Marketing experts will tell you that a well-planned public relations campaign is often far more effective than advertising. However, with the growing number of online blogs and websites, what is the most effective way to get a message about your company or product in front of your targeted customers?
Most people associate public relations with press releases (which is only one small part of PR). However, a recent study by communications firm Greentarget of 100 reporters and editors across the country found that 69 percent of journalists spend less than 60 seconds reading the news releases that many of us in the public relations business spend days writing. So while well prepared press releases can still open doors, they really work most effectively when implemented with a well planned and executed PR plan that is tied in with other marketing efforts such as social media, tradeshows, etc. The combination is more likely to increase web traffic, gain high search engine rankings, build powerful back links for SEO as well as have the potential to be picked up by other news sites, blogs, TV, print press, and more. With the volume of online content increasing exponentially by the day, how do you make your content stand out from the crowd and how do you get it in front of the right audience? Consider the following.
Define and write down your objectives for your public relations or media plan. Will it be designed to:
- Establish your expertise among your peers, the press, or your potential clients or customers?
- Build goodwill among your customer, supplier, or your community?
- Create and reinforce your brand and professional corporate image?
- Inform and create good perceptions regarding your company and services?
- Assist you in introducing a new service or product to your market?
- Generate sales or leads?
- Mitigate the impact of negative publicity and/or corporate crisis?
Define your goals in achieving this objective. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, results-oriented and time-bound. These goals must be in-line with your overall business, marketing and sales objectives.
Clearly identify your audience and speak to them. Know who your audience or customers are. Identify things like the keyword research relating to your audience, sites your customers visit, where they spend time online to get their information, preferred communication channels, as well as demographic information such as age, gender, geography, etc. Then determine what you want your key messages to be.
Develop a schedule for your public relation campaigns. Create synergy by coinciding your public relations plan with other marketing and sales efforts. Then develop your plan of attack. Determine what communication vehicles you will use to get your message out to your targeted audience:
- Articles or Blogs
- Customer Success Stories
- Press Releases
- Press Conferences, Interviews, or Media Tours
- Seminars or Speaking Engagements
- Event Sponsorships
Keep Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the forefront of your efforts. Based on all of this information you should know the best keywords to use when optimizing your PR tools for search engines. Make sure your keyword is in your title and probably mentioned again within the copy itself, possibly also incorporating related keywords within your article content.
Hone in on your message and be brief. Make sure you speak to your audience through your content and make it as relevant to them as possible based on your profile knowledge of your audience. Highlight how your product or service relates to your audience or solves a problem, offer advice, solutions etc. Reference relevant topics, sites and industry experts. You only have about 30 seconds to grab your prospects or the media’s attention, so make sure your message is to the point. If you are trying to build brand awareness, generate interest in your company or products, or generate leads, then the key to this is to provide helpful but concise information which draws the customer to your site to find out more, connect to you via social media or whatever mechanism you are using to engage the visitor further.
Finally, put measures in place to track the results of your public relations campaign. After each campaign sit down and review the results. Did you achieve the defined objectives and goals of this campaign? Should you consider modifying your original plan? If so, how and why?
Of course, if you need help with any aspect of developing your PR plan or messaging to implementing it, give us a call. We would be happy to help you reach your PR goals and objectives!