Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Social media is today’s major player when it comes to disseminating news and information. The speed at which this occurs is the primary difference from that of traditional media in getting out the news, both good and negative.
In no way does this mean abandoning paid advertising, direct mail, etc., but it’s critical for businesses to utilize and leverage social media if they hope to expand and remain strong. Look at public relations as that extra burst of speed and energy in your arsenal.
Remember that the primary difference between public relations and advertising is that PR is free. The key is being effective at crafting the right message and getting it placed in the most strategic places.
Identify reporters, bloggers, and other influencers who cover and are interested in your product, business or industry. Open up and nurture a relationship with them.
Another main difference is that effective public relations can create positive impressions and influence a lot of people. For retailers, this is critical and what led to the use of influencers, people who have a large number of followers on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Relationships with reporters are as important as before because they can help get your new product, store opening, etc. published, aired and covered. However, reporters today receive hundreds, if not thousands of pitches weekly, and the competition is staggering.
Stand Out in the Crowd
What stands out when reporters decide what to cover is the context and relevancy of a story or press release. In preparing a release to the media, answer yourself the question, “Why is my information important to the public and why should they care?”
If a reporter had to choose, a new type of food product would likely be reported over a release about the one-year anniversary of a store, unless there was a “hook” in the latter. A “hook” makes an ordinary thing or event special. Coming up with one increases your chances of success. So, too, is a compelling or emotional story.
Research, too, helps in crafting your pitch to the media. Citing things such as a study, poll or credible source that supports what you’re doing or selling gives it added authenticity and increases the likelihood of being covered and reported.
Keep your audience engaged and informed on a regular basis. It also helps to periodically survey them to determine if there are any new ideas worth pursuing or if the marketplace appears to be changing. An audience that feels empowered will likely be more loyal to you.
Social media is powerful but it, too, will evolve. In addition to the periodic survey of your audiences, it’s also wise to track your social media efforts. This is invaluable because this will inform you about what PR initiative worked or didn’t work. Use the information gained as a learning experience and to make adjustments in your messaging.
About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.