7 Ways to Manage the Press Release Approval Process

Press releases remain an important tool for communicators, which means the stress of managing edits from senior leaders and clients is not going away anytime soon.

Here are some tips from Elizabeth Hillman, SVP, communications for Discovery Education, and Dan Ronan, senior director of communications for the American Bus Association, on managing this sometimes fraught process.

1. Clarify your deadlines and communicate those deadlines to all parties. If a release has a scheduled day to go out, make sure you can get it approved long before then, 24 to 48 hours in advance. If you’re responsible for writing the press release, the deadline for publishing it is going to mean a lot more to you than to anyone else involved in the approval process. Do not be shy about insisting on deadlines for feedback from senior leaders. If deadlines are missed, fingers will be pointed at you regardless of the true cause of the delay.

2. Know ahead of time how many people need to approve the press release. Anticipate delays. Not everyone likes to write first drafts of anything, but almost everyone loves to chime in after the fact and second-guess someone else’s work. It’s possible that more people will insert themselves into the approval process at the last minute.

Read more at PR News.

4 Undisputed Reasons Why Social Media is Essential to Growing a Business

Using social media for business growth is something I highly recommend. In this day and age of information technology, using social media has become a key factor of marketing brands and services. With the constant growth of Facebook (with over 1.4 billion users), these platforms are a definitive way to reach customers in a time and cost efficient manner.

In an instant, social media is just like a shopping mall or center. With your products and services on display at these stores (social media platforms), your product is more than likely to be visible and bought by a potential customer. Any brand who thinks social media is irrelevant to the growth of their brand is highly mistaken. Simply put, social media is required for business promotion. Here are five reasons it is important to utilize social media to promote your business:

  1. Brand Exposure:

If you are familiar with social media, you are aware that a brand can become popular through promotion on social sites. As your audience becomes familiar with your brand, you get more of an opportunity to connect with consumers and establish a reputation for your brand. Brand exposure is key to growing your business. Many consumers go online to research brands. My first go to when purchasing a service or product is to look at online content. I want to not only learn about the brand, but also look to see what their credentials are. Seeing that a company engages with their consumers is a big factor before I become a buying customer.

When social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are very high in page ranks, customers are searching these brands/products via social media. This, therefore, will bring forth brand exposure.

  1. Building Relationships:

Building loyalty should be the overall goal for any brand. Producing content on social sites gives the brand an opportunity to connect with its audience. It also allows the brand to learn consumers’ wants and needs. This PR tactic is key to establishing your brands reputation.

Ashanti’s View PR highly recommends connecting with your consumers through social media. Their feedback through these platforms is a great way to learn how the consumer perceives your brand or product. It can also help you learn expectations. with this information you will learn how to cater to your audience. The end result is helping gain brand awareness online.

  1. Marketing:

We all know marketing plays a huge role in any business. Social media allows consumers to share your content with their friends/ followers and, guess what, it’s free! Investing in a social media manager is much so like investing in marketing/PR all in one. Your brand being present on social media is key to broadening your brand’s exposure and building new relationships with first time consumers.

  1. Understanding your competition:

So many brands are using social media platforms to their advantage. Creating your online presence will allow you to not only see what your competition is doing but also to get ahead of the game for those brands who do not utilize social media.

3 PR Strategies You Should Be Using Now

So what’s your PR team up to these days?

If you don’t know, it’s time to ask. The public relations field moves fast and while some old-school teams (agencies and in-house) are struggling to adapt to the ever-evolving digital world, others are expanding their skill sets to get the best results for their clients and brands. (Hint: you want your team to be in the second category.)

Forward-thinking brands have learned that PR, when managed and measured correctly, is a path to new opportunities for lead generation, revenue, and brand elevation – opportunities that call for three top skills.

1. Influencer Relations

Reality time: emotion outweighs logic when it comes to business decisions. 65 percent of B2B executives admitted this in one survey, and it explains why influencer relations is now a dominant PR strategy. Even cynical buyers that tune out ads will listen to their favorite bloggers, website editors, authors and social media “celebrities” when they’re looking for trusted recommendations and credible information.

PR teams capitalize on this by developing relationships with the right influencers on behalf of your brand and finding opportunities for them to endorse you. And no, it doesn’t have to be pay-for-play. Proper relationship building goes beyond getting a one-time promotional mention and gets you to long-term value with the influencers. Think in terms of guest blog posts with backlinks to your website, ongoing social media engagement, and even reviews of your products. The point is that by harnessing an influencer’s prestige and credibility and connecting it to your brand, your PR team can drive new fans and customers your way.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

7 Steps to Dominate the Influencer Marketing Game in PR

Influencer Marketing is this year’s Holy Grail for public relations. The reasons are clear—no matter how successful you are at traditional public relations, a story in the press is striving to present its information in a balanced and unbiased way. In contrast, an influencer’s voice—whether it’s in a blog, a column, a review or simply the opinion of a topic expert who seems to move the market at the speed of a tweet—is worth gold.

Influencers represent marketing leverage. For every influencer you “influence,” their opinion impacts dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of others in a personalized “she should know, she’s an expert” or “she’s another mom like me” kind of way.

These coveted jewels are even more elusive in the respect that while an influencer may blog and may or may not be a formal or informal journalist, most are not a formal part of the press. They are not likely to appear on anyone’s database. And while a plethora of tools has suddenly appeared for identifying and even automating the process of finding and supporting influencers, for small businesses, especially, the best efforts are still the communications that flow from person to person, or even better than this, face to face.

Many of my company’s clients are engaging in influencer marketing efforts this year. But for businesses considering their own efforts, without an agency, here are the steps:

    1. Find people your audience already trusts and follows. How do you find them? Ask your customers and prospects who they’re watching and listening to. Which bloggers do they follow? When you run a Twitter search or a hashtag search on your topic of interest, who are the voices that show up and inspire reaction and trust? Can you find published lists of top sources on a sector or topic? Cover as many mediums as possible, including broadcast, social media, columnists, presenters and bloggers.
    1. Don’t be fooled by large followings. Quality of following is more important than mass. An individual with 53,000 followers may be less influential than a person who inspires trust and can invoke a reaction in just several dozen of the right people on Twitter or via their blog or LinkedIn.
    1. Create a spreadsheet and a plan of action. Find as many strong influencers as you are able and continually update and prioritize the list you create. But focus your greatest energy on those you determine to be the highest ranking 25-30 names on the list. Subscribe and follow these influencers closely. Take the time to like, to share, and to remark on their materials that genuinely resonate with you. Be sure your efforts are authentic, but remember that it is disingenuous to expect an influential person in a sector to take the time to connect with you or your agenda if you haven’t already made an equivalent effort to follow and study their materials, too.

Read more at Forbes.com.