A new year is here, so you likely have a new PR plan full of targets and goals. But is that plan full of the same old thing or are you trying to shift your media relations to embrace the new?
The continued rise of content marketing, brand journalism and storytelling alongside new platforms means that this year will change the PR landscape forever. As the market matures and evolves 2014 will be a turning point.
For organizations to stay relevant in the coming year and beyond, new ways of connecting with the media are necessary. When companies continue to cling to outdated ways of doing things, it is up to the PR team to change the rules of the game, push back on internal stakeholders who are used to the status quo and deliver PR that is timely, relevant and most of all, effective.
Regardless of what stage you are in when using social media and media relations, here are three practical resolutions to take action on for the coming year:
#1. Optimize Your Online Press Room
Any reporter or blogger interested in your company is going to visit your web site, especially your press room. This is valuable real estate on your web site and it is important that it is designed to meet the needs of the people who actually will be using it. Consider what types of resources make it easy for media to work with you and how you may be able to streamline routine requests from media. Include social media profile information so they can follow your organization and consider include the option to receive updates from the press room by email or RSS.
The goal of the press room should be to deliver as much content as possible to meet different needs. A trade reporter may require background on a specific solution for their industry, while a local newspaper wants details on how many people you employ. In your press room, include a variety of content including press releases, corporate backgrounders, fact sheets, product shots, infographics, corporate photos and videos.
Additionally, you want to include speaking engagements for executives, trade shows and other events so media know where to connect with you.
#2. Make Stories Visual for Social Media
Media relations as a discipline tends to be heavy on written content. To bringcontent to life, PR teams should seek out ways to create context for the story using visuals, particularly for social media. Too often there’s this idea that one piece of content – written or visual – can be used on every platform. This entirely defeats the point of using social media.
To make the most of social media and your visuals, take the time to understand the type of content that performs well on each platform. For example, if you are going to use Pinterest to promote stories, you’ll need visuals that are simple and eye catching and take the time to create dynamic descriptions for each pins. You may want to use infographics as well. For a platform like LinkedIn, you can use a combination of text and visual content, while on YouTube you’ll need to create video specifically for the platform.
If the idea of mastering multiple platforms is overwhelming start by the one or two platforms where your potential customers are most active. Remember, the goal is not to create 100% new content for each platform, but to ensure you are using the platform to its full potential with the right kinds, types and sizes of visual or other content.
#3. Use Social Media to Connect with Media
If you are struggling to get noticed by your target media using email pitches and press release distribution, it’s time to move it over to social media. Reporters rely heavily on Twitter and Facebook in particular to find stories, connect with sources and more. By meeting media where they are, you are able to build stronger relationships that can lead to coverage.
For Twitter, make a point of finding and following all of your key media contacts. Create Twitter lists so you can follow what they are tweeting, interact with them when appropriate and share their content to your followers if it is relevant.
When one of your targets is looking for sources or other information, try to be helpful, even if it doesn’t directly serve you. Connecting a reporter with a contact who could act as a source or sending background information makes their lives easier, which then makes them come to trust you. That way, when they do have a story that may be a fit for you, you’ll come to mind.
To connect with reporters/bloggers on Facebook, make sure you like their organization’s pages as some outlets will post queries for sources or other information to their page. Often reporters will post as they are working on a story, so be sure to comment as things develop and offer value.
Finally, if you have a developed relationship with a contact, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn to stay in touch. LinkedIn has become a Rolodex of sorts for media looking for sources or background info.
What resolutions for PR and social media are you going to tackle in 2014? Comment below.