Public relations goes beyond communication. It has evolved from media pitching and news clippings to full-on storytelling and creative showcasing. As today’s PR professionals strive to set themselves apart from the others, they each develop a tool kit of special practices and unique ways to bring their clients to the eyes of consumers. We’ve highlighted some creative PR tips and trends that are switching up the game for professionals everywhere.
1. Engage the senses
Words are important but they aren’t the only tool PR pros can use to engage the media. More and more, top tier PR agencies are utilizing creative talent who can create content incorporating visuals, sound, and motion to bring their clients’ stories to life.
Take our activation of the National Bank of Arizona’s (NB|AZ) Elevate AZ campaign. We worked with NB|AZ to develop a campaign showcasing Arizona grown businesses in an effort to change the nation’s perception of Arizona. Some of the local businesses featured are K2 Adventures Foundation, Phoenix Group Metals, Tumbling T Ranch, Ballet Arizona, and Page Springs Cellars. These businesses and nonprofits were selected because of their commitment to positively impacting the lives of those in their communities, and because they know what its like to work, live, and dream in Arizona.
As a full-service agency, we utilized our creative department to shoot and edit NB|AZ’s Elevate AZ Super Bowl Commercial. Take a second to check it out here. The PR team used clips from the commercial along with images of The Grand Canyon Experience, a 30-foot-tall, 100-foot-wide NB|AZ sponsored rock climbing wall built in Verizon Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix, to pitch the #ElevateAZ campaign to local and national media during the week of Super Bowl XLIX.
2. Be a journalist for your client
Public relations is a field rooted in journalism. More PR pros are starting to see value in being a brand journalist for their client. Brand journalism is when a non-media company distributes its own news directly to its customers and does so in a way that tells a story. It bypasses traditional forms of media and adds a touch of personality to a company.
Electronic means of news distribution like blogs or e-newsletters can be used to share stories on behalf of clients. Companies can be their own media outlet and use their own news to construct relevant, relatable content for their customers without over-selling a product or service. This creates added value for the customers, drives trust, and builds relationships while simultaneously positioning the company as a thought leader in it’s industry. A company blog, for instance, can house everything from company news, interesting case studies, tutorials, testimonials, and anything else a customer would potentially be interested in.
PR professionals are perfect brand journalists because they already understand the dynamic between writers and their audiences, and oftentimes have experience writing to tell a story. A great example of this is ElevateAZ.com, an online publication from NB|AZ which tells stories and shares news about impactful Arizona businesses. We helped NB|AZ launch Elevate AZ magazine back in September 2014 and it has already won a silver Midas Award for excellence in financial marketing.
3. Expand how you practice
Some of the best PR agencies in the world are at the top because they are exceptional at planning ahead and being flexible. Top agencies anticipate the needs of their agency or department before those needs must be met. Likewise, they are proactive in anticipating the needs of the client long before a client has even contracted the agency.
Great agencies hire new people with fresh eyes and big goals who can bring a game changing idea to the table. They encourage risk taking if it can lead to great results. If the idea fails and the agency doesn’t succeed, they embrace it, cut their losses, and focus on how they can improve the next time. Effort and fresh ideas are very appealing to clients looking to break out of the typical PR procedure.
It is easy to say, “This is how we do things because this is how we’ve always done them,” but that ideology will only get an agency so far, and doesn’t offer much value for clients. PR is broad and evolving and agencies have to be prepared to evolve with it.
These are just a few creative PR practices we have found effective, and we know that there are a number of other ways to get creative with your PR routine. What ways have you or your agency added some creativity to amp-up your PR game? Please share in the comments below.