PR used to be a lonely soul. It would perform tasks in isolation, diligently writing back slapping press releases to keep the boardroom happy. But times have changed. PR has since been brought in from the cold to work shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the marketing crew. Social media and modern content creation demands mean we all have to pull together to get the job done.
The market tells you what to publish. You don’t tell it what it wants to hear
Hot topics, trends and customer problems ebb and flow at rapid pace. News is commented on and opinions voiced in an endless flow of blog posts, threads and status updates. This has been going on for some time. What’s changed is that smart marketers are now finding and dipping into these conversations with predatory cunning. With tools like Buzzbundle, Radian6 and Boardreader, they can be alerted as soon as they’re trigger keywords are mentioned and then dip in their fishing lines, with comments of their own, before reeling in customers to be fed more info on their client’s website. Inbound marketing, in other words.
PR is now taking its seat to join in the game. Instead of pushing out bland one way announcements, about new warehouses, executive appointments and product launches, it’s discovering that it can get better results from listening to what the market wants to hear. That way PR can create press releases and articles which (marketing cliché alert) resonate with the hot topics and trends. This in generates more interest within the market and a more positive reaction to what it has to say.
The New Rules of Marketing of PR – My update for 2014
It’s been six years since David Meerman Scott first published ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’, advising businesses to target customers directly with content instead of publishing into the digital hoping someone would hear. It’s taken a while, but with blogging evolving into content marketing and now taking on the respectable guise of inbound marketing, people are starting to get it.
This is the PR strategy I recommend, so it can play a more effective part within the marketing mix:
- Use the social media monitoring tools already mentioned to identify the trends, customer challenges, hot topics and the people with influence in your market
- Create a relevant message that answers key issues or addresses hot topics with a unique twist. Don’t just add your voice to the cacophony, but challenge the status quo with conviction. Phrases I’ve heard for this tactic include ‘newsjacking’ and ‘rip, pivot and jam’.
- When you’re ready to publish, leave the scattergun for the amateurs. Instead, target the people who you want to hear your message with laser precision. Approach influential bloggers and social media commentators with Klout and publish to relevant forums with Oktopost or Buddy Media. Contacting journalists directly is also a good idea. As always, no spamming please. It’s time consuming, but targeting influential people and networks is going to lead much more exposure than entrusting PRWeb to do all the promotion for you.
- Track the results with Kissmetrics, Google Analytics or your stats tool of choice to gauge increase in brand mentions, social media influence, website traffic, subscribers and, yes, even leads.
- Keep PR within reach in case you need them to jump online and respond to feedback.
So there you have it. The above five points should save you some time should David decide to update his book. You can now stop publishing press releases and articles into the vacuum but instead be creating content the market is interested in. This in turn means you can look forward to a rise in quantifiable results, which is certain to delight PR and their boardroom masters alike.