I am not sure about you, but for me, the year literally flew by. While trying to clear a mountain of paperwork before the year ends, I also started to contemplate for 2018. For fellow marketers, what are strategies and tactics that are worth keeping, and what should they do moving into 2018? Let me offer a few humble observations from the past few years of in-house and client-related work, and also trends I observed that would find a long trajectory.
Public Relations (PR) has gone through evolutionary and even revolutionary changes from the 1990s to today.
Before the emergence of social media, online video, online newsrooms, and citizen journalism, it seemed many organizations and practitioners narrowed PR to merely media relations and measured PR only as a factor of the antiquated “advertising value equivalence” (AVE).
Today, PR has gone much, much further. Here are 5 important things to consider.
1) Be holistic. PR is one facet of corporate communication but not the end-all and be-all. PR exists as a subset of a holistic and effective corporate communication program, alongside internal communication, advertising, events, direct marketing, and so on. Plan and think holistic.
2) Media Relations is a mere subset of PR. We need to cater to the entire spectrum of stakeholders, that would include the media, but also institutions, customers, prospects, and the public. The idea of “word-of-mouth” advertising is not new, and proven to be effective. We need to engage EVERY stakeholder possible, to maximize the client’s brand, its products and services, and its reputation.
3) PR is the summation of facts and storytelling. PR is not a direct sales tool, and must be set aside as a serious, respectable, credible information source that can be relied upon by the media and other stakeholders alike. Therefore, facts (information that can be proven to be true) must be present in PR information and collaterals. At the same time, PR must not be boring. The best way to persuade through credible PR is not a “sell, sell, sell” approach, but through the presentation of facts with a good case story as the frontrunner. A story well and truthfully told will get you the greatest mileage.
4) Think social, mobile, and visual. PR is not just about a textual news release sent to hundreds of journalists. Today, PR requires you to present your news to the social media and the mobile platforms, as these become increasingly news and information sources many people rely on (as secondary sources, and sometimes even as primary sources). At the same time, your news must soar beyond the printed page, and jump off the screen as sounds, pictures, and video. At the same time, more people read news off their smartphones and tablets. You need to reach out to the mobile audience.
5) Own your news. PR is no longer the ceding of content to the mainstream media and hope you get mileage and coverage. You need to own your news. An online newsroom with online video, podcasts, and images, is a must-have today, as you extend and expand your media outreach by owning your content that we develop and deliver for you, as well as reaching out to traditional mainstream media. Many multinational corporations and emerging ones have empowered themselves with their own news properties. shouldn’t you?
PS – Here are some stakeholders we need to holistically reach out to:
Recently, some marketing folks were interviewed in a magazine on why mobile apps did not get the thumbs up as a marketing tool. Some of the opinions of these folks include: (1) many apps are “me too”, (2) many apps are ads and sales-centric, (3) managers are measuring successes on downloads and monetization.