It’s time to give corporate public relations a face lift

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A brand’s relationship with customers, potential buyers and influencers extends far beyond what customers read about a company in the news. Brands can be their own journalists, writers of their own stories, and publishers of their own topics and subjects on their blog, social channels and contributed content pieces.

While we live in a world where fake news is often a concern, what this means for marketers and PR professionals is that anyone with a strong voice and a clear strategy has the power to shape perception, and they don’t need third party validation. Traditional PR practices are not yet dead, from my point of view, but they need to morph and become more digital, to meet today’s digital native user.

Here are a few ways to do that:

Build greater integration among channels (paid, owned, earned, social)

The ways in which the “public” consume messages about brands is always changing. They are googling, reading reviews and blogs, talking and interacting on Twitter or Instagram, and listening to other favorite influencers or brands. Many make a judgement call on a product based on a brand’s blog, frequency of newsletters, website usability, digital ad tagline, how high the company ranks in Google, and what their favorite influencers and news outlets are saying about them. The point is, brands shape and influence public opinion through a variety of ways. We we think about the core audiences we’re trying to reach - customers and the community, journalists, bloggers, product reviewers, and even colleagues and partners - each of these audiences have their own digital presence and preferred touch points. As PR and communications professionals, it’s vital we have an influence on each of their touch points and ensure the messages are consistent, relevant and personalized, and that PR campaigns are integrated to tell a cohesive, impactful story that compels audiences to take action.

Look beyond press coverage

I have worked with many teams, and when I tell them I manage PR, most think that stands for press release. Before digital touchpoints, blogs and social media, the press release was the only way the public would receive news from companies. It’s the only way brands could control the message and tell it the right way. Today, much of this has shifted. It is not uncommon to see brands like Google or Apple announce news in a blog or via the CEOs LinkedIn post.

While there is still value and importance to having a single place where company news resides, PR pros must look beyond the traditional press release, and even beyond press coverage as the ultimate goal, and think about what other channels exist and what other ways to measure PR campaigns. For example, social shares, comments or likes by key social influencers or bloggers, number of downloads from a particular piece of content, or engagements from a piece of news in the community, through customers and partners.

To start in the right direction, re-think PR goals and make sure they aren’t solely focused on driving press coverage. Think about how messages are being received and engaged by a variety of audiences, through their own digital channels. I am a big fan of visuals, and I often create a pie chart of the audiences. Once these goals are set, let them drive the content, tactics and KPIs.

Rethink traditional practices

Brands can shape the perception of their influencers without the help of a journalist, and it’s important for PR and communications professionals to constantly re-evaluate their strategies. A great way to rethink traditional PR practices is in the post mortem. In addition to analyzing the effectiveness of a campaign, communications teams must also think outside the box, stay educated with how other brands are driving perception change and seek to understand how advancements in technology will influence traditional communications and PR practices. Bulldog reporter and PR News are two great outlets that cover PR trends and best practices. You can also follow well-known corporate brands. Some of my favorite brands to follow are Adobe, IBM and Mailchimp.

Want to re-think your next PR campaign? Let us know, we love brainstorming. 

Why Messaging is Important and the Right Way to Craft It

Why Messaging is Important and the Right Way to Craft It

In today’s digital world, we’re surrounded by brand messages. We hear them when listening to Pandora or Spotify. We’re forced to watch them before YouTube videos, and in between our favorite TV shows. They clog our inbox - and we often see and engage with our favorite messages on Instagram, Facebook feed or Twitter. In fact, the average customer is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 brand messages daily.

Without question, the ways in which companies win attention from today’s digitally savvy customer is different than in the past. Customers are jaded, they have power to delete, unfollow, or speak out about your messages to thousands in their network instantly - and employees and colleagues are no exception to this rule. They, too, can speak out about the company they work for, and even get rewarded for it by software such as Glassdoor or Indeed.

While companies are starting to see paid advertising as less effective, one thing still rings true: strong messaging remains critical to this process. Here are a few reasons why:

Four Ways to Improve Your Next Not-So-Exciting Product Launch

Product releases have put a bad taste in the mouths of PR execs, especially now when there is so much product noise that tech brands are putting out. Communications and marketing teams are under extreme pressure to generate buzz about a new upgrade, line of service or add-on, even if the news itself is not very exciting. Far too often, tech brands quickly put together a vague, poorly written product release “on the wire” when the product is “ready and available” hoping for good press pickup and in the end, get disappointed by lack coverage and overall awareness.

With so many outlets to consider, be they owned, earned or paid media channels, product releases can generate buzz if launched the right way. Here are five ways to improve the next product launch, even if it’s not that exciting.

The Power of Storytelling: 3 Tips to Crafting Impactful Stories

The Power of Storytelling: 3 Tips to Crafting Impactful Stories

As technology continues to drive the what, how and when of brand communications, research shows that brands with strong storytelling content cut through the clutter organically and remain top of mind for customers. While the ability to shape and communicate a strong story trumps all other digital strategies, it can prove challenging for top tech brands, such as IBM or Microsoft, that have complex messages to communicate. (In fact, IBM is turning to screenwriters and creative masterminds to help shape a compelling, innovative story.) 

We believe any brand or thought leader can tell powerful stories. Here are three tips to help. 

Celebrating Womanhood: A Q&A with Female Entrepreneur Shirlynn Brownell, Founder of DKT Polish

What does it take to become a great female entrepreneur? Is it a strong vision? A great idea? Unmatched industry connections? Or is it simply grit, passion and a drive to succeed?

For Shirlynn Brownell, founder of DKT Polish, it’s a combination of things, including a foundation of strong female role models and an appreciation for all the things that encompass womanhood. 

We asked Shirlynn to share her story, along with a few female entrepreneurship secrets and tips to starting a business.