Strong PR strategies keep you on course as your business moves ahead. Like a map for an unfamiliar place, a strategy takes the guess work out of your next move. It keeps you focused so you can reach your goals.
But how do you even begin to develop an effective public relations strategy? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how to create your own unique and powerful strategy and discover the tools you need to ensure it succeeds.
How to Develop Your Own Successful PR Strategy
The following are several steps involved in crafting an effective public relations strategy.
Define Goals. This is extremely important, but also often overlooked. In order to see whether your strategy is effective, you need to be able to measure the results against objectives. Create your goals according to the SMART model. This means that your goals are:
Specific — Specify your goals and be able to communicate them to others.
Measurable — Use analytics or other programs to see your progress toward the goal.
Actionable — Break down your goal into smaller objectives, with realistic timelines.
Realistic — Establish what you and your team can reasonably do in a set amount of time.
Time-Based — Set a final date for your overall goal, and shorter deadlines for the different stages of your goal.
Determine Your Target Audience. Who are the individuals, groups, and communities who are the key decision-makers of a business? Who will have the power to purchase your product or service? Create detailed buyer personas that will help you specifically target this audience.
Research the behavior of your target audience to add to your buyer personas. What are their buying habits? What publications do they read? What social networks are they on? The answers to these questions will help you tailor your strategy to your target audience.
Create a Key Message. What do you want your audience to remember about your company? This message will shape your content creation and methods going forward. All of your communications should have this key message woven into it — this will create a unified message throughout your various communications platforms.
Outline Key Tactics. This is where your audience research pays off. Choose tactics that will help your message reach your audience. For instance, if your research shows that your target audience reads a certain trade publication, then your tactics should include media relations and press releases that target that trade publication. More of these specific tactics are listed below.
Set a Deadline. Your strategy should not be never-ending. You want to create reasonable deadlines that will help you work toward something — otherwise, you will run out of steam, and your strategy won’t be as effective. Set reasonable deadlines for every stage of your strategy so that you get an accurate picture of its success.
Measure Your Results. How else will you know whether your strategy reaches your previously outlined goals? Use such programs as Google Analytics or AirPR to measure your PR efforts. The results at various stages of your strategy will help you to see areas where you can improve.
So now that you have a basic outline of your PR strategy, let’s fill it in a little. The following are 5 proven PR strategies that you should add to your PR toolbox.
5 PR Strategies That You Need to Use
1. Use Native Advertising
Native advertising is a form of paid media that uses content that naturally fits into its environment. By its very nature, native advertising does not look like advertising — it looks like a regular piece of content, with the goal of exposing a new audience to your brand.
Why do native ads work? People are fed up with traditional advertising. Native ads, on the other hand, are non-promotional. They provide real value to the reader, and that value leaves a mark — creating a bridge of trust between that reader and your brand.
Produce native ads that tell a story. They should never come off salesy or self-promotional. The beauty of native advertising is that it blends seamlessly into its environment. The key: An interesting topic, well-written, that does not look at all out-of-place in the publication. In fact, if it wasn’t for the “Branded Content” signature on it, you would never realize that it was a native ad.
2. Tap Into the Power of Influencers
Influencers are a powerful force in today’s PR landscape. If you don’t use them, you will be left behind. Why? Because today’s audience has been groomed to be distrustful of traditional advertising. So how do today’s buyers decide on a product or service? For the most part, they turn to third parties they trust for recommendations.
This is where influencers come in. They already have a large audience, possibly on social media, who looks to them for advice an guidance on industry matters. If they give their nod of approval to your brand, their followers take that as a green light.
In fact, 80% of marketers who use influencer marketing say that it is successful. Just how successful? Marketers report that for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, they see on average $6.85 in return. When you imagine all the money spent on this, it adds up to a huge return!
How do you choose influencers? There are many influencers to choose from — even from such a niche as B2B. But influencers are not all the same. You want to find someone that fits the needs and goals of your brand. Ask yourself:
- What networks does my target audience use?
- What influencers does my target audience engage with?
- What influencers fit my industry?
Narrow down your list of potential influencers according to your answers. Use such programs as BuzzSumo, Kred, or Traackr to see specific details about influencers — their following, engagement levels, and amount of influence. When you’ve narrowed this list down, you can start the process of reaching out to these influencers.
3. Offer Exclusivity
Competition among traditional media outlets is fierce! And more so today with the constant cutback of staff and resources within these outlets.
A key way to attract these outlets to your story is to offer them an exclusive. Don’t blast out your press release to several outlets in hopes for a bite. If you want to attract a big fish to your story, offer it to them, and only them.
First, find out who within the media outlet you want to target. Remember, each journalist has his or her own beat. Do your research, and only target those whose beat relates to your story. Read their past work, and create a pitch that details why you chose them for this exclusive story. Personal details go a long way in creating a working relationship with a journalist.
4. Humanize Your Brand
Brands today have to contend with internet-savvy audiences and platforms where anything is fair game. All it takes is one upset customer to take to social networks like Youtube or Twitter and air their grievance with a company. This puts organizations under a microscope, and many brands are feeling the heat.
So how can you combat this trend with your PR strategy? Humanize your brand. Create and share core values that define your company, giving it a more human feel. Choose values that represent you well, and that help your target audience relate to you. Make your values authentic — buyers can sniff out fake a mile away.
These values should also seep into your content. Include them in your vision statement, and make sure everyone representing your company embodies these values. All of the content that you create as part of your strategy should demonstrate how your company embraces those values as well.
This way, when an angry customer takes to social media to complain about your company, you will already have built up a trustworthy and credible reputation through your company’s strategy. Such a reputation will help douse the flames of controversy before they grow out of control.
5. Use Your Customer’s Voice
Nothing is more powerful in PR than an actual customer singing your praises. Use those happy customers as your spokespeople. It will carry a lot more weight to hear in their words how your company solved their problem than to have you tout it yourself.
Once you have a good supply of customer testimonials and case studies, think out of the box ways to feature them. You could create interactive videos that use the customer’s own voice and mannerisms. You could also feature the case studies in blog posts and SlideShares. Include snippets of customer testimonials in your marketing materials, or in images that you post to social media.
Your customer’s voice is a valuable asset to your PR strategy, so seek creative ways to maximize that value.
Key Points to Remember…
- Create a strategy with clearly defined goals and tactics that will help you reach your particular audience
- Measure the progress you make toward your goals and readjust when necessary
- Tap into the power of influencers who your target audience already follow attentively
- For a special story, be willing to offer exclusivity to a key traditional media outlet that your audience follows
Wherever you see for the future of your business, your strategy holds the power to get you there. We hope these PR strategies help you to reach your business goals.