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Using Real-Time Tactics to Get the Most of Your PR

This is a guest post by Alissa Blate. Her webinar “Make the Most of Your PR With Real-Time Tactics” will take place on Oct. 22.

Quality tools, a team of creative and quick thinkers and one cohesive mindset.

Each is essential to successful real-time marketing and PR, where organizations leverage opportunities for their clients by capitalizing on social media trends, pop culture phenomena and breaking news.

Real-time PR tactics, a kind of newsjacking that taps into the world’s insatiable appetite for news and information, has emerged as an integral part of a brand’s content marketing strategy.  Piggybacking off current news stories is something PR professionals have been doing for years.  Newsjacking allows you to be part of a trend or get ahead of it as it’s happening.

The most important factor in setting yourself up to succeed in developing a real-time PR presence is creating a team with a collective mindset that recognizes the importance of speed. Many PR firms have developed newsrooms, staffed with a combination of social media analysts, PR and marketing gurus and former journalists.  In order for posting in real time to be effective, it should add value to the brand.  Better to focus on getting the content right versus getting it out too quickly.

We’ve seen quite a few real-time marketing flops as a result of brands simply not being smart with their real-time marketing tactics, whether it’s being late to the game, trying to inject themselves into something that’s simply way too forced and not relevant to their brand, or not doing their research into a trend before jumping on the opportunity (i.e. DiGiorno Pizza put its reputation at risk when it jumped on the #whyIstayed hashtag surrounding domestic violence because it reacted too quickly without looking at the context before tweeting).

But when news broke late last month about the “bendability” of Apple’s iPhone 6, it was only natural that Samsung, LG and HTC seized the opportunity to react to the #bendgate scandal to cleverly mock their smartphone competitor. Samsung won the engagement battle on this one with 11,000 retweets and 6,500 favorites.

But even non-smartphone brands entered the mix with a flurry of inventive Tweets. Leading the charge was KitKat, responding brilliantly through social media with, “We don’t bend, we #break.” The message has been retweeted nearly 30,000 times.

Heineken chimed in with an image of a bent bottle cap and an all-caps message: “NO WORRIES…IT HAPPENS TO US ALL THE TIME.” It counts an impressive 12,000 retweets. Pringles garnered more than 2,000 retweets when it quipped “What’s Wrong With a Little Bend?”

Unplanned events such as bendgate and the Polar Vortex challenge brands to be creative, fast and nimble in deploying their real-time PR tactics. Planned events like the Olympics, World Cup, back to school and Black Friday allow for more preparation.

But with so much lead time to plan, it becomes critically important to be original and imaginative. During last February’s Super Bowl MWW scored a touchdown, if you will, for McDonald’s, a Super Bowl sponsor.

Using NFL Rush Zone Happy Meal Toys that represented the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, our team reenacted pivotal scoring moments via stop motion video and shared them on Twitter and Instagram. PRNewser called the effort “A textbook case of real-time marketing in action” and the initiative was recently recognized with a PR News Digital Award for most engaged brand.

In order to capitalize with real-time PR tactics, firms must react quickly to strategically thrust their clients’ brands into conversations that are happening now. Without proper preparation, creative ideas will go to waste.

It’s important to be able to continuously produce the analytics and research that will allow the team to make informed decisions on when it’s appropriate to leverage social media to benefit a client’s brand. Firms must aggressively monitor what’s trending on social media and carefully track the events receiving the most attention from the news media.

Audiences interacting and connecting with events across the globe as they develop – are larger and more captive than ever before. Effective real-time PR will quickly change your brand with key markets.

Want more of Alissa’s insights? Register for her free webinar now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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