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3 Ways to Leverage the State of Public Relations in 2014

As a PR professional in 2014 you’re tasked to develop strategies and campaigns to generate and create good will for the organizations you represent. You’re expected to integrate the latest technology with the tried and familiar to provide the most comprehensive and effective results. Right?

Right. It isn’t easy is it?

3 - State of PR 2014Seriously. Just staying on top of your daily job requirements is, well, a full time job these days. Staying abreast of the constantly changing digital world at the same time is a challenge—to put it politely.

Adding to the pressure is this sense that your colleagues in PR are embracing digital tools and social networks more quickly than you are. Or with better or faster or more comprehensive results.

It must be true. It’s what people are talking about all over the Internet. Except it turns out that it isn’t quite that simple or straight forward. For example, you may have a sense that everyone in PR has a content marketing strategy in place already. You’ve probably also heard people talking about how public relations has adapted to all of the new digital tactics. You may even be feeling a little foolish or frustrated if you haven’t mastered it all yet.

Take heart! You are not alone. The results of an online national poll of 325 mid- and senior-level marketing and PR professionals tell a story that differs from what we hear online and what is actually happening in the marketplace.

It turns out that while many PRs are involved in content marketing and deploying branded content in their outreach, only 53 percent of PR practitioners are using content marketing. An even smaller number—49 percent— are using search engine marketing. News for celebration! There’s still time for you.

More surprising, is the low percentage of PR professionals who are creating mobile engagement strategies. Only 34 percent. How crazy is that? Everybody knows that mobile is the new black.

The good news in all this? There’s still time for you. The better news? There are three specific things you can start doing today to leverage the connection between digital tools, social networks and traditional public relations tactics.

1. Employ Content Marketing Strategies

Content Marketing - State of PR 2014

The world thrives on content and the social world is voracious in its appetite for new content, but only 53 percent of communicators have a content marketing strategy. As you approach the development of your next campaign, make sure to include strategic content marketing. After you’ve identified your goals and objectives, target audiences, timelines and budgets, double back. Think through how you can repurpose the content you will create to also include:

  • Social network updates
  • Photography
  • Landing pages
  • Infographics
  • Articles
  • Guest posts
  • e-Books
  • Webinars
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Video posts
  • Podcasts
  • Promotional emails
  • Lead nurturing emails

Then, get creative. Consider adding direct mail. An over-sized postcard with a compelling image on both sides can jump out at you when you’ve been online all day. What about speaking engagements related to the topic? The possibilities are endless.

2. Understand SEO/SEM

Google - SEO SEM - State of Public Relations

This one is critical, yet only 49 percent of marketers and PRs have the ability. Having a basic yet solid understanding of how search engine optimization and marketing works, and why, will set you apart from the 51 percent of your colleagues who just don’t get it yet.

There are many ways to get up to speed quickly: Google offers a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, and SEOMOZ provides The Beginners Guide to SEO. Both are free, easily available online and as printable pdf files. If you prefer a book, Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina, of Orbit Studios, is an invaluable addition to your collection and an easy and enjoyable read. Prefer video? YouTube and Vimeo are stuffed with training videos that will help you quickly learn basic search engine optimization practices.

3. Develop and Implement Mobile Strategies

Mobile Technology - State of PR

This third point will have real value to you and the organization you represent, especially since barely a third (34 percent) of marketers and PRs develop and implement mobile strategies.

According to research from Pew, a full sixty-three percent of Americans use their smart phones to engage with brands and media online and thirty-four percent of them use their phone as their primary source of access to the Internet. Usage of mobile apps to access the Internet has exceed usage of desktops this year. And the numbers are growing. American smartphone users are projected to exceed 196 million by 2016, according to statista.com.

Yikes! That’s only a year and half away.

Use the same steps to develop your mobile strategy that you use to develop your other PR strategies. Research your target audiences’ behavior online and think about how they may want to access your content in real time. Check out this article from inc.com for a quick introduction to developing mobile strategies.

Each of these three things will help you not only do your job better but will make you even more valuable to your organization. Finding a way to add all three will set you apart from your colleagues as someone who not only gets it, but is successfully leveraging the State of Public Relations in 2014.

It isn’t too late. You haven’t missed the boat. For a more thorough understanding of how your peers are using digital and social tools, download Vocus’ The State of Public Relations in 2014. You may find other areas where you are ahead of the pack—or not as far behind as you had thought!

Allen Mireles is a strategist with an affinity for technology who lives/works at the intersection of social media and traditional marketing/public relations. Want to read more from Allen? Click here!

Image: Ronny RobinsonDigitalRalph, SimonAlan_D (Creative Commons)

About Allen Mireles

Allen Mireles is a strategist and wordsmith with an affinity for technology. She lives at the intersection of social media and traditional marketing and public relations and never gets enough time in the garden. Find her on Twitter @allenmireles.

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