When I started in public relations 17+ years ago, press releases were paramount as a way to create a splash for clients. Let’s face it, people were still saying “Any PR is good PR”. Today, public relations is less about who you’re pitching and even what you’re pitching. It’s asking yourself the question: “How are communications improving your client’s bottom line?”
Today’s clients want and need analytics and outcomes showing a return on investment, and only a dynamic approach can fuel the best results. While traditional PR mainstays like the press release- born from necessity more than a century ago – can be resurrected if done with a tailored approach, it’s more so about using a cross-medium marketing strategy that shares the right message for the right channel at the right time.
Whether you’re an agency looking to elevate your offerings beyond the clipbook deliverable or a company interested in seeing what’s changed in the sphere of public relations: Here are 5 methods PR professionals should implement in a campaign or strategy that go beyond the standard press release:
1. Create measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with your client From the onset of your relationship with a client, create KPIs that are realistic and also rooted in improving sales. This should stem from the courageous question during brand planning where you ask: “Can I see your sales data and consumer purchase metrics?”
2. Incorporate experiential marketing With more and more consumers preferring experience over products, it may be high time to create something that incorporates both. Invite long-lead editors, bloggers, and influencers in the field to interactive events that showcase the brand where they can personally experience the products or service but in a unique way that builds brand affinity.
3. Always support “mediable” activations with digital amplification Yes, events create buzz, especially the experiential ones I just mentioned, but it’s important to build sustainable buzz once press/influencers leave your venue door. Every activation needs to have a content strategy to adapt that experience beyond your event attendees and to your audience online. One way is to use images from your event accompanied with social copy that includes a call to action to learn more about your product/service on your owned website.
4. Capitalize on brand-relevant moments in time Create a campaign that capitalizes on national holidays or a moment in time that aligns with the product (and no, I’m not talking about Mother’s Day). Create messaging that encourages your consumers to think there’s a need for your product or service such as a sweat-reducing treatment during the summer months or launch a CBD product during 4/20 and Earth Day.
5. Personalize your relationships & your pitches PR is a people’s business, so building your media relationships outside of that press release you drafted in Microsoft Office is a must. By creating real-life connections with writers and influencers, you are understanding what makes them tick, what they don’t or do like about your client in a candid manner, and lastly – you’re not as anxious to pitch them that one out-of-the-box idea.
Yes, people still create and send press releases with the desire to create awareness, but public relations itself as a profession has evolved and it’s time to look into a multi-disciplinary approach that creates tangible impact for business.