Written by: Kathy McConnell
There are certain PR strategies that are applicable to any business and simply MUST be incorporated into your marketing campaign if you wish to see results and make an impact on your target audience. Whether your company is a thriving RIA, a startup in the tech scene or local small business, below are five PR truths that will benefit your company and your bottom line if executed properly.
Identifying and communicating a cohesive company story: Give your company an identity by utilizing storytelling. When used correctly, storytelling is a powerful tool that allows companies to communicate their key messages to their target audience in a way that evokes meaning. Every employee has their own perspective on a company, meaning that every company has multiple storytellers. Use key leaders as subject matter experts, who can offer their own unique insights that will make them desirable to the media as sources. Know that it’s okay to tell multiple stories as long as they convey the same key messages indicative to your company. To identify what your company story is, ask questions: How are we different than our competitors? What is our company culture? Where do fit within our industry? What are we doing that hasn’t been done before? Why should a customer choose to do business with us?
Take Warby Parker for example. They sell glasses. There are many glasses companies out there, but they connect with their consumers in a personal way through not only their services, but the way their storytellers describe the company. Take a look at its company history page . They’ve described the company as a rebellious spirit with a lofty objective. This type of verbiage makes the brand feel almost human, allowing consumers to connect on a deeper level with the company.
Video is king: The term viral video characterizes the shareability of this medium, and demonstrates its importance in today’s news and entertainment consumption. Every company can benefit from the PR powers of video. Videos are easy to digest and allow your target audience to visualize the message you are trying to convey. As media professionals, we’re beginning to see more and more publications incorporate video into their reporting, making it more important than ever to consider it as part of your PR and marketing campaign. When you produce your own video, whether it be with an in-house team or by hiring an outside vendor, you ultimately have control over the finished product. Video then becomes a unique tool that can allow you to tell your company’s story in a creative and controlled way. As more publications begin to incorporate video into their reporting strategies, it is still a relatively new feature, creating a window of opportunity. We’ve found that a lot of reporters are eager to get sources lined up for video segments and this is the time to step up and take a seat on set!
This video from M&T Bank illustrates the emphasis the company puts on building relationships with its clients. Using the power of video, M&T is able to tell a more impactful story of how it puts the community first and brings a personal touch to its business.
The impact of thought leadership: It’s every company’s dream to be on the cover of Forbes, but what most don’t understand is that with the exception of a few very rare cases, that’s not going to happen so easily. It’s going to take work and time, so don’t hesitate to take what might seem like less-significant opportunities. While you may not consider a two line quote in a trade magazine something to write mom about, these kinds of placements are the building blocks for a foundation of media coverage. A strong foundation like this will not only strengthen your presence in the industry, but will establish your company and its subject matter experts as thought leaders – a credential Forbes looks for. In addition to building a foundation of coverage through thought leadership, a mention is a mention no matter how large or small the article size or piece of coverage. Any mention of your company name, whether it’s a one-sentence quote attribution, or a feature piece, will improve your company’s SEO.
A great way to show off your key leaders’ thought leadership is through a company blog. Penn Mutual Asset Management’s blog has helped its CEO, Dave O’Malley, score media opportunities with some of the top publications. He pens his commentary on the markets every Monday in a recurring blog series called Monday Morning O’Malley . His commentary here has landed him placements with the Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, CNN Money, The Street and MarketWatch, and has earned spots in multiple CNBC television segments.
Importance of a social media presence: News consumption has changed drastically over the last ten years with the advent of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and now the next generation of channels, like Snapchat and Periscope – they all allow users to curate the news according to their own interests and tastes. Reporters, customers and potential customers all look to social media as the place where news breaks. With these social channels, for the first time ever, people from anywhere in the world with an internet connection can share their uncensored opinions on what’s happening in real-time. Don’t let your voice not be heard. There is no more-direct way to connect and engage with consumers than through social media. To use these channels to their full extent, proper social media policies must be put in place at your company.
Take a look at Forbes’ list 20 Companies You Should Be Following on Social Media . Fortune also published their own list Social Media Superstars 2014 .
Data draws interest: If your company is in the position to monitor trends and produce data, use it to your advantage. Click through the Wall Street Journal and chances are, you won’t find many articles that don’t reference at least one statistic. These kinds of facts and figures are like the Swiss Army knife of a PR pro’s positioning tool belt. There is data that can be used to support almost any argument if positioned correctly. Data draws readers and motivates them to act as they relate the numbers to fact. Data intrigues reporters who need an extra oomph of conviction to stimulate their audience. In order to stay relevant during a drought of company announcements, compiling original data is a crafty way to keep your company in the news.
One company who has this down pat is Zoosk, the online dating site. Check out this article from Refinery29, the perfect publication for their target audience. It features results from a survey Zoosk conducted on the most common first date ideas in seven metropolitan areas across the U.S. The survey is titled, “The Date Index.” Study results are a great way to gain media attention. You’re basically writing the story for the reporter with your own data.