journalists consistently report that the majority of pitches they receive have no relevance on their audience. Every time you send a journalist an irrelevant pitch, you are this much closer to getting blocked entirely from their inbox.
If you really want to get on a journalist’s good side and secure more earned media pickup, the key is personalization. Customize your pitch to the journalists you’re reaching out to in a way that shows you understand their work, the outlets they work for and the audiences they create content for. (When you show journalists you’ve done your homework, they pay attention.)
Of course, this approach takes some time and legwork. You’ll need to do some research to familiarize yourself with the journalists’ work and target audiences (and ensure you’re pitching a story, product or event they would actually cover). Understanding that time is not always on your side, we recommend a two-fold strategy:
Start by creating a short list of high priority journalists or other media influencers to reach out to with pitches that are customized to their audiences’ interest. Next, create a longer list of (still relevant) media contacts to receive a broader, more generalized communication.
If this process still seems overwhelming, consider investing in a media database, which can cut down the time (and tedium) of doing this all yourself. With a good media database, you’ll be able to not only identify relevant journalists and influencers, but quickly create and send targeted emails to the lists you create – directly from the platform. Quick tip: Choose a media database that offers tracking – so you can see who opened your email or clicked through – and then decide on next steps like follow up.
2: Recycle Your Press Release
According to the State of the Media report, the majority of journalists want to receive press releases from brands and PR pros (above any other resource), indicating they are still one of the most powerful tools PR pros have for securing media coverage. But they are only one of many methods you have at your disposal.
Think of the many ways you can repurpose your press release for owned and paid media – from blog posts and infographics or videos you can share on social media, to sponsored content and paid ads that drive traffic back to your website. The best part? The content you need is already at your fingertips (in other words, half the work is done); it’s just a matter of reformulating it appropriately for the right platform and audiences.
- Blog about it: A press release almost always makes good content for a blog post (and who doesn’t need constant content for their company blog?). But whereas you might write a press release to match the tone of a news report, with a blog post, you can make it a little more conversational, change up the headline and maybe even put a slightly different spin on it.
- Enlist the help of employees: Partner with your corporate communications team to help spread the word internally and create awareness or excitement around whatever news you’re sharing in the release. If it’s good news, encourage them to share the release with their clients or prospects. If it’s less-than-great news, provide them with talking points in case they get questions about it.
- Spread the word on social: Break up elements from your press release into short, “snackable” content that’s easy to post and share on social. Add visual elements – like photos, videos or infographics – that will make people stop scrolling.
- Convert it into sponsored content: If you have the budget, consider turning your press release into sponsored content (also known as native advertising). As the name implies, sponsored content enables brands to sponsor editorial content on various online publications, drawing more audience engagement and increasing brand awareness. Learn more about how sponsored content works and its many benefits.
The possibilities to what you can do with press release content are nearly endless – as are the benefits. By enabling you to amplify your message across a variety of platforms and in front of different audiences, recycling your press release content is good for your brand environment.
3: Organize Your ESG Efforts
Public interest in organizations’ commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues has increased significantly in recent years. Consumers, investors and other stakeholders are calling on companies to be more vocal and transparent about their responsibility and sustainability efforts – and companies have been stepping up to the plate: According to S&P’s Global Sustainability Yearbook 2021, 7,032 companies chose to disclose ESG data in 2021 – up from only 4,700 that did so in 2020.
With so much attention on how companies are investing in ESG, there is an opportunity for communications and PR teams to step up and lead the communications strategy around ESG. They can help drive and strengthen the narrative around their organization’s ESG initiatives in the following ways:
- Creating a sound ESG communications strategy: Start building relationships with ESG-related journalists and influencers to ensure your ESG press releases are delivered to the right audience. Partnering with a media database that has a robust network of ESG-specific journalists and influencers can help you quickly identify and connect with the ones most relevant to your target audience.
- Quantifying and then disclosing results: With no official standardization in the U.S. as to which ESG metrics are valuable or how to report on progress, this is easier said than done; however, using monitoring and analytics tools, communications teams can effectively: measure their messaging against competitors; put key wins, risks and opportunities in context; track executive and spokesperson performance on issues; and identify key publications and influencers to reach out to. Creating a “reporting hub” or IR-specific web page to store up-to-date press releases and other key updates, makes it easy for stakeholders to get the information they need quickly.
- Preparing executives to successfully answer stakeholder questions about the company’s performance across the ESG spectrum: This requires staying on top of ESG-related news and trends, which will help inform your messaging and communications strategy. Creating alerts, subscribing to industry newsletters or signing up for daily briefings can also help cut through the noise to get to the ESG-related news that matters to your company.
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