Times have changed.
Your business has more competition today. Not just because of new entrants but also because customers have become aware. The internet has given them the power to choose what they want, when they want.
In the age of social media and search engines, simply focusing on sales is a half-baked strategy. You need a robust network of the relevant audience with it. Positioning yourself in the right manner and the right places has become a business differentiator.
This is where Public Relations (PR) proves useful. It enables you to create this differentiation for your organization.
According to the Public Relations Society of America, PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Content Marketing Institute considers PR as something that “encompasses any activity, online or offline, designed to improve communications and build relationships with audiences that matter to your business.” This includes:
- Analyst relations
- Blogger relations
- Community relations
- Crisis communications
- Employee relations
- Media relations
- Public speaking
PR doesn’t just help your organization spread awareness. It’s also a valuable tool to understand what your audience really wants.
To build a strong PR strategy, here are 5 things you should keep in mind.
1. Identify the Right Audience
Awareness. That’s your goal.
But among whom?
Many business leaders answer these questions with “everyone.” But different audiences have different needs.
For instance, customers want to know how their everyday problems will get solved. Investors want to know how their investments will generate more revenue. Government bodies want to know how your organization is contributing to uplifting society.
The most important question your audience wants an answer to is, “What’s in it for me?” And this answer differs for different sects of people.
Before you think about WHAT you want to tell your audience, decide WHO they are. Find out where they hang out (online and offline) and what makes them tick. Then work on how you’ll make your messages relevant to them.
2. Connect with the Right Journalists
Author Ryan Holiday points out that a publication is doing you a favor by featuring you in an article. After all, there are many other people it can write about.
But most organizations behave in the exact opposite manner. They feel they’re doing journalists a favor by pitching their press release requests. Such requests get trashed as quickly as you delete a spam message.
The right way to approach journalists is to build meaningful relations. The better your relations, the more they’ll write about you, and the more traction you can get.
After all, journalists are more influential than editors in the publishing world.
3. Share Stories
Like your audience, the most valuable aspect of a journalist you want to capture is attention. And nothing captures attention better than well-thought stories.
Dive deep into your mental rolodex and find stories that will resonate with your audience. Our clients have been featured in renowned publications mainly because we helped them build stories that struck a cord with reporters and readers.
According to research, stories are 22 times more likely to stick in people’s minds than statistics and facts.
4. Make PR Sustainable
Getting featured in a publication once is not enough. Your audience has plenty of options vying for attention today. Last minute’s news is as good as gone.
Hence, PR should be a sustained rather than one-off activity. Here’s how you can do it.
Make a six-month roadmap which includes details of actions for one quarter. Analyze your results and refine your PR plan, just like you do with your business and sales plans.
An important part of your PR message is a Call to Action (CTA). A CTA encourages your readers and viewers to take some form of action – check out your website, connect with your social profiles, spread the word about your work, and so on.
Consistent visibility is key to positive results in the long run.
5. Prepare a PR Toolkit
Journalists are busy people. To work with them, it’s important to make their lives easier.
You can do this by staying prepared with a standard PR toolbox that includes:
- The story of your organization’s origin.
- A company brochure.
- Photos of the founders (high-res, in color, and black and white).
- Stock photos of your office.
- A high-res logo in JPG format.
Popular bloggers today spend 20 percent time creating content and up to 80 percent time promoting it. The story for organizations is no different.
In today’s hypercompetitive times, successful businesses spend substantially more time generating awareness and traction than simply selling their wares. This traction helps them carve a niche in their field and leads to exponential business growth.
Make PR a part of your strategy, not an afterthought.