6 Ways to Sustain a Multi-Year PR Campaign

Several years ago, the active lifestyle brand LifeSpan hired my agency to launch its line of treadmill desks. Novelty was on our side. When consumers imagined workplace activity, they didn’t usually think past dusty company gyms and sweaty lunchtime jogs. We had something new and different, but if we were successful launching the line, what would happen after the newness wore off? We created an approach that has driven consistent national media results, year after year, with minimal running tweaks, and could be written on one side of a napkin.

Based on what we learned in the process of earning hundreds of millions of consumer impressions, here are six ways to put together a campaign that’s built to last:

 1. Use Every New Study as an Opportunity

“Sitting is the new smoking.” “Your desk job is killing you.” “Get out of your chair.” Those were the headlines as we prepared for launch, and are still the headlines today. We’re very lucky major universities are always publishing research on the negative effects of sedentary lifestyles, linking too much sitting with increased risk for serious diseases. We use each new study as an opportunity to engage our extensive editorial contacts at national health, business and technology media outlets, to remind them why this product matters. But we don’t wait for studies to fall into our laps, and we certainly don’t spend hours checking the health and science sections of CNN, or combing through medical journals. We set up a broad set of monitoring terms covering the downsides of being sedentary. If there’s an issue affecting your customer, which your client’s product was designed to help, monitor for that issue poking its head into stories. It doesn’t even need to be a serious issue. For example, we’ve been toying with the idea of monitoring around the post-lunch food coma.

2. Keep Putting the Customers Out Front

The best stories aren’t about products; they’re about people using the products in interesting ways. Some LifeSpan customers purchase their treadmill desks after suffering the adverse effects of sedentary behavior, like heart attacks and blood clots, following the advice of a doctor. Many of their doctors are treadmill desk advocates, as well. These individuals are a running focal point of our campaign, and sharing their stories helps reporters understand this product isn’t simply a gadget; it’s a potential lifesaver. This is where an open line of communication with the sales and customer service teams comes into play. Sales can alert you of big-name or big-quantity orders as they happen. And customer service can forward you emails from super-fans who’ve had their lives changed by the product and are probably willing to go on the record. A constant influx of fresh success stories is key to a sustained campaign’s longevity.

3. Constantly Mine the Company for Employee Stories

From the head of the company down to the mailroom, people within the organization may have personal stories that fit your communications goals. Nearly a year into the campaign, we learned one LifeSpan executive spent a good portion of his career in the office equipment business, at a time when the goal was to eliminate movement. Rather than skimming over this detail, it’s used to illustrate how a trend has been turned on its head. His front row seat to science influencing the reintroduction of physical activity into the workplace makes him an undeniable trend expert. These stories may come from the oldest company veteran to the newest hire. Ask around.

Read more at PR News.

Is Organic Reach a Thing of the Past? Here’s How Paid Posts Are Changing the Game

Those who think social media is an easy way to attract a crowd likely have never attempted to mount a digital PR campaign. As PR pros know, such efforts require several steps, including finding your audience members and deciding the platform or platforms where they live, if indeed they are social media consumers.

Then you need to determine the best time or times to speak to them on their platform of choice. You might also need to find and recruit influencers in your sector whom your audience members are following.

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.

When Kanye and Taylor Swift Rule, What Happens to Your Message?

This PR News department is called Water Cooler, so it’s appropriate that the first Cooler of the week examine what people are discussing around the office water cooler. Today that’s probably something about rapper/media mogul/Kim Kardashian husband Kanye West’s alleged debt of $53 million.

Or perhaps it’s Grammy-winning singer Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech during the Grammys, where the 26-year-old singer/songwriter blasted  38-year-old West—yes, him again—for claiming to have made her famous. “I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift noted during an acceptance speech for her Album of the Year Grammy. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

There’s more bad blood between West and Swift. Read more here at PR News.

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.