Embracing the Power of PR in the Digital Age

It’s one thing to talk about yourself. It’s another to get people talking about you.

The power of PR is nothing new. Richard Branson, the business magnate, investor and philanthropist who is best known for founding Virgin Group, once observed, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”

As powerful as PR is, it’s not enough to simply draft a news release, distribute it to the media and hope something sticks. The PR game has changed. Technology is changing rapidly. It’s time to embrace it, leverage it and use it to your advantage.

One of the benefits of 21st-century technology is that it gives you ever more opportunity to identify moments of potential brand interaction and curate them with increasing relevance and nuance. People are interacting with social media and video content in an ever increasing range of contexts. If you can connect with those people at the right opportunity and present them with content that’s appropriate, relevant, meaningful or endearing, it makes a very strong impression.

So, what can you do to elevate your PR game?

First, there is no substitute for a great story. Be sure that you have a good story and a solid hook to garner the interest of your audience.

A news release that’s well-written, relevant and informative will always perform better than those that are not. So assuming your news release is the former, rather than the latter, below are our recommendations on how to better deliver your story.

Social Media News Release

Nobody wants to read a typical news release anymore. All of my firm’s news releases are structured in the form of a social media news release (SMNR).

Social Media News Releases are a powerful way to supplement traditional PR collateral with sharable, relevant information that is easy to digest and utilize. In addition to the core news facts contained in a printed press release, a social media press release will typically contain rich media—anything from a great photo or graphics and infographics to video content or even a link to a podcast. You’ll want to optimize it with keywords that matter to your brand and your business. And provide links to all pertinent information. Media professionals are busy, so don’t make an editor or reporter look for anything. Include it all.

Video News Release

You can also develop a Video News Release. Not the long-winded boring kind that feels like an infomercial, but a well-produced video that speaks to your audience. We produce ours with an editorial slant (less marketing and more informative) and will focus on a key new product, service, partnership, etc. When the media is interested in something, they want to see it in action, and video is the perfect delivery vehicle. Don’t make it obviously biased or nakedly promotional. And don’t use one of your three- to five-minute marketing videos for this. If the media wants to see that, they’ll go online to find it. But I can promise you, they don’t. In our experience, VNRs garner great response—roughly a 20 percent higher open rate than our well-performing social media news releases. And better yet, many of our VNRs have been picked up by the media and featured as editorial content online.

Feature Teaser

Another tool we’ve developed is what we call Feature Teasers. These are short clips — we’re talking 15-second, bite-sized pieces that focus on a very specific feature or element of a product or service that our client wants to promote. It’s a great way to breathe life into your video news release and it can be leveraged as social media content.

Technology has created many challenges for marketers, but it has created far more opportunities. The use of imagery, video, social media, new distribution platforms, memes, emoji’s and more have leveled the playing field on the creativity and distribution of information. The key is to be sure that your information is clear, concise, compelling and packaged for consumption in the digital age.

Originally published in Sacramento Business Journal  – Aug 30, 2017, 7:00am PDT
© 2017 American City Business Journals

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