You might have noticed that the public relations landscape is changing. Rapidly. Is your approach to PR changing with it?
It used to be that the PR team worked separately, taking direction from the marketing department and developing the news angles for the product or company, pitching and finding other ways to get “ink” in the media. They would compare notes with advertising and digital on occasion, but they mostly did their own thing.
Those days are over, and if your PR approach hasn’t evolved with it, it needs to.
Nowadays, PR and marketing, along with digital, creative, advertising, sales, customer service, and even employee communications, are all mixed up, jumbled together, and overlapping. Now, they all fall under one main area.
Why? Because the digital age has changed the rules. Your customers now have direct access to your communication channels, so you can reach them directly with the stories you want to tell (as long as you do it in a way that’s interesting to them).
That means audiences no longer have to go through the traditional gatekeepers (the professional media) to get information.
That’s not to say the role of the professional media isn’t important. It is. The media still holds a position of authority and (usually) unbiased credibility in the minds of your customers. So PR is as important as it ever was.
It’s just that how it’s done has changed. Like your customers, the media can get your stories from your content, instead of boring, old press releases. Much of the traditional PR function can be supported by, or even replaced with content marketing.
So, how can you optimize your content to maximize your PR efforts? Here are some ideas:
Tell your stories
Every company has stories to tell. Stories about their founding, how they grew and struggles they overcame. Stories about employees, customers and products.
The media can use these stories. They might use them as background in their own stories, or to get ideas for articles, or even just to get an understanding of what your company is about.
The more you make your stories available, the better chance there is that the media will use them in some way.
Get into the details
In your “normal” product publicity information, brevity is a virtue. You don’t want to bog your press releases and pitches down with tons of detail.
But content is tailor-made for detail.
You can use your blog or other content channels to get into the nitty-gritty details of how a product is made, how your customer feedback system works, or how you are supporting the community. That gives you an outstanding resource to direct media to if they have questions or are curious.
Inject some personality
The best content has personality. Humor, passion, conviction. Not just meaningless corporate speak.
Believe it or not, journalists like this kind of language, too. They’re people, and just like everyone else, they like to be entertained, inspired, awed.
Certainly there are boxes that need to be ticked when communicating to the media: providing basic product information and how it meets customer needs. But there’s no rule that says it has to be boring.
Whenever possible, your content should reflect the authentic personality of your brand. It will help your content stand out and your audiences — including the media — will appreciate it.
Play on emotions
As humans, we are emotional beings. We are struck by stories that involve real, human emotion.
You can certainly use emotion in your content, and believe it or not, it will help you get noticed by the media. As long as you’re authentic about it, and don’t overplay your hand, demonstrate the emotional stories behind your products, people and customers.
It can be a very powerful tool in demonstrating to the media what your brand means to people.
We saved the best for last. What content marketing does very well is educate audiences. The media who cover your industry are also in the business of educating.
By developing content that helps audiences solve a problem, you are demonstrating your expertise and authority. If a trade journal ever wants to dive deeper on a topic, they will know you offer the resources they need.
The savvy reader will notice that the 5 tips listed above are general best practices for content marketing, not just for using content for PR. The reason for that is simple.
Content is content. Audiences are audiences. As we noted above, the lines between available information channels are blurring. The media appreciates good content just like anyone else.
When you have great content, you can leverage that in a variety of ways, including PR.