Journalists today are bombarded with pitches—making it harder for PR pros to stand out to secure coverage or place a source.
Additionally, the entire structure of the modern newsroom has evolved, making public relations more challenging than it has been in a long time.
That’s why it’s essential for today’s PR pro to be more of a “PR hustler,” says Katie Creaser, leader of the social media practice at Affect. “To be successful now, you must be more opportunistic and entrepreneurial as a content producer,” she explains.
Here are her quick tips for breaking out of the traditional PR rut by embracing what she calls the “new PR hit”—taking your message directly to the public using an array of new digital platforms:
1. Think like a publisher—try Tumblr and Medium. You need a promotional plan to be successful on self-publishing platforms like Tumblr or Medium, says Creaser. At minimum, a promotional plan should answer the following questions:
What is my target audience on this platform? “This includes identification of influencers for your industry on the platform you’re considering and an action plan to engage them there,” Creaser says.
What are audience expectations on this platform? Answer these questions to determine whether the platform is a fit for the content you plan to create: How long should my content be on this platform? Do I need visuals here? Which topics are of most interest here?
The answers aren’t always black and white. For example, Tumblr runs the gamut: “Content here can be as along as a blog post, at roughly 800 to 1,000 words,” says Creaser, “but shorter posts are reposted more frequently and can be as simple as a few sentences with an interesting multimedia element.”
What does my editorial calendar look like? Make sure you have an editorial calendar and that you’re posting high-quality content regularly. Without committing to scheduled posts, you run the risk of being reactive, alienating audiences and not executing on a strategy.
What are my syndication channels? It’s not enough to simply post your content on a self-publishing platform. You must also cross-market it. For example, if you post to Tumblr, where else will you post the link? Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Map these syndication channels out in advance, Creaser advises.
What is my measurement strategy? Metrics should always tie back to overarching marketing and communications goals, regardless of platform. For example, Creaser asks herself the following questions to ensure she’s measuring what matters most on Tumblr:
- Is my target audience following me?
- Are they engaging with my content? What does that engagement look like? Is it meaningful?
- Are they taking an action based on my posts? Are they visiting my website, downloading content or submitting questions?
- Is my Tumblr content syndicating, being shared and contributing to overall PR efforts?
- Has this effort contributed to sales and lead generation efforts?
2. Get visual—give Instagram or Snapchat a shot. Creaser believes too many brand managers are using Instagram and Snapchat without the visual elements the platform requires.
Use these tools to engage audiences by visually grabbing their attention and encouraging them to interact. “Your photos or video need to be catchy and shareable,” Creaser says. “You also need to learn how to use the tool properly to promote. For example, you won’t see real engagement if you don’t have a ton of followers and aren’t using strong hashtags.”
3. Broadcast excitement—experiment with Periscope or Meerkat. Live-streaming tools are great for urgent or breaking information. They’re also perfect for behind-the-scenes looks at exciting events or happenings for your brand.
“Whatever you decide to stream should be exciting, exclusive and incredibly compelling,” Creaser says. If your content doesn’t fit those criteria, save it for video playback in your online newsroom or even for future webcasts.
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Katie Creaser, vice president and leader of the social media practice at Affect, shared in-depth social media best practices in the PR University webinar, “Master the PR pro’s new digital toolbox: Instagram, Medium, Periscope, Snapchat, and more. ”