The worlds of marketing and communications have shifted dramatically in recent years – and the speed of change is hotting up. It can be a bit bewildering. So, to try and simplify things, here are 10 golden rules for PR success.
1. Changed consumer behaviour
Whether you’re at home or at work, if you are looking for a new product or service you will undoubtedly turn first to the internet. If your company or product doesn’t show up on Google or Bing etc (and preferably on the first page), then no sale. It’s now about populating the web with compelling content, driving SEO and getting your website up the rankings.
And if you don’t turn to the internet you’ll ask a friend for a recommendation – and then you’ll look up that business on the internet. You will want to deal with a credible organisation that you’ve heard good things about – whether that’s through recommendation, internet reviews, social media or traditional media. As a business you need to ensure you control that “word of mouth” as much as possible and deliver credibility.
It’s about managing reputation, using all available platforms to communicate messages and, by investing a bit of time and effort, building your brand. That means having a joined-up strategy between marketing and PR, to target the right people with the right message.
4. Social media
Still not convinced by social media? Well, visitors to a website are some 10 times more likely to make a purchase if they’ve come from social media. Indeed, a majority of social media users now prefer to connect with brands through Facebook, and over 50% of Twitter users recommend companies or products via Tweets.
5. Thought leadership
There are real thought leaders out there who create, rather than simply share, the news. When companies execute the right content marketing strategy, it can do wonders for a brand – building an organisation’s profile in the media, amongst its peers and end users. Become a commentator, not a bystander.
6. Content management
Writing good and compelling content for press releases, articles, blogs or social media remains – and will always remain – the most important part of PR. Not only does it have to be well-written, it has to resonate with potential customers, and be optimised for SEO.
7. Make it personal
“People buy from people”, so it’s important to give your brand a personality and make it stand out from the competition. Your customers are looking for the human touch, so stories that revolve around people always work wonders. Not only will they engage your customers they will be of interest to journalists looking for a well-written story.
8. Pull marketing
The new PR is about publishing good information and drawing customers into your community: a “pull” strategy in which potential customers find you. Inbound marketing focuses on excellent content that attracts people towards your company. By aligning your published content with your potential customers’ needs, you will naturally generate inbound traffic.
9. Monitor and evaluate
How to evaluate PR has always been a hot topic. But now with the help of tools such as Google analytics it is much easier to see how people have found your website – what publications they first saw you in, what pages on your site they looked at, or the keywords they used to search for you. Monitoring will help you refine your strategies and messages.
10. Engage and converse
It’s no use having a Twitter or Facebook account if nobody in your company actually posts material to them or, just as bad, nobody keeps an eye on them to see what comments or Tweets have been received. Social media is all about PR immediacy and everybody communicating with you expects the same kind of immediacy in return. Don’t just post news about yourself, really engage, comment and interact.
For more advice and support call 01904 610077 or visit www.partners-group.co.uk.
Thanks to Monica Green, Director of The Partners Group, a PR and marketing communications agency with 30 years’ experience of working in the glazing and other sectors.