PR can be a powerful promotional medium for businesses if used correctly. However for most organizations hiring a PR agency is down in the totem pole of marketing spends because many organizations believe that the role of PR is largely restricted to corporate PR where reputation management is key to ensuring that negative news is handled appropriately in the press while positive news is amplified.
A classic case of extremely good reputation management was done in the recently concluded Indian Elections where an internationally and domestically vilified political candidate since 2002 managed to recreate a unique reputation as a ‘economic growth leader’ to an extent that he caught the imagination of the masses. This propelled him to becoming the Prime Minister.
Since long PR has been actively used for political and corporate reasons in managing & building reputations. However with the advent of the digital medium the entire concept of what constitutes PR has undergone a sea change and has coined new terms such as ORM (Online Reputation Management).
With the advent of ORM, gone are the days when you would see a PR executive thumbing her rolodex to reach out to journalists. Today, you’re far more likely to see a young geek sitting on his laptop interacting and driving or managing news stories via social media.
The times they are a changing. For the better.
As SMB business owners or brand managers, today the digital world offers huge opportunities for brands and smaller firms to undertake PR programs on as large a scale as they want to. In today’s digitally connected world, the new news story writer are no longer media journalists in print or TV but Bloggers, Twitterati’s, Facebookers & LinkedIners.
If you’re running a mid-sized business enterprise or working as a marketing manager somewhere you can now leverage PR positively for your own business. Here’s how you can start on the road to getting good PR for your business.
- Tell a story
People like stories, and writers that share them know that their readers like stories. If you want good free publicity create stories around your business. Maybe your business is operating in an environment that is very different, maybe you’ve won a large order against a very big competitor, or maybe you’re just a startup. Stories could be built around the CEO or key employees of the organization or around your product. Think deep into your business and make a list of all possible stories that you could create. They are your ‘news hooks’.
Positive stories give you positive publicity.
- Determine who could carry your story
Identifying the right recipient for carrying your story is critical rather than sending out your news story en-masse to everyone. Most online and offline media journalist cover particular genres. Check which genre best suits your story. You don’t have to be always in the same genre. You could one day send out a story on a marketing story targeting journalists who cover marketing while on another day you could be sending out a PR story showcasing how your company’s HR policies resulted in zero absenteeism and get that covered by someone who writes about HR. The more different hooks you create, the more likely that you will find different sets of people to write about you and hence appeal to different sets of readers.
- Write your story
Story telling is an art best left to a professional writer. A professional writer will be able to craft your press releases with the right mix of words that would appeal for the genre being targeted and hence find appeal to the ultimate reader.
- Get your story out
Getting your story out to the media can be tricky for someone who is not connected to the media industry. Every blogger, every journalist worth his salt is today inundated with press releases coming at him from multiple sources. Even if you’re story does find interest with him you still may not make the cut at the editing table. Hence it is important to have an external PR agency assisting you in this task.
An external PR agency not only helps you identity the key players in the genre you are targeting, but also helps you write out the story and finally connect it to the key players, follows up with them via their pre-existing relationships and works on making sure that you’re story appears on key publications being targeted.
If you can’t afford to hire a PR agency, there are plenty of Press Release sites that offer to send out your press releases to multiple publishers at a small prize. Of course there is no guarantee that your news story would appear in the ones that you want. But it’s a great way to generate good SEO.
- Socialize your story
In today’s world PR doesn’t stop at merely having your press release or news story published in key publications. In fact the real work of amplifying the story begins and this calls for a whole new genre of skills that a traditional PR agency may or may not have. What you would ideally need is a content marketing agency or a PR agency with skills in content marketing.
Socializing your story involves using the power of social media to amplifying your story. Remember to add share buttons on all stories that you carry on your site. Some of the things that you or your agency could do are:-
- Post your story on all your social media pages like Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, Twitter, Pinterest. Request your followers on these pages to share them. The more shares you get, the greater will be the amplification. Of course the likelihood of sharing is directly proportional to the emotive quotient of your news story. Stories with high emotive quotient will get shared more. Add a relevant picture to aid sharing.
- Post your story on content curating sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Four Square and others.
- Post your story on your company blog and link your blog to other blogging communities like IndiBlogger.
- Spend some money and advertise your new story on sites like Outbrain. For a small budget you could get your targeted readers to click and view your story and possibly share it with their network through the share buttons that you have so thoughtfully put in.
- Reach out to bloggers who cover the same business genre that your story is in and showcase your story to them. You will find some of them covering your story or talking about you in their blog soon enough.
PR is not something restricted for large organizations or political leaders. Every organization big or small can use PR today. You could use PR to promote a specific event or promotion that you are doing or use it to promote your business. The key ingredient is doing a successful PR is finding the right service provider. Not all service providers can provide all services, which is where Agencyonnet comes in. By using the platform, businesses not only can access the free consulting that comes along with the platform but also use Agencyonnet to line them up with the right service provider anywhere in the globe.
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