When everyone can create content, post anything and engage directly with companies online, it’s easy to view public relations specialists much like travel agents—a relic of the past. But even with today’s speed-of-light news cycles, the need for professionals who understand how to establish authority, train leaders in conveying appropriate messaging and help companies bounce back from a crisis is just as strong as ever.
The techniques we use today are a great way to establish authority in a market, extend your reach and reputation, and improve the returns you see on your overall marketing spend.
First, I should point out that PR has changed tremendously since you last thought about it. Rather than fading away, the discipline has adapted to new platforms and attitudes, keeping it not just relevant, but even more critical to establishing and upholding a positive reputation for your company and brands.
Here are my top 5 reasons why:
Earned media remains powerfully persuasive. Your social channels are great for communing with followers, and maybe even spreading awareness. But they won’t establish your executives as knowledge leaders the way a byline in Farmers Weekly or HR Magazine, or a speaking engagement at a respected conference, can. Readers know that industry publications stay on top of the competitive landscape and have standards to uphold, so there’s built-in credibility. A good PR partner will help you key in on the right on- and offline publications, find out what they’re looking for and help you craft stories that will get picked up.
Print is still very much alive. As we are more and more inundated by digital messaging, print stands out. In fact, it’s enjoying a resurgence, as many readers prefer the higher content quality and find it a calming contrast to the loud, chaotic digital landscape. Titles that publish online and print can give you a huge return, and can be a valuable component of your communications mix.
Your social media needs a purpose, a voice and a plan. While some see social as its own silo, PR professionals tend to look at social as a subset of many channels that allow them to connect. We see social as A tool, not THE tool. An effective PR plan should coordinate what’s being talked about on LinkedIn and Instagram with what’s being offered to third-party outlets. And, just as PR pros nurtured relationships with reporters in the 90s, we build goodwill with influencers today.
Nobody knows how to navigate a crisis better. Things can go sideways at any time. From oil spills and e. coli outbreaks to problematic old photos of the CEO, you can’t fake your way through a crisis. From the moment a disaster strikes, you’ve got about 30 seconds to get your clear-headed response in motion.
PR can help avoid that crisis in the first place. One of PR professionals’ most underappreciated roles is in providing media training. It can be hard to convince executives that they need help communicating the right messages clearly, but we need only point to Howard Schultz comparing the spirit of sharing by prisoners during the Holocaust to Starbucks benefits or the Coinbase CEO’s calamitous Twitter exchange about their Super Bowl ad to understand.
As a longtime PR specialist, I’ve enjoyed reinventing myself again and again whenever technology, channels and people change (which is to say all the time). The techniques we use today are a great way to establish authority in a market, extend your reach and reputation, and improve the returns you see on your overall marketing spend.
If you want to build public relations into your marketing mix, talk to FATFREE. We can help you get the positive coverage you’re looking for.