PR has evolved. Even to the point it is now more relevant and more public than ever. New PR offers far more publicity opportunities than old PR ever did, especially for those who are not marketing experts. In “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” author David Meerman Scott explains, “The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media. Blogs, online news releases and other forms of Web content let organizations communicate directly with buyers.”
In the past, the media, as gatekeepers, deemed who received exposure and who didn’t. New PR offers many viable and immediate ways to reach prospects, buyers and key influencers directly. And yet with so many choices available, it’s easy to over emphasize technology and tools while core activities like strategy development receive short shrift.
For that reason, I present “The 4 Pillars of the New PR.” (Complete with handy mnemonic device for easy reference: each pillar begins with the letter “S.”)
New PR Pillar #1:Strategy
Strategy is “the what” and tactics are “the how.” The “what” could be anything from your brand personality to key business objectives and outcomes you expect from your marketing. Your strategy should also include successful positioning compared to the competition.
For example, what values does you product, service or company represent? Do those values permeate your marketing—and if not—why not? One of my most important values is humor. Humor helps me engage my audience whether live or remote, as well as overcome the dry subject matter of search engine marketing.
New PR Pillar #2:Story
The most glaring mistake I see again and again is announcement-driven messaging rather than story-driven content. Announcement style press releases work if you are Apple announcing a new ipod. But with 5,000 press releases published daily, an announcement driven approach won’t effectively breakthrough the press release clutter.
To overcome that challenge, consider developing a “Persona” and weave that through ALL of your marketing, not just your articles and press releases.
A Persona is a role or character you create for yourself. For example, I have several customers that use a Persona of “The Underdog.” I’ve seen real estate and investment pros establish the Persona of “The Contrarian” to combat the recent doom and gloom of today’s investment market.
I’ve identified 17 distinct Personas that are effective for publicity purposes. (Note: I’ll most likely release that as a bonus for a new product. Stay tuned.)
Of course, there are many other ways to enhance your story, like finding the right angle. Try piggybacking on current events. That way your message is relevant and you ride a wave of interest already created on that topic.
New PR Pillar #3:Search
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Online PR is its staying power. Old PR was often transactional and temporary. With New PR, optimize your content correctly, and your articles, stories, releases and other content can be found online for weeks, months even years—by journalists and buyers alike.
4 best practices for optimizing your PR for search:
- Put your keyword phrase in the headline and 3-4 times in the body copy.
- Include your keyword phrase is in the first paragraph and the last.
- Use a paid press release site (PRWeb, Webwire, PitchEngine) over free sites. (Paid sites have greater reach and credibility.)
- Go beyond just optimizing text: include images, audio, video and caption those elements with your keyword phrases.
New PR Pillar #4:Social
The widespread social media impact of New PR is just beginning. In “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” authors Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge shared, “By driving New PR from a social-centric position, companies can identify the right groups of people, determine their needs, uncover their channels of influence and use the tools and words that will reach and compel them.”
They further add that New PR is about “communicating with, not to” and that there is a shift from away from spin and towards relevance. They identify another critical shift: from a broadcast machine (one-to-many) to community participation (many-to-many.)
To become more community-centric, many press release sites have added social media enhancements. This includes video, images, slide shows, and connections with Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s an example of a recent social media release. This is definitely not your grandfather’s press release!
In summary, New PR is one of the most powerful methods to effectively reach prospects, buyers and influencers. Use the 4 pillars as a filter to maximize the results of both your article and press release marketing.
Please add your candid comments and feedback.
Storyhighlights and action steps:
- Time to review: 10 minutes
- New PR or PR 2.0 integrates new strategies, tactics and audiences
- The 4 pillars: Strategy, Story, Search and Social
- Related Resources:
- Two great books, both created for screenwriters but very relevant for developing a unique story and persona
- Buy/review the recommended resources as a vehicle to brainstorm Personas
- Decide on a Persona and test it in one element of your marketing
- Use the 4 pillars as a checklist for evaluating current and future New PR activities