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.

Small Business: Here are 3 Perks of Public Relations that Increase Your Visibility

 

Many smalls businesses may think creating marketing plans is all about advertisement and not public relations. However, PR is a great way for a small business to gain brand awareness. For those of you who are not familiar with PR, it is the relationship between a consumer and a company, brand or product. In a nutshell, publicists bring forth engagement and awareness about a brand to the public.

Public relations campaigns play a driving role in any company, product or brand and the benefits outweigh traditional advertising by far. Think about it. A person is more likely to buy a product if they have been informed about it via social media rather than just the news. PR can achieve results much faster and is less expensive than your traditional advertising campaign.

Perk 1

Having a PR specialist in tune with your audience and brand is key to having a successful campaign.  By building a relationship with your audience and having outlined goals and solid marketing plans, your brand is sure to gain public awareness and consumer loyalty.

Perk 2

Another perk of having a PR specialist is to build relationships with the media/press. A PR specialist is there to make sure the company is sending out trust and news worthy information.

Having this foundation in place will definitely build publicity whether its from press releases, having an event, creating affiliates or brand ambassadors, and even sponsoring events within your industry.

Perk 3

A PR specialist is there to provide newsworthy information that resonates with your audience whether it is on TV, in a magazine/newspaper, social media and/or a blog/website.

So what are you waiting for small business, brands, or products? Stop your traditional advertising techniques and hire a PR specialist. It will only benefit your business in the long run.

3 Innovative Ways Social Media is Used to Build a Stellar PR Campaign

When launching a new service or product, it is important to have a strong marketing and PR campaign behind it. Successful campaigns, however, require knowledge of social media, branding, and public relations skills to attract consumers. Developing a strategy is key to reaching your audience. Many businesses neglect this, which is one reason their consumer or brand awareness is slim to none.

Through social media, consumers are vocal about their opinions on particular brands, services, or products. Collecting this social data will help with creating a strategic marketing/PR campaign. Researching this data will allow the brand to become familiar with its audience, learn trends, and effectively increase revenue. Here are 3 ways your company can use social media to build a stellar brand.

  1. Get familiar with your audience.

It is essential to understand what your potential consumers want. Your overall message and content must resonate with your target market, but also in relation to your brand. If you are not listening to the wants of consumers, your brand will not prevail. Collecting data as far as the common likes and dislikes will allow you have a great return not only in engagement through social media, but also your cash flow. When creating a campaign, it is important to remember your services or products need to fit into the lifestyles of your consumers.

  1. Set future goals.

Using the exceptional social media tools, there are so many ways to track data using real-time convo’s between consumers. These tools allow you to track preferences, engagement, and consumer habits. Tracking this information allows you to predict campaign strategies to help your brand stay ahead of the game. Analysis of social data will help improve the brands services or products. It will also allow the brand to set realistic goals based off of the collected data.

  1. Measure Your Tactics

Don’t waste time or money on strategies that aren’t working. As your PR campaign grows, you must know how to stay up-to-date and maximize your reach. This will allow you to gain brand awareness and exposure. As stated previously, social media helps track the growth of your campaign. Measuring these metrics will allow you to throw away the tactics put in place that did not work and continue to feed your consumer with the tactics that do work. While measuring your tactics, encourage your customers to share your content, products, and services.

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.

Reporter Turned PR Pro Shares 6 Secrets to Getting Media Coverage

Anyone who has ever worked in public relations knows it’s a career filled with peaks and valleys. One day you are getting clients the media interview of their dreams; the next day, they are blaming you for everything that is wrong with their business (or lack thereof).

It’s the peaks that get PR pros through the rough times, but sometimes getting to the top is almost as tough as climbing Mount Everest. Obtaining that much-sought-after interview from a news organization for a client rarely comes in the form of one-call-does-it-all.

As a former journalist turned public relations professional, I have witnessed the ever-changing landscape. Back in the days before budget cuts, layoffs and the ever-increasing demands placed on reporters, many (myself included) had the time to take your call, grab a cup of coffee or even sit down with a client just for a meet-and-greet with no particular pitch in mind.

But times have changed, and most reporters today will tell you they are overworked and overwhelmed. If they are print reporters, there’s a good chance they not only have to write for the print product but also for a digital product. Some also must provide content for videos to go along with their print and digital stories. And don’t even get them started on the fact that they must provide content for social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Periscope — the list seems endless.

Radio and television reporters are under even more stringent deadlines, often turning around stories with a clock ticking down to air time.

Even for the most seasoned public-relations professional, landing that dream story usually doesn’t happen overnight.

However, there are some things you can do to increase your chances:

1. Be succinct and relatable: If you’re going to use the old tried-and-true press release, make sure you have an eye-catching headline. The last thing you want reporters to do is click “delete” before they even open it. Avoid industry jargon in your headline; instead, find a way to make it relatable. Do as much homework and provide as much background information within the release as possible to make the reporter’s job easier.

Read more here: The Miami Herald