A to Z Guide to Public Relations
Here are some of the basics you are going to want to keep in mind as you are developing your public relations strategies.
Your audience is going to play a huge role in deciding your content and how you send it out. It is so important to understand what types of values your audience has, how to best reach it and how to best communicate the messages you want to send out. Sometimes demographics can give you some of this insight, but other times you have to do a little more research on the side to figure it out.
If you ever plan on sending out press releases (which you should), you’ll need to have a well-written boilerplate. A boilerplate is generally at the end of a press release. It is basically a short, tight blurb that gives extra information to a reader about what is contained in a press release. Generally, this shows itself in the way of more about your own company or a company that you are writing about.
Call To Action
When you are writing pretty much any type of content for your organization whether it be a social media post, a press release or even an email to another organization, keep in mind your calls to action (CTA). A CTA is so important because it tells your reader exactly what you want him or her to do. For example, if you are sending your email newsletter out at the end of the month and in it there is a link to a new page on your website, tell people to click it. Show them why they should. What will they gain from clicking your link? This is a great way to drive traffic to your website, so use CTAs when you can.
Press releases are a huge part of press releases, so that automatically makes headlines a huge part of public relations. If you want people to read your article, give them a reason to click that link. Your headline should be that reason. Think of your headline as a little elevator pitch for your press release or blog post. It should really entice people to click.
In the word of social media especially, influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular. And, it works. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, basically an influencer is someone who has tried your product or service and shares your brand with the people in his or her circle. This often shows itself on Instagram. It works well for both ends because the influencer often receives free or discounted products/services and you as the company get to reach a wider audience. The audience is also benefitted because it gets to hear authentic reviews from an esteemed individual. Win-win-win.
We have talked about SEO on our blog before, so we’ll link some crash courses in here for ya. Know that your keywords matter. It is important that you are using your keywords to build your search engine rankings so that your company can be more quickly found.
If you are working on building your brand, lead generation is key for gathering new, qualified leads. It is a huge time saver compared to cold calling, and it is significantly more efficient. To save yourself time and seize the day, be sure that you are linking lead generation forms in your press releases and at the bottom of your blogs.
Related post: Lead Generation 101
It’s kind of a thing that public relations and the media do not see eye to eye. Keep this in mind when you are trying to plan your press releases and other news media related content. Do what you can to network and build relationships so that you can build credibility and trust with the media.
Also, if you are going to be sending your stories to specific reporters, do your research before hand. Don’t send a local story to a reporter who strictly talks about international news. Do your work to avoid burning any bridges.
When you are developing your press releases, be sure that your story is meaningful and has a purpose. Your press release is going to be pretty dull if you are trying to write it off of something insignificant or outdated. It is also less likely to be picked up by the news media if it poorly written or boring. Here’s some help from us on writing newsworthy press releases.
Typos can be a huge detriment to any sort of written content. I recently received an email about a bowling event that my school was hosting with the subject of the event saying, “Bowel for a Buck.” Yikes! Talk about a typo… These are things that can be overlooked when working in a rush or when you’ve stared at the same content for too long. Getting a fresh pair of eyes to scan over your content can be a really strong idea in this situation.
Use the resources that you have to send out the messages that you want to send. Social media is a fantastic tool to use to reach out to people and connect with them on the daily. You have the opportunity to engage with people in through convenient, efficient means. Don’t neglect your social media!
In PR, we often talk about the use of controlled and uncontrolled media. Here’s the basics: controlled media are the forms of that you have complete power over. You choose if a message is going to be sent or not, what it is going to say, when it going to be said, how it is going to be said, to whom it is going to be said, etc. Uncontrolled media is the opposite. You may not have control over how, when, where, to whom it is sent. Some examples of uncontrolled media are: press releases, news media, interviews with people outside of your company, etc. Often times your company will try to utilize both.
Crises are never planned things, but you have to be ready for them. A crisis communication plan is a very useful thing to think about no matter what your organization does. See, timing is everything. If something awful happens and your organization is linked to it, you are going to need to know what to say and how to say it in a timely manner.
Along the lines of timing, it is also a great idea to bounce your own messages off something that is happening in current events. It shows that your company is relevant, social/human, on top of their communication channels, and interested in their audiences.
Photos, memes and GIFs are all extremely important when it comes to the various media platforms. Because of the high volume of people on social media, there is this major problem of information overload. It would be pretty simple for your posts to be overlooked if they were posted at the wrong time of day or if they weren’t eye-catching. Visual content helps you get the upperhand in this realm. With this in mind, make it your goal to never post anything on social media without a visual.