For the first time in years we are beginning to see public relations’ budgets increase. While the economy is slowly improving and consumers are beginning to spend, the real contributing factor for investing in PR is the shift in the way we work, live and communicate. We now see marketing collateral and messaging built into websites, posted on Facebook pages and Pinterest boards and linked to tweets. We are seeing more and more printed publications increasing their online presence or switching to online entirely; and the popularity of the smart phone and tablets has the public seeking and exchanging information in a click. As a result, the connections between PR and marketing are more significant than ever and the lines between the two more blurred.
A white paper may still be used for lead generation and database development, but it can also be a great tool for pitching an article to targeted media. Direct ads may be considered a part of marketing, but the credibility of an ad is certainly enhanced with a proactive PR campaign, making potential customers more likely to pay attention and take action. A news release is still a valuable tool for securing media coverage, but it is now also valuable for boosting SEO.
As PR plans take shape and begin to be implemented in 2013, consider the following for maximizing results:
Leverage campaigns across multiple channels
When your company is featured in the news, share it. Post it on your social media pages, add a link to your website, mention it in your blog, and include it in your next email newsletter.
Use visuals whenever possible
A picture speaks 1000 words and people love to share them. The media is more likely to respond to a news pitch that includes photos or video, and the same rings true for the public. Video and photos both generate significantly more engagement. According to Mashable, a photo posted on a Facebook page increases the percent of fans reached and gets as much as twenty times more engagement than a status, link, or video, The popularity of YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are all visual mediums that promote sharing of information and can be valuable tools for driving traffic to a website or customers in the door.
Tell your story
You don’t have to always wait for the media to come to you. Utilize your blog, industry news sites and LinkedIn to share your company story. Educate the public on your product or services. Provide tips and information that they may find helpful in their personal or professional lives.
Become a resource for the media
Journalists are now under a great deal of pressure to produce print, broadcast and online stories in the same amount of time with less assistance. Whatever industry or profession you are in, you may be the perfect source to speak on a topic they need to cover. This is especially true when local newsrooms are looking to build a story that relates to breaking news or new findings happening on a national level.
Create an online newsroom.
Make your corporate news accessible to your staff, clients, customers and the media. Include your news content on your website and provide the media with contact information, should they wish to speak with someone.
Recognize the power of social media
There are still a number of companies and business owners that question the impact of social media or its ability to reach their specific target market. From a PR perspective, social media has become a significant tool for the media to not only push out news but also receive and report news, so if you do not have a presence on social media, you cannot be part of the conversation. From a marketing perspective, companies now have the ability to know what their customers are saying, instantly responding to the good, the bad and the ugly, giving business owners a better opportunity to control the message.
The connection or cross-over we see in PR tells us that the division between marketing and media relations can no longer be separate, if you want your marketing efforts to be successful. While traditional advertising and marketing will reach out to target audiences and push out information and message, your public relations, social media and digital marketing will engage, connect and pull in your target audience. Regardless of the tools a company enlists for its marketing and PR strategy in 2013, collaboration and integration will be key to its success.