Snackable PR: 15 Public Relations Ideas


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Check out an eBook from SHIFT Communications looking at the world of PR and social media.

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Snackable PR: 15 Public Relations Ideas

  1. 1. Snackable PR: 15 Public Relations Ideas In this short eBook, we want to share with you our thoughts about where the world of public relations, earned media, marketing, and communications has been and where it’s going. If you’re new to the world of public relations or you’ve been heads-down getting things done and haven’t had time to see what’s been changing in the world of communications, then this eBook should help. We’ve collected some of the most popular topics and thoughts about PR, social media, marketing, and communications for you in one guide that will help you understand what’s new and different. This isn’t a comprehensive book on PR. After all, PR is an entire profession (arguably a set of professions), and encapsulating the work we all do in just 10,000 words would be nearly impossible. That said, if you’re in a role in marketing or management and you’re wondering what PR does for you (or could do for you) then this guide should be a good primer. That’s why we’ve named it with such a peculiar title: it’s snackable appetizers for what will hopefully be a satisfying experience working with your public relations team or agency. Table of Contents SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 2 PR Basics 10 Steps to Reinvent Your Media Strategy Why PR Will Own Content Marketing The Convergence of Advertising and PR The Roles of Paid, Earned, and Owned Media Digital and Traditional PR Look The Same Relationships Between PR and Journalists Have Changed Forever When PR and Communications Cannot Help Social Media and PR Public Relations' Death-Defying Pivot The Benefits of Social Media Social is the New SEO (and the new PR) 10 Ways to Actually Become a Social Media Expert Social Media Crisis Communications Guidelines The Danger of the Single Influencer Top 10 Guidelines for Corporate Social Media Participation       Conclusion Get More PR and Communications Insights
  2. 2. example, obviously, you’ve tapped SHIFT to help out! RESEARCH: SHIFT conducts research on the industry opportunity, the competition, the social media and mainstream media buzz, and, the influencers in the space. We determine what types of content are most often shared across the social graphs of your stakeholders. MESSAGING: With these findings, we conduct a messaging session for the corporation and/or product, coming up with clear points of differentiation that also reflect your brand and culture — and which, critically, we can “sell” to the media, to prospective customers, and the world. CONTENT CREATION: On an ongoing basis we create content in support of the message — maybe it’s a video, or an infographic series, or a microsite, etc. Maybe it’s as simple as an email pitch to a handful of top reporters. Sometimes that’s enough. SEO & OWNED MEDIA: As appropriate, the zingy new content is SEO- optimized and shared across your company’s owned channels: your blog, Twitter, your Facebook page, your Google+ page, etc. It pings across the social nets of your current fans and friends. EARNED MEDIA: More importantly, SHIFT is working to ensure that content is motivating influencers to share that content, whether in the mainstream media or on influential industry or consumer blogs, and/or across individual Social Media influencers’ social graphs … Hey! What’s that, again? SHIFT nailed down an article about the company in USA TODAY!? Awesome. That’s third party, credentialed and unbiased credibility from a respected source with huge readership. It doesn’t get much better. Let’s call this “The Big Hit.” In the old days, that’s when we’d stop. Maybe the client would post the USA TODAY article on their site, but that’s typically as far as it would go … Leading inevitably to the “what have you done for me lately?” syndrome that has plagued the industry. Today, at SHIFT, that earned media “Big Hit” is where things start to get interesting. EARNED MEDIA > OWNED & PAID MEDIA: In addition to sharing The Big Hit across your owned social channels (Facebook Timeline, Twitter, corporate blog, etc.), we’re going to advocate making sure that millions of additional eyeballs view this awesome content, via paid promotion strategies. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 7 THE EARNED MEDIA HUB STRATEGY: You (the client) have an idea; you have a product or service to sell … in this
  3. 3. traffic. (By the way, yes, mainstream publishers love this approach: while you may be featuring a media competitor’s content, they will get paid for the link. And the reporter who wrote the original piece certainly appreciates it when you send millions of new readers their way!) MORE EARNED > OWNED & PAID: Now, let’s take the “Awesome story! Love this product!”Facebook post by an influencer who “liked” The Big Hit and turn that post into a Sponsored Story that pings their social graph and beyond. Now you have the added validation of an influential kudos attached to that already-awesome Big Hit! If that kudo happened on Twitter, instead? Cool: we can create a Promoted Tweet, featuring the influencer but pointing readers to The Big Hit itself. Again, you’re using Paid Media to drive eyeballs to Earned Media, earning a double- whammy of credibility. EVEN MORE EARNED > OWNED & PAID: And if we didn’t note an influencer giving the thumb’s-up to The Big Hit? No problem. It just means we might use more conventional social advertising strategies to drive traffic to that earned media hit. AND IT CONTINUES! EARNED > OWNED & PAID: It need not end there. Some clients understandably worry about sending traffic to USA TODAY vs. their own website. But once prospects read that great USA TODAY hit and come for a website visit, we can create banner ads (or use clients’ current inventory) and deploy Ad Re-Targeting technology based on those website visits. In laymen’s terms: if the prospect visited your website, we can serve them targeted banner ads across a vast network of external, mainstream media sites, reminding them throughout their subsequent surfing of their original interest in your company. See how the credibility-boosting power of Earned Media can become the hub of a broader marketing communications strategy? It wasn’t possible before. It’s possible now. All you need is a different way of thinking. It’s not all about Social for Social’s sake. It’s about taking full advantage of Media Convergence, and using the most valuable, trusted content assets as the central spoke in your strategy. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 8 EARNED > PAID: Let’s syndicate the content. We can guarantee that The Big Hit you got at USA TODAY is also seen by readers of contextually-related articles on other mainstream media sites, ranging from CNN and Newsweek to TMZ and PC Magazine. We even perform A/B testing on the headlines to further boost relevant
  4. 4. Paid Media Paid media channels are any media channels that you must pay to access. You don't own them, and unless you pay money, you don't get to have access to them. Examples of paid media are things like pay per click ads, advertisements on TV or radio, banner ads, paid editorial content in email newsletters, sponsored blog posts, etc. Paid media channels are out of your control the moment the money stops, and the flow of audience stops with it. Earned Media Earned media channels are any media channels that you must earn access to by having stuff worth talking about or sharing. Paying money doesn't get you in, and you don't own it, so you have to earn your way in with awesomeness. Earned media channels in the past have been traditional, mainstream media outlets like TV news programs, newspapers, radio talk shows, magazines, etc. but are now a much broader universe. Earned media includes things like other people's blogs, social media accounts, and even search engines. (SEO is functionally another form of earned media) Anywhere someone else can talk about how awesome you are is earned media. If you've got awesome to share, earned media can be a tremendous, sustainable source of new audience for your product or service. Once you understand the relationships among the media types and how they contribute to the overall communications process, knowing what's lacking in your media mix becomes fairly straightforward. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 15
  5. 5. Digital and Traditional PR Look The Same Dave Levy I have at least one or two media contacts with whom I rarely, if ever, email. It’s not that I’m not doing my job; it’s that whenever I have a pitch or want to soft- sound a story idea, I have to shrink the thought into way-less than 160 characters so I can direct message them on Twitter. It will not surprise you to learn that most of these “Tweet First” contacts are bloggers. A few years ago, blogger engagement was a separate category from traditional media activities. In fact, during the growth of digital PR back six or seven years ago, we had two distinct teams with their own tasks related to either traditional pitching or blogger engagement. I was working in the latter camp, and by way of talking to people who blog, and who were some of the first on Twitter, it was kind of a natural progression to stop emailing each other and then just tweet. Blogging looks a lot more like mainstream news these days (or mainstream news looks more like blogging, that’s a chicken or egg post for another day). Along with that, the space between what I’ve been doing in my career around online news sources and what colleagues who have filled more traditional media roles has gotten really, really small. Sure, my leading example here talked about how bloggers and I talked through Twitter direct messaging. But it isn’t only bloggers who rely on Twitter for everything from news to getting leads from sources. There are even reporters who have grown in their careers to join traditional outlets by way of being active online bloggers (and, again, plenty of writers who once wrote for large organizations have jumped to independent, online outlets). When I got into this business, it felt different to be talking to a blogger, but maybe it shouldn’t have. I don’t know if I’m ruining some big secret, but there really isn’t that much that’s different in terms of what we do when we reach out to an online-only reporter. Journalists and bloggers alike are writing stories, and sometimes we as PR professionals have – or think we have – a tip that will help them create content. Ultimately, we have to take the time to get to know the writer, what they consider relevant and the best ways to reach them. That process doesn’t change on the basis of reaching out to either a blogger or a traditional journalist. As a final bit of homework, I’ll challenge you to think about what pitching a story in a direct message is like. It’s really, really good practice to take your pitch and try and get all the important parts into less than a sentence. If you can do that, you’ll have a better sense of your story and what you are trying to say – no matter who you are reaching out to. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 16
  6. 6. Relationships Between PR and Journalists Have Changed Forever Amanda Guisbond I came across an article recently on ways PR pros can cultivate relationships with reporters vs. just cold pitching them all the time.  It reminded me of when I first started in PR and got briefed by a colleague on what it takes to earn the media’s trust; to be a valued resource and not just a “flack” (I still cringe at this horrible term to describe our profession).  Back then we called it the rule of three – give the reporter two things of value to THEM before one request of value to YOU.  This might be a quick note that said, “Great article today! Loved your points about X and X” (full stop) or “Hey did you see the news on X? Thought you’d be interested”(again, full stop) before ever pitching them on a client or idea. It’s been only four years since that first conversation but still, much has changed across the media landscape, including: how reporters generate and distribute stories; which publishing houses are thriving vs. failing — and whether they offer paid or free content; and the types of headlines that get the most eyeballs.  Just this week I heard someone talk about the popularity of “list articles,” identifying them as “listicles,” and I felt my mind expand an inch more. If I were to sit down with a PR newbie today and show them the ropes of media relationships, here’s what I would say that is different from my first go in 2008: Don’t be afraid:  Reporters need you as much as you need them – sometimes more if you’ve got an awesome, sought-after client.  They are being challenged to churn out content FAST and they’re often relying on others (you) to provide insight, quotes, access to spokespeople and in some cases, help educate them on a complicated or new (to them) topic – all by deadline. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship so don’t be afraid to make that first contact – you might be surprised. Get connected:  I don’t advise blindly connecting to every reporter you’ve ever heard of on LinkedIn, but after that first client briefing or email trail, connect with them on LinkedIn.  Even easier, follow them on Twitter or Google+ and subscribe to their feed.  My best media contacts are people that I’m connected to on LinkedIn and I truly believe that sometimes, because they see my face pop up on their news feed, they remember to reach out with a source request. Reporters need to network, too:  More than ever, reporters are being measured by their social networks and how many people – hits – they can get to their stories and to then go back and share with their own networks. That is stressful! That being said, reporters know PR pros tend to be outgoing, well-connected individuals, and they may lean on you to broaden their reach.  I’ve connected a few reporter “friendlies” with other PR pros for stories that have led to success for all involved.  I SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 17
  7. 7. also sometimes send a reporter, if they’re in my region, a link to a networking event they might find interesting or that I’m attending. Freelance writers rock:  And there’s more of them then there were four years ago.  Get in good with a freelancer and you won’t regret it – these are smart, driven and often very KIND people who at any given point could be writing something super niche, for a “smaller” outlet, and then next thing, contributing regularly to a column in a major business publication.  Because of the nature of operating solo and/or remote from the main news hub, freelancers are more likely to reach out with a media request and ask for help. Share the heck out of their news — and not just when it’s yours:  You have a reporter friend and they just wrote about your client and you’re PUMPED so you like it, tweet it, send it to your Mom (don’t lie, you’ve done it).  Your reporter friend appreciates this because they want more web traffic to their article and in many cases today, their boss is counting how many hits, RTs, comments, etc. that article receives.  On several occasions I’ve actually had reporters email me after coverage hits to let me know “Yay! It got a bunch of comments” or “Wow! The story got X number of click-throughs” and then thanked me for sharing it on LinkedIn or Twitter.  But it’s not just YOUR coverage that should be shared – like any solid PR pro you want to be consistently reading your media “friendlies” work and sharing it with your network.  Reporters recognize this and will not forget you when it comes time to write another story. To that PR newbie I would then say:  At the end of the day, if you’re doing your job right, a reporter will not only see you as a resource, but as an industry peer.  And that makes public relations more valuable, powerful and better in terms of what we can offer our clients. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 18
  8. 8. Earned media is about much more than media interviews and placements in the papers. In the 21st century, every customer with a mobile phone is as good as a journalist for your company's reputation. A bad review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google Local is just as damaging as a bad Zagat review. If you're not willing or able to acknowledge and address customer concerns when they have a bad experience, then for every positive piece of earned media that a PR firm can earn you, legions of unhappy customers will work against you with their own voices. No PR firm in the world can suppress an unhappy customer (nor should they). Fix broken customer relations so that your PR and communications investment can be maximized by having fewer voices working against it. We hope this brief look at the things that work against PR can help guide you as to what needs to be fixed in order to get the most out of your communications investment. Fix the most broken things first, and only then contact a PR firm to help boost your efforts once things are working again. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 21 Broken Customer Relations
  9. 9. more valued than ever. The PR industry works with media sources of all kinds and measures the impact that they have. Consumers still trust many of the media brands like the New York Times and are so flooded with information that they’re now whittling down what they pay attention to. With a good public relations strategy, you can reach those outlets (traditional and digital) that consumers trust while being able to forego the ones that haven’t earned the trust of their communities. Consumers of media have limited time, limited attention, and limited trust. If you don’t know who to publish your news to, it may never get seen. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 24
  10. 10. The Benefits of Social Media Todd Defren As the prevalence of social media continues to rise, organizations of all types and sizes are recognizing the ways in which social media can help them better understand, respond to, and attract the attention of their target audience. As a result, businesses are now jumping on the social media bandwagon at a rapid pace, embracing blogs, social networks, wikis, and other vehicles to achieve their marketing and public relations goals. What types of benefits can companies achieve with an effective social media strategy? Get the Message Out Faster – and to More People Social media enables more rapid sharing of information. It may take hours, or even days, for a new announcement to reach the end consumer through traditional channels. Why? Because when a press release is issued, a journalist or writer must first wade through all the sales and marketing lingo to find the key points. Then, the content must be re-purposed in article format, and sent to an editor or proofreader before it is published. Social media channels, on the other hand, allow for instantaneous dissemination of not just news, but images, audio, video, and other multimedia content as well. And because releases geared toward social media outlets contain only key highlights, pertinent facts, and links to related statistics and quotes, the information they contain can be immediately picked up and posted by bloggers and other online journalists. Ask any major news outlet how often they've been scooped by Twitter, from Supreme Court decisions to Olympics coverage to local news events. Need further proof? Turn on any cable news channel and see how often social media is being referenced, if not directly imported into the shows themselves. Social media also provides more widespread coverage, enabling breaking news to reach a much larger and broader reader base than standard media outlets alone. While magazine readership and the number of available print publications continue to decline, the number of consumers using the Internet to access and share information continues to rise sharply. Facebook now sports over a billion users who are logging in and reading, sharing, and talking daily. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 25
  11. 11. AuthorRank, who writes the content for you for search purposes is as important as what they write. It’s a huge shift for companies; forward-thinking companies will encourage employees to nurture and grow their own authority and authorship and then lend that to the company. Backwards-thinking companies will lose employees who understand that their digital rolodex is part of their value and career path – stifling that will stifle the employee’s career prospects for the future. Content marketing with things like guest blog posts will be a lot more competitive as forward-thinking marketers look for guest authors who are willing to share some of their AuthorRank with the places they write. This, by the way, must be set up bilaterally in order for Google to count it – the author must declare on their Google+ profile that they’re guest blogging as a contributor somewhere in addition to links in the content itself. Unscrupulous marketers will gain no benefit from digital name dropping without the authors reciprocating. Think about the game-changing power of AuthorRank when it comes to public relations. If you can develop good relations with bloggers, authors, writers, and journalists and link their AuthorRank to your digital properties, you’ll be creating earned media with incredible value that will persist long past an equivalent media buy. Even hiring in marketing may change at the most cutting-edge, forward- thinking companies. Companies looking for specific marketing benefits like social authority and search engine marketing may need to adjust their strategies to hire people who have and are willing to share their personal authority with the company brand. Ultimately, AuthorRank will be incredibly empowering to every marketer and digital communicator who is creating content. Being recognized for your authority and authorship in the world of search marketing lends additional value to everything you do. If you’ve not gotten started on setting up authorship and the prerequisites for AuthorRank for yourself and your company, get started today. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 29
  12. 12. because they move as a group, as an "influence army", where lots of people moving in concert vastly outweighs what a single influencer could do. A standard "influencer outreach" campaign would have missed both of these examples. Beware looking for the magic bullet single influencer! Both examples above are shining cases of why there's simply no substitute for being a valued member of these velvet rope communities long before you need them, because in order to leverage the influence of the private community as a whole, you need to have earned a tremendous amount of social currency beforehand in service to the community. How do you get in? Depending on your company size (or the agency you hire), you may already have employees involved in some of the communities that could affect your business positively. Ask around! If you've got an all-company email list, ask your employees what groups they know of, and be sure to encourage your employees (with appropriate policy and guidance) to be proactive in joining and participating in communities as they find them in your industry. Instruct them not to sell, just to be helpful and valuable members of the communities, so that when a time comes that you need to leverage the power of your extended community, your team can mobilize those groups effectively. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 35
  13. 13. TOP 10 GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA PARTICIPATION AT (COMPANY) These guidelines apply to (COMPANY) employees or contractors who create or contribute to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of Social Media. Whether you log into Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, MySpace or Facebook pages, or comment on online media stories — these guidelines are for you. While all (COMPANY) employees are welcome to participate in Social Media, we expect everyone who participates in online commentary to understand and to follow these simple but important guidelines. These rules might sound strict and contain a bit of legal-sounding jargon but please keep in mind that our overall goal is simple: to participate online in a respectful, relevant way that protects our reputation and of course follows the letter and spirit of the law. 1. Be transparent and state that you work at (COMPANY). Your honesty will be noted in the Social Media environment. If you are writing about (COMPANY) or a competitor, use your real name, identify that you work for (COMPANY), and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so. 2. Never represent yourself or (COMPANY) in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated. 3. Post meaningful, respectful comments — in other words, please, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive. 4. Use common sense and common courtesy: for example, it’s best to ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to (COMPANY). Make sure your efforts to be transparent don't violate (COMPANY)'s privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech. 5. Stick to your area of expertise and do feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities at (COMPANY). 6. When disagreeing with others' opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly: feel free to ask the PR Director for advice and/or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on (COMPANY). 7. If you want to write about the competition, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and that you have the appropriate permissions. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 36
  14. 14. 8. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties (COMPANY) may be in litigation with. 9. Never participate in Social Media when the topic being discussed may be considered a crisis situation. Even anonymous comments may be traced back to your or (COMPANY)’s IP address. Refer all Social Media activity around crisis topics to PR and/or Legal Affairs Director. 10. Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and (COMPANY)’s confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. Google has a long memory. NOTE: Mainstream media inquiries must be referred to the Director of Public Relations. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 37
  15. 15. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 38 Facebook announced Graph Search recently in its press conference, a new form of social search that relies on friends and connected parties to find interesting results. Instead of traversing search archives about topics, Graph Search lets you traverse social networks for people who know about the topics. It should take almost no time for Graph Search Optimization companies to spring up overnight for optimizing your marketing programs for Graph Search. I'll save you some time with a few simple guidelines based on what Facebook has revealed. 1. It's about who you know. Google Search is about what. Facebook Graph Search is about who. Change how you think about search for Facebook. The two strategies are incompatible, so you can't just copy your Google SEO strategies blindly and hope it all works out. 2. It's actually technically about who knows you. If you have the right, relevant audience, then when people are asking friends of friends about your industry, Graph Search will connect them. Guess what that means? You should be asking vigorously of your customers, of your mailing list, of anyone relevant to your industry, to hit the ol' Like button. Also, you can fling anything you heard about the value of a Facebook Like straight out the window now, if you haven't already. This changes that game entirely. 3. Your fans are officially your marketing force whether they want to be or not. With Graph Search, people who like your Facebook Page and share your stuff will automatically be referral marketing on your behalf. In their briefing they said, "You
  16. 16. SHIFT / SNACKABLE PR: 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS / 39 want a search tool that can help you get access to things people have shared with you." The value of someone hitting the Share Button is now significantly higher because the algorithm for Graph Search is going to make the logical connections from public and friends' shares. Get your friends, customers, prospects, and evangelists to Share your stuff as often as possible. 4. Engagement matters (more). Facebook is quite clear about that: "Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis." Engage, because the algorithm, given two choices for a search, will pick the higher engagement one to list first. In their words, "Results are ranked by people you care the most about; the rest are sorted by mutual friends and other signals in the Facebook system." That means EdgeRank, which is composed of freshness, relevance, and closeness. Get people talking with your Facebook Page by any legitimate means you can. 5. Add location data to your Facebook Page or else. Graph Search has geo- targeting built in. For that matter, make sure that your Facebook Page is as complete as you can make it for your business. As more is revealed about Facebook Graph Search, there will be more ways to take advantage of it, but this is a list of things you can do right now, today, to prepare. If you want to get in on the Graph Search beta as a user, Facebook has a waiting list here.