Will You Survive the New PR Era? Here’s 10 Tips
PR is changing, and the role of the PR professional is following suit. The PR person isn’t cutting out clippings from the newspapers or writing press release upon press release; in the digital era, the PR person has ceased with some activities, continued with others, and added some new ones.
Those new roles, according to Sarah Evans, include strategy, production, writing, editing and connecting. The PR professional may still be responsible for the press release and facilitating relationships with bloggers and journalists, but he or she now considers video, social media, and infographics when creating content.
It’s a lot of change – and a lot of content to consider and create – but the goal remains the same: attract attention and keep people coming back for more. Sarah offers a few tips for the person seeking to maximize digital and social in the new PR era:
1. Rethink your frame of reference. You’re no longer trying to gain the attention of major news networks alone; you’re now working with tiers that include even yourself. The other tiers are third-party mentions, i.e. bloggers and influencers, and unbiased, comprehensive coverage from journalists.
2. Develop a workflow. Research local, national and international news. Seek to understand the customer or brand lifecycle. Identify key conferences and media events. Follow trending topics. Do all those things before determining what content to use and where to place it.
3. Automate where you can. You may abhor the practice of automation, but it will free you to do more of the work that matters – identifying topics and trends, creating content, and reaching your audience.
4. Create content like mad. The reasons are twofold. One, you have to feed the machine. Two, it’s rare to have a hit that lasts forever, and you don’t want a “one-hit wonder.” If you have limited staff, use the 80/20 model or the principle of thirds: one part curation, one part aggregation, and one part creation.
5. Strive to share only great content. “Great” can mean many things to many people, but Sarah defines it as content that causes a person to care, share or swear.
6. Use social to find opportunities. Some of your best opportunities didn’t exist, weren’t easy to find, or were impossible to accomplish a few years ago. Use digital and social to your advantage.
7. Don’t forget traditional tactics. Many traditional efforts, such as conferences, remain a favored tactic. “Snail mail” is decried, but it can produce positive brand sentiment. Sarah’s postcard experiment is an example in action.
8. The spreadsheet is not dead. Use it to track efforts. Also use one to manage those efforts. It’s easy to forget what has or has not been done without a checklist.
9. Invest in new tools. The new tools include social media, software and hardware. Also remember to take the hardware with you when you go to events and conferences; you never know when you might have a chance to interview that influencer you’ve been trying to reach for the past few months.
10. Remember the three “P’s.” When it comes to creating content, ensure that it is personalized, portable and participatory. Aim to hit all three points. They’re necessary to creating content that reaches and resonates with your stakeholders and audiences.
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