Monday, 20 June 2016

Guest Post: 6 Essential PR Lessons For Every Content Marketer

PR is still one of the most effective marketing strategies. In fact, there is evidence that utilizing PR as part of your overall marketing strategy promises greater returns than ignoring it completely. For content marketers who feel that PR could add substance to their campaigns, here are some great tips. 

1. Understand What PR is and What it is NOT

PR stands for Public Relations.  Essentially, it means getting press. In the past, this would involve getting your products reviewed by journalists in articles, industry publications and so on. A lot has changed over the years but PR remains rather the same. PR efforts are still focused on getting a brand in front of the right audiences, at the right time, with the right messages.
PR is NOT advertising. You shouldn’t confuse the two. In advertising, you pay to place media (whether an article, a video, or an audio clip) on a particular site. That’s not how PR works. PR is also NOT guest-posting. Unlike guest posting, PR doesn’t involve a member of your company writing posts for high-profile publications. Lastly, PR isn’t content marketing. Although there are areas where the two overlap, that doesn’t imply that they are the same.

2. Appreciate the Digital Influence on PR

PR keeps evolving in a bid to keep up with the times. Today, journalists and PR professionals connect in a very different way. The days of simply hustling on the phone are long gone. With more communications platforms available to them including social media and instant messaging, today’s PR guys are even better equipped at their job.
The other main difference between being a PR person today and being one in the 90s is that today’s PR guys have to work a lot harder to cut across the noise on the internet. More than half of sales communications now happen online. And most of these communications are initiated not by PR guys but by the consumers themselves. Online peer-to-peer influence is so huge that most consumers are now ignoring professional PR and choosing to make purchase decisions based on the advice of their family and close friends. It’s a tough time for PR! Kissmetrics discusses several other ways that the digital consumerism has impacted public relations.

3. Connect the Dots Between Content Marketing and PR

As we have already mentioned, content marketing and PR aren’t completely separate entities. The two can co-exist and actually do co-exist at certain levels. For example, PR still requires content creation and today when you talk about content creation then people will assume that you’re talking about content marketing.
The point is that PR and content marketing still need each other. With the advent of the internet, competition for attention has become even stiffer. Thousands of companies in the same industries are looking to get attention of the same consumers. Yet, this comes at a time when research shows that our attention spans are shrinking. But you still need to stand tall among the rest if your message is to be heard.
The trick therefore is to create good content (content marketing) and get some “known” guys to put it in front of your audience (PR).

4. Learn How Best to Integrate PR and Content Marketing

Integrating content marketing and PR shouldn’t be difficult. You already know that you need excellent content and a solid PR campaign. The main target should be getting people (your target audience) hooked to your stories not just today but for a long time to come. So, use content marketing to create your own stories and PR pros to help you build relationships.
An alternative way to look at PR professionals is as growth hackers. Growth hackers are experts who have a better understanding of the industry as well as both the expertise and experience to get in there and get attention. What content marketers need to do is to take more control of the stories that go out to the PR guys. By taking more control of your stories, it becomes easier to take your brand in the direction that you want.
Meanwhile, PR would now be left with the job they know how to do best – building relationships.

5. Bring a Personal Touch to Your Overall Marketing

You could say that the world has changed and that the digital revolution has made people fonder of their mobile devices than their closest friends. But the bottom line, wherever you look, is that people still need that personal experience. This is one reason content marketers need to take a little more control of their marketing stories – because every time your content is published out there, you want to connect with your audience in the most personal way possible.
Content marketing dictates that you start by drawing up buyer personas which are brief descriptions of your ideal customer. With a buyer persona, it becomes easier to find a voice that would best get through to you consumers.
Apart from that, Acumen Social recommends addressing your audience, not as “Dear Sir or Dear Madam,” but with their names. You don’t email your friends and colleagues that way. Rather, you’re more likely to say; “Hi James” or How’s the going Anne.”

6. Get the Best PR Pros You Can Find

When you’ve chosen to integrate PR into your marketing, you need to start looking for the right PR Company to hold your hand through the journey.
The Acumen Social post linked above provides some useful tips when selecting a PR pro. They recommend checking these people’s “About Us” and “Contact Me” pages to learn more about their expertise and work experience. You are then advised to build a list of the most relevant PR pros in Google Docs with the following information; a link to their recent coverage, context from social media profiles (preferably Twitter and Facebook), a link to their Twitter handle, and their contact information (including email address and phone numbers).
Kissmetrics stresses the need to hire a professional who can provide you with instant access to a specific audience. Without these professionals, getting attention in some markets may be very difficult. Start by using social media to discover influencers in your industry, study the type of content they share, assess the types of consumers they connect with, and when the time is right, touch base with the company.
By starting early, working hard, and seeking the help of professionals wherever you get stuck, you’ll find yourself climbing up the ladder one step after another and eventually be able to taste what PR + content marketing can do to a brand.

Summary

One of the main differences between being a PR person today and being one in the 90s is that today's PR guys have to work a lot harder to cut across the noise on the Internet.
Connect the dots between content marketing and PR. For example, PR still requires content creation and today when you talk about content creation then people will assume that you're talking about content marketing. Integrating content marketing and PR shouldn't be difficult.
So, use content marketing to create your own stories and PR pros to help you build relationships. What content marketers need to do is to take more control of the stories that go out to the PR guys.
This is one reason content marketers need to take a little more control of their marketing stories because every time your content is published out there, you want to connect with your audience in the most personal way possible. 
When you've chosen to integrate PR into your marketing, you need to start looking for the right PR Company to hold your hand through the journey. 
By starting early, working hard, and seeking the help of professionals wherever you get stuck, you'll find yourself climbing up the ladder one step after another and eventually be able to taste what PR + content marketing can do to a brand.

Written by Vladimir Nagin of www.leadupmarketers.com
Entrepreneur | CEO | Inbound Marketing Expert | B2B Marketing

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