Every once in awhile, I come across a client who is looking for the golden ticket–a PR stint or cover story that will generate thousands of dollars in new business and immediate attention to their brand. As we all know, there is no Golden Ticket in life, but hard work and perseverance pays off. This is true in public relations as well.
In order to move your PR efforts into the digital age, consider the following online PR tools:
1. Social media press release (SMPR)
The social media press release (or social media news release) is similar to a standard press release but designed in a way that gives easy access to online media. A social media press release is easily shareable and bloggable. It provides anything from links to video content, website content, social media sites, pictures and yes, your actual content and story.
Do your research and have a full understanding of key words that fit into your goals and objectives. Figure out which SEO tactics may work best in your situations to give your social media release the klout it needs to move past your competition. Need help? Check out Inc.’s “How to write a social media release”.
Think about all the social media channels you’ll use to distribute your release. Have your 140-character catchy tweets, shortened links and online pitches ready to go before sending to the masses. And be ready to respond when the comments start coming in–choose your community manager and press representative beforehand. Resources such as Pitch Engine or other distribution services (which I also mention below) are also helpful when creating a multi-media press release.
2. Expert content
Choose your words carefully. This applies to everything from your press release to your pitch and subject line. Some reporters prefer straight-to-the-point copy and others are looking for a bit of creativity that they can use in their articles about your topic.
Customization is key in everything we do. When sending out a press release, have a personal “pitch” ready to go. Think about what is most important about your topic and why readers would care. Be ready to tell a great story.
A well-developed content plan can move your business from one that is lumped into others just like yours to an expert resource that customers and the press respect and trust. Develop tools and strategies that will prove you to be a constant source of great information and expertise in your area or industry.
3. Online reputation management
Whether you shell out money for a comprehensive online reputation management and listening platform such as Radian 6, use a service such as Constant Contact’s Nutshell Mail or decide to go grass roots, it is important to put your strategies in place for how you will keep an ear out for mentions of your brand (or client’s brand) online. It can be as simple as setting up Google Alerts or throwing together an Excel spreadsheet to track data and engagement. Regardless of your resources, there should always be a listening component to your online PR strategy.
4. Distribution services and notifications
Overwhelming is an understatement when it comes to managing all of the millions of places your content could and should appear. How do you find the right bloggers? How do you know what journalists are already talking about? Using PR distribution services and other online notification tools is a start.
Signing up for services such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or Muck Rack is one way to keep your eyes and ears open for upcoming story requests. You might also consider using Vocus or PR Newswire as an overall press release distribution service. Or, better yet, work with a PR professional or agency that already has contacts in your industry. Remember, PR is all about establishing and engaging in relationships.
And although, distribution services can be nice, I do suggest this tool with caution. Make sure you’re still being personal and not just mass-distributing to see if anything sticks.
5. Relationships, not numbers
The business of PR is, and always will be, a test in relationship building. As marketers and business executives, we must stop attributing our success to the number of press releases we blast out each month and concentrate on building and fostering strong relationships with key players in our industry. Treat media professionals, bloggers and others who have a stake in your story with respect and courtesy.