Public Relations: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

This guide has everything you need to know about Public Relations.

I’ll cover from the basics to the most advanced techniques and all the aspects you need to know about Public Relations. After reading this guide, you will be able to apply my proven tactics to succeed in your PR strategy in 2020. 

Thus, if you are wondering how you can stand out from your competitors and get the most out of your PR strategy you are in the right place! 

Let’s jump right in!

CHAPTER 1

Public Relations Essentials

Nowadays carrying out a great Public Relations strategy is mandatory for any business. But, what does PR mean? And, why should you focus on them? 

In this chapter, I will deal with the main functions of PR, their purpose and what do they mean. Besides, I will also talk about major trends for this year and some statistics you cannot miss. 

So, if you want to know what PR are, the latest trends and why should you focus on them, start reading the first chapter of this guide.

What is public relations?

Public Relations go hand in hand with your reputation that is why they are so important.

If you run a business, all the things you say and everything you do matters. What is more, it can have positive or negative consequences for your business. 

As a marketer you cannot take the risk of gaining a bad reputation as it will take years to clean it up. 

Thus, PR is fundamental because they are essential for a good brand ́s opinion. A PR strategy is the one that aims at analyzing what people say about your brand; and then, somehow influence them to have a positive image of you. 

In short, PR is a communication process that companies use to establish a positive relationship with their audience.

Remember that the main goal of any PR strategy is to promote a positive brand image as well as strengthen the relationship with a brand’s audience and/or clients.

But, why should you care about PR? The answer to this question is quite obvious after what I have just told you above. The main purpose of PR is to keep a positive reputation and improve the relationship with your audience. 

This includes not only your customers, but also your employees, investors, partners, etc. Having a great brand image is pivotal as it will show your audience they can trust you.

Key functions of PR

Below, there is a list of the most important functions of PR:

  • Analyze what your audience thinks about your brand
  • Anticipate what people can say about your brand
  • Think of strategies to improve your brand ́s image
  • Develop strategies for new product campaigns
  • Handle the relationships with your investors, clients, journalists, bloggers, etc
  • Advice employees of your company before they take part in an event
  • Be in charge of the social media presence of your brand
  • Write speeches for your brand
  • Create and write content for your webpage
  • Organize PR events
  • Deal with press releases about your brand
  • Prepare backup plans so as to be always covered
  • Manage your brand’s reputation crisis

Statistics and trends in public relations

PR statistics and trends have significantly changed over the last years. What is more, they will keep on changing.

Nowadays, the figure of a PR agent is completely different from what it was in the past. These days, they are required to deal with many aspects at the same time. That is to say, they need to multitask.

Besides, there is a general feeling of mistrust among the audience. They no longer have the faith in advertising that they used to have.

Yet, this issue can be easily solved providing them trustworthy, appealing and interesting content. They seem to trust more company’s experts than what is said about brands.

Still, you will need to work on your brand’s image as much as you can. Indeed, not only your image matters, but you will also need to focus on the image of your employees.

Let’s have a look at the most important statistics and trends for this year!

Public Relations statistics

  • 80% of marketers and PR professionals think that digital storytelling is the future
  • Many PR executives believe that their job will be given a new name in the near future. This is due to the fact that it involves a lot of multitasking, and also because its actual name doesn’t match in detail with what they do
  • Over the last 5 years PR agencies have grown up to 30% per year
  • Most journalists believe their audiences will trust them less this year
  • According to a great number of PR executives influencer marketing is becoming more and more important
  • 92% of consumers prefer earned media to traditional ads
  • Many consumers consider advertising as a less reliable source than they did some years ago
  • Journalists are pressured to write various stories in a short period of time
  • These days, millenials are prone to be influenced by blogs and social networks
  • 80% of decision-makers prefer getting data from articles instead of from ads
  • 70% of consumers prefer to know a company from an article rather than from an advertisement
  • 68% of consumers are inclined to read information about a company they are interested in
  • 86% of people have a tendency to avoid TV ads
  • 44% of the direct emails that companies send to consumers are never opened
  • 91% of email users that subscribe to a company cancel the service after a while

Public Relations trends in 2020

1. Storytelling

Due to the influence of technology, attention spans are a lot shorter than before. On top of that, it is more difficult to gain your audience’s trust because of the increase of fake news.

Yet, storytelling is gaining a lot of relevance this year. But, you will need to adapt your PR storytelling for different channels, such as new devices.

Remember that as important as what you say, it is how you say it. So, try to make it interesting as well as convincing for your audience. And, do not forget to double check your sources.

Research is key these days. It is fairly easy to go online and collect a lot of information. Though, it is not that easy to check its veracity. And it is even more difficult to make this data appealing to your audience.

Bear in mind that any PR strategy aims at improving your brand’s reputation. So, if you want your audience’s trust, you need to offer them trustworthy stories.

2. A solid content marketing strategy

Having a content marketing strategy is not only advisable, but is key in 2020. This is due to the fact that PR and content marketing are closely related.

PR ́s main priority is to improve your brand’s reputation. Indeed, you will be able to do so if you design a good content marketing strategy.

Nowadays, companies create content so as to educate their audience instead of to promote their products straightaway.

So, if the content you create is original and interesting for your audience, they might do business with you. But, most importantly, they might spread the word and recommend your brand. Or, even better share your content online, which will place your business in front of a wider audience.

3. Influencers

Lately, partnerships with influencers have significantly increased. This is due to the fact that influencers can help you to improve your brand’s awareness on social media networks such as Instagram and others.

Yet, you have to be careful when choosing influencers. And, it is believed that long-term partnerships will bring you more benefits than short-term ones.

Besides, you should consider the fact that even though working with influencers is on the rise and many companies have fruitful relationships with them, it is difficult to predict outcomes or how much will they benefit your reputation.

4. Analytics

These days analyzing data is more and more important. It will help you to understand your audience better. So, you will be able to do your job better too.

In fact, not only your clients are vital to gather information, but the ideal clients you would like to have are essential too.

Thanks to technology, everyday there is more data available. Yet, the information you use has to be trustworthy. This way, you will keep your loyal customers.

So, researching and analyzing data is key to PR. After that, it would be advisable to do the maths and check what’s working and what’s not.

5. AI

Unbelievable as it may seem, AI is already happening. Perhaps not to the extent it had been predicted in the past, and not to the extend we would like it to, but it is a reality.

For instance in the form of automation for sending emails. You shouldn’t do it with all your emails of course. Though, you can use automation to make your life easier.

It is also happening when we make phone calls to make an appointment. And some websites even use it in the form of chatbots to answer to their clients issues and queries.

6. Up-skill, re-skill & multi-skill

As PR go hand in hand with advertising and marketing, PR agents find themselves under the obligation of multitasking in order to do their jobs properly.

Thus, a PR agent needs to be good at content marketing, communication, creating videos and more. But, most of all, a PR agent nowadays needs to be really good with social networks.

7. Reputation and trust

This year PR are essential to improve your brand’s reputation and in order to get your clients trust. The main reason why this is relevant in 2020 is due to the fact that many people no longer trust PR agents as they used to in the past.

Yet, the positive thing about this aspect is that they do trust experts. So, it is vital that you create a blog for your brand. There, you will have the chance to educate your audience. And also, to show them how trustworthy you are as a brand.

8. Personal branding

When it comes to PR not only your brand’s image matters, but you will also have to pay attention to how your most widely known employees are perceived.

So, a little bit of personal branding would be useful to improve what your audience thinks about them. Besides, it is also a good idea to create some content on their behalf, or to help them to manage social networks related to your brand.

Why is Public Relations important?

There are one thousand reasons why you should invest in PR. Above all, PR can help you to increase your brand’s awareness and to have better brand’s reputation.

One of its other advantages is that it can help you to have a wider and more trustworthy influence in your audience. This is because PR use objective sources. And also because people believe more in PR than in paid sources such as advertising.

What is more, PR can be a cost-effective way of placing your message in front of a larger audience. Indeed, investing in traditional ways of marketing will be a lot more expensive than using some part of your budget to improve PR.

On top of that, some PR agents will help you with your advertising campaigns so as to improve your brand ́s image. Also they can help you to target not only the right audience, but also the right market. This way, you will have more chances of getting your message to people who are interested in receiving it.

Besides, a good PR campaign will help you to target the right market. I mean, it will help you with industry events, trade shows, etc. so that your product gets the maximum exposure.

Finally, it is relevant to mention that the media effect of PR is long-lasting. So, it will help you to generate more leads. And, your brand’s story will be known by more people.

Benefits of PR

  • More cost-effective than advertising
  • Wide influence: it is a credible form of promotion
  • Reach your target audience 
  • Build connections with media, investors, influencers, prospects, clients, etc. 
  • Create a positive brand ́s image
  • It helps you with advertising
  • Target the right market for your brand
  • Long-lasting benefits after a campaign

PR and Marketing

These days it has become such an ordeal to differentiate between marketing and PR. Why? Mainly because of the social media which overlaps between these two concepts. Yet, they differ in lots of aspects.

Public relations and marketing have some common goals like boosting brand awareness and generating leads, and both are necessary to build up a brand identity. However, they are quite different.

For example, PR mainly uses earned media for its promotion like speeches and press releases which can have a long-lasting impression. However, in marketing messages are spread through mostly paid media such as advertising which is a short-term process in comparison with PR.

Fact:

Public Relations is a communication process whose aim is to strengthen the relationship between a company and its general public. PR wants to promote a brand and influence the publics about the image they have about the brand. So, the objective is to persuade them to have a positive opinion about the company.

Marketing is a transaction whose main objectives are selling and advertising the products/services of a company. The aim is to promote and sell a product to a target audience. Marketing involves everything that happens since the creation of a product till it reaches the client.

I hope all the above mentioned has been useful for you. Now you know what PR are and what functions do they have. On top of that, you are familiar with the latest trends and statistics for this year.

Thus, it is time you realize about their importance and what benefits they can bring to your business. Not to mention the fact that many people confuse marketing with PR, and now you know their similarities and differences.

If you want to know how to run a successful PR campaign for your business, keep on reading!

CHAPTER 2

How to Run a Successful PR Campaign

These days appearance is really important. The same happens with your brand’s image. Thus, if you want to be in the public eye but with a positive impact, you will need a plan.

In PR once your audience has an image of you, it will take ages to change it. That is to say, impressions have a long-lasting effect.

Yet, planning a strategy to convince your audience to have a positive idea about your brand is not a piece of cake.

In this chapter, you will learn how to create your PR strategy based on your individual goals. Besides, I will talk about messaging and distribution strategy.

How to create your PR strategies

If you want to manage what is said about you, you will definitely need a PR strategy. You can work on it from your company or you can hire a PR agency to control this information. It is not only necessary to distribute information that might be helpful to improve your brand’s image.

But, a PR strategy can also be decisive to deal with negative impressions, comments, press releases, etc. It is even more important to stop negative rumors about your brand or to give prompt explanations about any issue that might have happened than to create a good image.

The truth is it might take ages to build a good reputation. Though, you can lose it or damage it in a couple of seconds.

Below, you will find my proven tactics to create your own PR strategy:

1. Set your PR goals and review them on a regular basis

Depending on what ́s what you want to achieve, you can have many or a few goals. Whatever the number, you have to be coherent as well as consistent when you establish your goals.

For instance, you can have goals like:

  • Improve your brand ́s image
  • Reach a new audience
  • Enhance your relationship with your customers
  • Boost sales

Usually, it is better to go from global aims to more specific ones. Not surprisingly, establishing your goals is key. This way, you will know which path to follow.

Yet, you can change any plan or strategy if you see it is not working. So, just because you have initially decided to follow a strategy, it does not mean it is set in stone.

2. Research your audience for a better targeting

One of the first things you will need to do after setting your objectives is to decide who your buyer personas are. That is to say, you need to think of who your ideal clients are, but also who your current clients are.

Besides, you will also need to find out some information about your target audience who you are addressing your message to.

Once you have done some research, you will know who you are trying to convince. However difficult it may seem to create buyer personas, it is key to determine who your audience is and how you are going to engage with them.

3. Decide on the platforms that work best for your message

After having analyzed your audience, you will have to decide which platform will work best to spread your message. You should deliver information in the channel that your audience prefers. This way, they will feel more comfortable.

This will help you to reach a broader target audience. Not to mention that chances of success will be higher.

4. Tell your story with press release

If you want your press releases to succeed, you will have to tell your story. Media outlets won’t pick up your press releases if you only try to promote your brand and your products.

Think that journalists receive loads of pre-written press releases everyday. Thus, if you want them to choose yours, it will have to be interesting, newsworthy, include some quotes, etc.

If you are lucky, they will publish your press release and you might even get an invitation for an interview. This will get your message viral as it will be visible in more than one channel.

5. Make contacts with your outlet and contact list

Instead of calling each journalist, you should focus on those who write about your industry.

It is a good idea to build a relationship with those who write about your industry on a regular basis. Engaging with them might prove to be beneficial for both of you. These days, journalists are looking for pre-prepared stories with credible sources.

At the same time, you want a positive press release about your brand. If you send your content to journalists with whom you have already worked, you might have more chances they distribute your message.

Anyway, it is worth trying as the other option would be to try to contact them all whenever you have a message to share. And sadly, it won’t always get to them.

6. Define your limitations: create a budget

Knowing your limitations defines what you will do for your PR campaigns. For example, if you don’t have anyone from your company to give a speech for your campaign, you need to hire a speaker and prepare for the budget.

It seems obvious but it is pivotal to create a budget. Once you have established your goals, you should consider how much you want to spend in your PR strategy.

There are many aspects you should take into account. For example: staff time, images, materials, distribution, unexpected expenses, etc.

7. Test the effectiveness of your PR

Finally, as important as planning your strategy is to analyze its success. This doesn’t have to be only at the end, you can also check how is it going during the process.

What’s more, if you notice that your strategy is not helping you to achieve your goals, you should reconsider it or even try a different tactic. But, if it works, you should know what and why does it work. This way, you will be able to repeat it.

Most PR experts agree on the fact that you should check the success of your strategy at least once a month. It is enough time to check if a campaign is working or not. Yet, some campaigns might last longer than others. So, it will depend on your strategy too.

PR Messaging Strategy

Given the fact that in PR messaging has to be done through telling a story, you will need to define what ́s what you want to tell to the media. You will have to write your messages to be appealing to your audience. So, whenever you create content, you will have to ask yourself why does this matter for my audience. And then, write bearing them always in mind.

Likewise, it is key to choose creative new angles. This means that, for each of your stories, you will have to find out original ways of telling them.

First of all, you should decide on topics to write about. For instance, if you’ve won an award or how to solve specific problems of a widely used product, etc. Depending on the topic, the angle will differ.

Though, there is something which can make you stand out from your competitors: you. Even though you share the same industry and sell similar products/services, you, your company, your employees are different. So, you should use this to your benefit.

As regards being innovative when telling your story, there is no doubt you should try to do so. Think that no one wants to read the same staff again and again, make it appealing for your audience.

Keyword/Topic Research

If you want your efforts to be profitable, you will have to pay attention to keyword and topic research. It is crucial to use the right keywords if you want your content to rank high in search engines.

But how can you do that? First, you will have to do some research.

It is necessary that you identify which topics are relevant for your audience. You can use tools to help you with this task. You need to know what kind of words they are typing in search engines.

Yet, Keywords in PR are not the same as in marketing. The main difference is that keywords in PR need to be relevant for a longer time than those of marketing.

Once you have analyzed what your audience wants, you can create your own list of keywords. This list will help you to decide which topics you should write about. Your keywords list can change as time goes by or if you see some of the keywords you are using are not effective.

Apart from using relevant keywords, you will need to check if they are helping you with your SEO efforts or not. If you detect your keywords are not helping you to reach a wider audience, use different keywords.

When you write new pieces of content you need to consider that this is not only messaging, but also you aim at building your outlet/contact search list. That’s why using suitable keywords will help you to attract journalists, reporters, analysts and your customers.

Thus, if you want journalists to distribute your message, you will have to choose keywords and topics carefully. Once you have worked with some journalists, you should create a contacts list which might make it easier for you to get your content published in the future.

How to build your outlet and contact lists​

If you design your own PR media list, it will make your job a lot easier as it will save you a lot of time and money. You can use your media contact list to reach your contacts quickly. A media list consists of key media contacts that might want stories about your business or area of expertise.

For example bloggers, reporters, journalists, freelance writers, producers, editors, etc. These people work for different channels: radio, TV, blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc.

Depending on your audience and the type of message that you want to communicate, you will need to work with different contacts.

First of all, you will need to find out which contacts can be useful for your brand. Yet, before you do so, you will need to think about who your target audience is and what channels are they interested in. And you need to check if they prefer to get information through blogs, TV programs, websites, etc.

Outlet Search​

Once you are familiar with who your audience is and what channels do they prefer, it’s time you focus on outlet search – finding writers contacts.

You need to find the best person to contact from the media outlet. This person should be the one in charge of covering news about the topic of your story.

It is easier to contact with specialized journalists than someone who is in charge of a channel. It is better if you try to reach someone who writes about the theme of your story. Or even better, someone of less authority that works for this person. You might get more and prompt replies.

By the way, you can discover who writes about your industry reading articles and noting down their authors. And also, you can call the publication or search online. Whatever the method you use, you shouldn’t try to reach different people from the same place, but the right person with the right job title who might like your story.

On top of that, it is necessary to understand local media outlets. To determine which media outlet would be better for you, you need to consider several aspects. If you want them to post your content, you will have to consider how often do they publish content. And also, if they have specific deadlines.

Apart from that, you will have to bear in mind their audience:

  • Do you share the same audience?
  • How big is it?
  • Will they be interested in your content?
  • Will it help you to reach your objectives?

Consider if your topic is relevant to the medium, how it works and who follows it to decide which media outlet will work best for you. Once you’ve identified it, then you will need to create your contacts list. And after that build a relationship with them.

Contact Search​

Depending on the impact you want to get with your message, you will need to create a different PR contact list.

If what you want is to get your message published in local channels, you can create your own contact list with relevant contact details. You can note down the names of those who write about your industry, search online or call their publications.

Yet, if what you want is to have a wider exposure, you will need to use tools to help you create your contacts list. You can use a media database tool that helps you to find out contacts from your industry as well as relevant outlets. This way, you would be able to reach many suitable writers in a matter of seconds.

Having your contacts list ready, it does not mean you will succeed. Remember that reaching journalists is quite difficult as they receive many pre-written press releases every day. So, you will need to write something that catches their attention.

And also, it is key to have your writers list up-to-date because they might change jobs, move to another city, change position within the company, etc.

Audience Targeting

However obvious it may seem, it is key to narrow down your target audience. The truth is there are many people who can form part of your audience such as customers, potential customers, stakeholders, journalists, bloggers, and more.

So, if you want to succeed, you will need to address your PR campaigns to specific segments of your audience. If your aim is to target your local customers, you might want to run a PR campaign targeting location-based customers and magazines.

Whoever your target audience is, it is vital that you specify as much as possible who they are. This will help you to pass on your message through a channel that is appealing to them. Thus, you will achieve a better communication. So, the results will be greater.

But, how can you reach your target audience?

Once you have decided on who are going to be subject of your PR campaign, you should consider the following:

1. Use social networks effectively

An excellent way of engaging with your audience is by using social networks to post content. Besides, you can use those channels to drive people to your website, solve their problems, advertise your products, etc. And also, it is easier for you to target a specific segment of your audience with social media by both organic and paid content.

Understanding your audience can also be pivotal for choosing the best channels to distribute your PR message. If you identify a segment of your audience to which you want to address a message, you should research which channel do they prefer. And then, make use of this channel to guarantee your success.

If you want your message to go viral, you will need to share it on social media. Or even better, make it shareable so your audience will be able to share it. Make sure that your content is mobile-friendly as many people access to information through their mobile devices.

2. Post content frequently

Posting content is always a win-win solution. Using the right keywords can narrow down your audience and boost your brand awareness.

Remember that posting content on a regular basis will help you improve your SEO and please your audience. By regularly posting content on your site, you will promote the idea that you care for them.

3. Leverage targeted advertising - paid articles

From time to time, you might find it useful to pay for the placement of one of your articles. Yet, before you decide to go for this strategy, you should consider if it would be the best option.

Not to mention the fact that you should analyze if it would be worth the effort. Sometimes, you can get similar results using other strategies. It would depend on your public and their preferences.

4. Influencer marketing

There are one thousand reasons why you should go for influencer marketing. In PR it is not only important what you say, but also who says that. Or who promotes whatever message you want to convey.

So, as well as promoting content through organic and paid distribution, you should promote your brand, message, etc. with influencers.

These days influencers are necessary to distribute and promote trustworthy content. But, not any influencer will do the trick. You need to find influencers who have audiences you want to reach.

5. Actively participate in PR events

Finally, were you given the chance to participate in speeches, conferences, industry events, etc. you should definitely go and share your expertise with the public. Since the participants of these events are already interested in your industry, your speeches have more meaningful than when you promote online.

This kind of opportunities are a must for any PR strategy. Your audience is highly targeted and you can directly connect to a large number of people.

6. Traditional media

Although it might be more difficult to get your content published by traditional newspapers, magazines, TV programs, radio channels, etc. it is worth the effort.

If you have something newsworthy to tell why not contact them? Consider outlet markets and which channels would be better for your target audience. You might get your content viral if you convince them of the relevance of what you have to say.

Remember that it is key to address the right journalist with the right job title. Try no to flood many people from the same publication, but those who cover the content you want to deliver.

Nowadays, journalists have various accounts on social networks. So, even if they do not pick your content for their publication, they might share if they think it’s interesting.

PR mistakes to avoid in 2020

When it comes to PR blunders, there are so many things you will have to take into account. The utmost goal of PR is to enhance how other people see your company. There are loads of ways to do that.

Though it takes ages to boost your reputation, someone can damage it in a few seconds.

That’s why it is necessary to have a PR strategy. Though, having a strategy and follow it is not enough. Unexpected issues might arise during the process. Or, there can be pitfalls if you do not follow your strategy steps properly.

Below there are some of the most well-known pitfalls in PR that you need to watch out!

1. Poor timing

Not surprisingly, in PR it is crucial to plan before hand. So, if you want the media to publish your press releases, you will have to consider their deadlines.

Some channels distribute data on a daily basis such as newspapers. Others, deliver content weekly like magazines. Online channels such as social networks or blogs post information regularly.

Thus, depending on the channel, you will have to be ready to provide content at the time that is best for them. What is more, it should be ready in time, so when they ask for it, it will be ready.

2. Inadequately written press releases

Another typical mistake in PR is when a brand produces press releases that are inadequately written. That is to say, when the length, the language, the sentences used are not appropriate. Or even worse, when there are errors, omissions, jargon or the structure is not suitable, etc.

These and many other things could be disasters for your PR content distribution. They can create you a bad reputation among journalists. So, it is key to check and revise your content before sending it to publications.

Finally, if you generate content that is not relevant, without any media purpose and try to get it published, the inadequately written content could be fatal for your brand ́s image. Journalists and reporters will recognize your brand ́s name. Thus, they won’t take you into account when you have something newsworthy to share.

3. Lack of planning

As it happens with the strategies of any other field, in PR it is a must to plan beforehand. You need to know what path you are going to follow and each of the steps of your strategy. You have to know what, when and how you are going to proceed.

Moreover, you need to be ready with a backup plan in case something happens out of the blue. It is vital to be always ready.

Failing to have a clear plan might prove to be disasters in PR. The truth is that issues might happen, or you may decide to change the strategy or part of it due to any reason. So, it is crucial to always know what to do next.

4. Poor follow-up

Unbelievable as it may seem, many brands lose opportunities due to poor follow-up. If you send a press release to a publication, you should be happy to answer any questions they might have.

Sometimes journalists call brands to close a deal or to ask for any details they are not sure, etc. Thus, it is fundamental that you know how to handle this kind of situations. Otherwise, you could lose chances of sharing your message.

5. Not thinking outside the box

Although I’ve previously mentioned that it is useful to create a contacts list to send them your press releases, it is undeniably true that you could be losing new opportunities.

If you always send your content to the same newspapers, radio stations, TV channels, etc. you could be ignoring other ways of distributing data.

Indeed, these days it is critical to think outside the box if you do not want to be beaten by your competitors, you have to go for what is different!

6. Lack of help

Some companies spend too much money working with costly PR agencies to put into practice their PR strategy. Yet, others prefer not to have anything to do with this kind of organizations.

Both of these approaches are mistaken. PR agencies are there to help you with those issues you find complicated and need help or advice about. If you rely on them for everything, it could be very expensive. And, if you do not consider asking for their help, it could be disasters too.

Indeed, the best approach would be to count on them whenever it is necessary. So, you will need to find a balance that works for your brand.

7. Not knowing how to manage bad comments

Failing to know what to do when you receive bad comments could be fatal for your brand. Sooner or later you will receive negative comments and it is mandatory to know how to manage this situation.

Obviously, you should not ignore them. Neither should you lose manners. But, what you should do is to apologize if appropriate. Then give an explanation of why you think there has been a problem. And finally, try to provide a solution to the problem.

This way, you will show that you care for what they think. And also, that you appreciate their feedback and will take action to solve problems.

8. Using the same tone for every channel

Depending on the channel where you are going to distribute your message, you should use one tone or another. It is not the same when you create a press release for a newspaper than when you pretend to share news on social media.

These days it is preferable to use a conversational style and you should try to avoid using the passive voice.

I hope all the above mentioned has been useful for you. Now, you are ready to run a successful PR campaign.

It is critical to be familiar with PR pitfalls, but also you need to know how to create your own PR strategy and how to reach out to your target audience. Now, you can do all that!

CHAPTER 3

Lead Generation with Public Relations

It is an undeniable fact that PR are essential to generate more leads. In general, this is because a good PR strategy will develop trust. And, this trust will help you to strengthen lead generation.

In this chapter, I will talk about how you can improve lead generation through PR in depth. I will also share actionable PR marketing techniques that work.

Once you finish reading it, you will be able to boost your leads. Let’s have a look at it!

There are one thousand reasons why you should focus on improving your PR. Having a great PR strategy is mandatory as it will help you to increase your brand awareness.

Though, that’s not the only thing a successful PR strategy will do for you. What matters the most is that it will help you to gain a high level of trust from your audience. And this is key as new customers will trust more what past customers say about your brand.

So, if you really want to increase your lead generation, you will need to keep an eye to your PR strategy. There is no doubt that improving your PR will help you to get more leads.

Anyway, there are lots of elements you will need to take into account to boost your leads thanks to PR. So, I will talk about the most important ones below

1. Email marketing

Email marketing is not at all an old-fashioned technique. But, it is still an essential channel you can use to catch your audience’s attention.

That’s because people consider it as an excellent medium to communicate with companies.

But, you will need to be careful as these days lots of companies send automated emails. Yet, your audience won’t be happy to receive these ones.

As part of your PR strategy, you will need to send emails with a personalized message. That is to say, it is not enough if you include your recipient’s name. You should also include other information in your message with which the receiver might feel identified.

Nonetheless, you cannot forget opt-in. This means asking users to allow you to include their email address in a mailing list, yours. Apart from being a legal requirement, it will help you to create a contacts list.

Another detail you have to bear in mind is the subject line. It has to be short and direct. But, above all, it needs to be catchy. Otherwise, you won’t convince recipients to open your emails and they might be classified as spam.

To convince your audience to take the action you want them to, you will need to limit the numbers of your offer. It is also a good idea to create a sense of urgency like a specific date when your offer will expire.

As a marketer, you will have to decide on which is the best time to send emails to your customers, subscribers, etc.

In other words, you will need to analyze if they prefer to receive this kind of information in the morning, in the afternoon, at weekends and so on.

Last but not least, you will have to make sure that your emails stick to the point. So, they must be short and as simple as possible.

As part of your PR strategy it is fundamental that you make sure that all your emails are mobile optimized.

For instance if your subject line is too long, mobile users will not see it all on their devices. Then, it is vital that not only the subject line, but also the rest of the message is mobile optimized. This way you will enable the best UX possible.

2. Online forum

As part of your PR strategy and if you want to generate more leads, you will need to reply to online forum questions.

Depending on the type of company you have and what you sell, there will be some forums which could be more relevant than others.

Yet, in general the most well-known forums among marketers are the ones below.

Answering questions in these forums might prove to be quite time-consuming. Though, it will be beneficial for you in the long term.

If you get a question about a product, or if you explain to them how to solve a problem, etc; this can be useful to another customer without having to contact you.

Pleasing your audience will help you to generate trust and it will also increase your brand awareness.

Quora

Quora is a questions and answers network. It can help you to drive more traffic to your site as you can establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic.

In this forum, anyone can ask questions about anything. Users can classify answers as good or bad. It is also relevant to mention that users can edit the answers of other users. And also that people can follow those who they are keen on or curious about.

That’s the reason why it is critical to reply to questions properly. You shouldn’t use Quora to advertise your products, but to solve problems and respond to your customers questions.

The ultimate aim of this network is to help other people. If you do a great job, it can help you to widen your brand awareness. It will help you with your SEO too.

Positioning yourself as an expert will help you to gain trust from your clients. And as a result it will definitely help you to get more leads.

Yet, you will need to take into account that the advantages of using such a platform are long-term.

As a PR strategy and in the USA, where most of Quora ́s public live, it is mandatory to become an active user.

HARO

Scision's HARO website header

HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. It is a platform where journalists ask for information to industry experts. If they choose your quote, a journalist will write an article related to your content; and he/she will also include a link to your website.

This link building opportunity is of utmost importance as you will achieve the status of a leading expert on a specific field. Besides, the link to your site will drive many visitors to your Web page. So, it will no doubt help you to generate more leads.

It’s a wonderful PR strategy that will promote your brand awareness. Anyway, it is fairly easy to use. You just have to register and you will receive 3 daily emails. If any of them matches with your content, you have to reply and give a summary of what ́s your piece of content all about.

Bear in mind that journalists receive many responses. So, being polite and humble is key. If you happen to get a fruitful outcome, it would be a win-win relationship.

Journalists take advantage of the expertise of business people. And, companies enhance their brand awareness, content promotion, lead generation and more.

Reddit

Socialmedia subreddit on Reddit

Reddit is a huge compilation of forums. It is mainly used to comment on what other people share.

So, you can post content, share your views on the latest news and interact with other people by commenting on their posts or answering to their comments on your posts.

This platform is widely known among marketers and it’s really popular in the US. Thus, you cannot miss out the chance to increase your brand awareness thanks to this forum.

Reddit is organized in subreddits, each of which is about a topic. Trendy posts are the ones which appear on Reddit’s front page. Though you can also look for less popular ones and a large variety of subreddits on a search bar.

You should post your content on the subreddit that matches it best. If there is no subreddit that defines your content, you can create one.

It is really important to be an active user if you want to succeed. Remember that you cannot openly advertise your products or Reddit could ban you.

Other users can give upvotes or downvotes to your posts. This affects the visibility of what you post. Then, it is vital to create high quality posts, reply to comments, interact with other users, etc.

It is possible to become a premium user. This will allow you to access to certain features which other users do not get. It is not necessary you become premium to get the most out of it. Though, it is somehow a way to support this community.

Basically, this is a place where people share their views on a wide variety of topics. So, as part of your PR strategy, it will prove to be quite a lot fruitful to belong to such a community.

It is an undeniable fact that many users generate more leads thanks to Reddit these days. So, what are you waiting for?

3. Content development

Content development is mandatory if you want to gain more leads. There is a huge difference between those marketers who create content on a regular basis and those who don ́t.

It is an undeniable fact that companies which generate new content get more leads. Thus, more conversions.

Also, it is important to update past content publications. This way, you will show your customers that you are up-to-date and you are aware of the latest trends as regards your industry.

There are several aspects you need to bear in mind to get the most out of your content development.

First of all, you need to find out what type of content your audience wants. After that, it is necessary that you come up with catchy headlines.

You will also have to do some research. That is to say, before deciding on the topic, it is a must to look for successful keywords. You should make sure that your content will have a large audience.

It is advisable to write long-format and high quality pieces of content as these are the ones that most people prefer nowadays.

But, what kind of content can boost your leads? Here are some of my proven tactics:

Distribute a press release

Screenshot of Microsoft's press release

Thanks to press releases you will be able to achieve leads straight away from your target audience. In other words, whenever you publish a press release, you should always include a link to your site.

This way, even though you are not advertising your products and trying to make direct sales, you will be driving visitors to your Web page. Indeed, press releases improve your SEO which helps you to increase your leads.

Storytelling with blog

LinkedIn official blog

Apart from press releases, you need to post content on your blog time and again. Blogging is a fantastic way of telling your brand’s story.

If you post content on a regular basis, it will help you to strengthen your relationship with your customers. And also to establish yourself/your company as a leader and even get new visitors.

So, under no circumstances should you underestimate the power of blogging. Yet, not any kind of posts will have a positive effect among your public.

You should post content that is educational, newsworthy, interesting and so on. Likewise, your posts need to be long-form and evergreen as that is what audiences of today want.

Among the many advantages of blogging, it is relevant to mention that it is a powerful and profitable way of getting your content published. Though, you will only notice its benefits in the long-term.

You can make use of your blog to announce relevant company news, advice your customers, establish yourself as an expert, comment on the latest trends in your industry, etc.

Offer a gated content

Example of Gated Content in Evinex Marketing blog

As regards gated content, it is key to mention the fact that it is a controversial topic. Gated content is the one your audience gets if they subscribe to your site. Normally, they need to provide their email address and name in exchange for this content.

Thus, gated content has to be of outstanding quality and up-to-date. On many occasions companies combine free content with gated content. Though, there are those who argue that all content should have free access.

Yet, if that was the case, it would be the end of inbound marketing. You are the one who is in charge of deciding how much content you give for free and how much you offer as gated content.

There is no right answer for this. It depends on your industry, your brand, the content you post, etc. But, in theory there should be a balance between these two types of content.

Still, there is no doubt that gated content generates leads. Those who are willing to access this extra content will have to click on a link and provide you their contact details.

Work on a Killer header

The last aspect I would like to emphasize here is the importance of a killer header. It is mandatory to use killer headers in your pieces of content if you want them to reach your audience.

First of all, because it will look better organized. But, mainly because search engines take killer headers into account. So, if you do not use them, you won ́t rank high.

But, what are killer headers? They are those which differentiate headings and subheadings from the rest of your content. You should introduce relevant keywords in your headings and subheadings. This will help you to get better SEO results. Thus, to boost your leads.

Your headings need to be interesting for your readers as you should try to catch their attention from the beginning. Otherwise, they won’t read the post till the end.

Video marketing

More and more companies are using videos to promote their content nowadays. The main reason is that people prefer videos to other channels as they are easy to consume. Viewers get data quickly, easily explained and somehow comfortably. The only thing they have to do is watch the video.

A typical characteristic of marketing videos is their high quality. And their effectiveness to spread a message. As a marketer, you should use them in your website and social media platforms.

Another advantage of videos is that they can be easily shared. So, creating videos will help you to distribute content, increase your brand’s awareness, educate your audience, gain your client’s trust, tell your story, etc.

To perform your best, I will deal with the most significant video marketing strategies which affect the success of your PR efforts below.

1. Boost your click-through rate with a well-designed CTA

Not surprisingly, it is mandatory to include CTAs so that you can drive your audience to watch your videos. Make sure that your CTA buttons look clickable and have proper sizes especially for mobile devices.

Basically, because this will improve your SEO efforts and the click-through rates. Don’t forget to make them shareable or else they won’t get viral.

2. Find out which video formats work best for you

There are many video formats – landscape, vertical, square videos. Whether you choose one or another will depend on your audience preferences, your aim when creating the video, the content, the platform where you want to post it and many other things.

Landscape videos are those whose orientation is horizontal. They are generally used to display wide-screen content such as a Web page.

Vertical videos are the ones whose orientation is vertical. People create them in a portrait mode, usually with a camera or a computer.

Square videos are those square shaped. Many say that these are the ones most people prefer to find on social media nowadays.

But, each social media network has its own video specifications. You cannot forget that whatever the format you choose, you will have to take into account mobile optimization.

3. Create your video with the optimal video length

As regards video lengths, there are loads of factors which can affect how long a video should be. Though, in general you should try to make them as short as possible.

Optimal video length depends on your target audience, the type of video you want to promote, the channel, your aims and more.

According to a video study by HubSpot, there are different ideal lengths depending on which social media platform you broadcast your videos:

  • Instagram: 30 seconds
  • Twitter: 45 seconds
  • Facebook: 2 minutes
  • Youtube: 2 minutes 

Besides, depending on your aims, video lengths differ too. For instance, explainer videos are flexible. Their duration will vary depending on how much time it takes to convince people to take a desired action.

Yet, trade show videos that might never be published online, but used to show interested viewers what you do can be longer. The reason why these ones can be longer is that you will already have the attention of your audience.

Whatever your goals are, it is mandatory to get your viewers attention from the beginning.

Do not forget that attention spans are everyday shorter and shorter. So, you will have to develop a captivating technique if you do not want to lose them before they finish watching your video.

Once your video is ready, you can upload it to your website, post it in various social networks, include it in your emails or you can even create videos for your case study section.

Finally, it is advisable that instead of creating one long video to tell your brand’s story, promote a product, help your customers with an issue that might have appeared with one of your products, educate your audience, etc. it is better to create many short ones to cover each of these facets.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can help you to improve your engagement rate. Thus, it is really useful to increase your leads and conversions which is what matters by the end of the day.

Currently it is extremely beneficial for marketers to work with influencers. They can help you to generate even more leads than celebrities! The average person trusts more what people like them say about products than what companies say.

Whether you should work with some influencers or others will depend on your audience. That is to say, you should partner with an influencer whose audience matters to you.

Many marketers say that it is more worthy to work with micro-influencers as they know their audiences really well. So, they may have a greater impact on them.


Anyway, how can you boost your leads due to your relationship with an influencer?

The answer to this question is fairly easy. You can ask them to guest post in your blog, tell them to create content for you, ask them to collaborate in your PR campaigns and more.

Thanks to your influencers, you will improve your brand’s credibility. And also, you will gain your audience’s trust. What’s more, they are essential to improve your brand’s awareness. And many times they are key to improve consumer’s engagement.

Not to mention the fact that you will have better search engine rankings. Still, the downside is that usually it will take a while to see the results. Though, their effect on people is usually long-lasting.

Case studies, Testimonials and Reviews

Once you’ve established a good relationship with your customers, you can ask them to write positive reviews about your brand and products.

It is also a good idea to record a video testimonial in which they can talk about their experience working with you. Videos are powerful resources as they are shareable and you can publish them on social media.

Besides, case studies are an essential part of a marketing Web page. Did you know that what other customers say about you can affect future purchases? The truth is that people like to know the opinion that other users have about you. And, a successful story will attract people to your site.

So, you cannot underestimate the power of testimonials, reviews and case studies. They will help you to generate trust, boost your leads and establish yourself as a leading brand.

Website optimization

As part of your PR strategy, you should definitely pay attention to your website optimization. Nowadays, many marketing transactions happen online.

If not directly buying a product, many consumers check websites to collect information about the products they want to buy. Thus, it is critical to offer them the best experience possible.

Yet, they might be using a variety of different devices to engage with you online.

There are many facets you should consider to optimize your website for lead generation. The most crucial ones today are listed below:

1. About Us page

Microsoft's website about us page screenshot

As a marketer, you should pay a lot of attention to your About Us page. It is not just a requirement. But is one of the best places to tell your story and boost your leads. Not surprisingly, it is one of the pages your audience, prospects and customers visit the most.

Many people have a look at your About Us page to decide whether they can trust you. They expect data about your background, how are you going to solve their problems, reviews, testimonials, etc.

Apart from this, you can also include information about any awards you might have won. You can mention relevant events you have participated in. And even the books you have published.

Thanks to all this data, visitors will get to know you a little bit more. And this generates trust which is essential to convert them into your customers.

Besides, you can also include pictures and some relevant details of your best employees. This way, if your prospects and your customers want to reach any of them, they will feel more comfortable as they will be able to put a face to the person they are going to work with.

Although your About Us page is supposed to be about you, it also has to be somehow about your audience. That’s to say you should try to show them as far as possible that you understand the problems they may be facing. Thus, you are here to help them with those problems.

If you do so, chances of convincing them to take action will be higher. Moreover, your About Us page is perfect to provoke a lasting impression. So, if possible try to catch their attention and they will never forget you.

2. Consider your Thank-You page as a lead generator

Thank-you pages are also an important part of your site. Although, they won’t give you as many leads as your landing pages, thank-you pages can also be a source of leads. For example, you can include a link to your newest product or a related one. And also sharing buttons.

So, if you want to get the most out of your site, it is key to optimize each step, not only your homepage is important.

3. Add forms to each of your pages

Gravity Forms website for WordPress screenshot

You might think it is unnecessary to include forms in all your pages. But, if you aim at generating more leads, the more forms you use the better.

It is not essential to use the same forms. It is even better to A/B test with forms. And afterwards use the ones that work best for you.

Though it can be redundant, having forms in all your pages will give your visitors the chance to always be able to fill them in no matter where they are. Thus, the possibilities of improving your leads and conversions will be higher.

4. Monitor each of your lead generator’s performance

There is no doubt that to get more leads, it is of vital importance to check how each of your lead generators is doing. Mainly because what works well could be repeated somewhere else.

Besides, you will get feedback as regards your landing pages, clicks, etc. So, if you carry out A/B tests, you will be able to see what’s performing well and what’s not.

To measure the performance of your lead generators, you will need to use a tool that evaluates your lead generation sources such as Website Grader. And then, once you’ve checked the reports, it is when you can put all the information into practice.

5. Use clear and personalized CTAs

Example of call-to-action on Evinex's website

If you want visitors to your site to take a particular action, you will have to convince them first. Then, thanks to a CTA they will do as you want them to.

Sometimes, a CTA is necessary as people like to be told what to do during each step of a process. While, other times it is necessary as they might not know what to do next.

For this reason, it is critical to be crystal clear in your CTAs. For example “Subscribe for updates” or “Try us for free”, etc.

Besides, it is also a great idea to personalize some of your CTAs, this way visitors will see that you care for them. What’s more, personalized CTAs convert more visitors than basic ones.

That’s because when a site remembers your personal details, you are more likely to take further action. That’s why personalized CTAs generate more leads.

There are lots of things you can do to optimize your Web page for mobile devices. Among others, you have to pay attention to loading time, font size, easy to scroll, pictures size, videos, etc.

SEO

SEO is critical in lead generation. Thus, you will need to come up with an SEO strategy. This strategy should not only focus on optimizing your website. But, it should also take into account content creation to boost your SEO results.

These days search engines take many aspects into account to give you a score. And this is what determines how high your site appears in their rankings. As you all know this will somewhat affect how much traffic you receive. Thus, it will affect your SEO results.

If you want to make the most out of your SEO and generate leads, you will need to focus on several features.

1. Understand who your audience is

There is no doubt that knowing who your audience is can help you to improve your SEO results. Thus, to get more leads. It is necessary to know who your audience is, who your current customers are and who your ideal clients would be like.

All this information in terms of age, gender, location, job, etc. is key to design your Web page so as to have good SEO. On top of that, you will need to consider what issues they might be facing and why they would come to you. As well as how you can help them.

This will help you to plan your SEO strategy which is what will eventually generate more traffic. So, it will get you more leads.

2. Find out popular keywords for your pieces of content

Google Search Console performance chart

The correct use of keywords is crucial. Bear in mind that people will find you depending on the keywords you use. So, it is a must to use a keyword research tool such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, etc. to help you with this issue.

Whatever the keyword planner tool you use, think that the keywords you choose should help you to optimize your SEO results. So, if you do not achieve your goals, you might have to change your keywords.

3. On-page SEO

On-page SEO is really important for search engines. That’s why you should try to do your best and provide visitors high quality content. 

Each and every business Web page should include the following: 

  1. business address, 
  2. contact information, 
  3. high quality content, 
  4. images, 
  5. videos, 
  6. location map, 
  7. relevant keywords, 
  8. and more. 

Likewise, you can also include testimonials and reviews. These will give your site a lot more credibility. So, it will boost the number of your leads.

4. Link building

It’s a wonderful idea to include links to other sites related to your industry that you think might be useful for your audience. It’s somehow a way of educating them on aspects which can be of their interest.

Most importantly, it is a must to include links to your social media accounts, other pages in case you have them, even to industry forums, etc. And also, links that allow people to share your content.

5. Maximize your blog impacts

Huawei's Blog page

Your blog will also help you to improve your SEO. Yet, it is critical that you use relevant keywords in your blog posts. And also that you provide high quality content that answers your audience’s needs.

To ensure that the keywords you’ve chosen will help you, you will need to include them not only in your headlines, but you should also use them in your meta descriptions, subheadings, alt tags, etc. This way, you will be able to boost your SEO and also get more leads.

6. Track your SEO performance

How do you know if you’re making the most out of your SEO efforts? You will have to check your performance. In other words, you will need to discover which of your landing pages is doing great and vice versa.

Then, you will need to put into practice what works well in the pages that are not getting good results. Another way by which you can improve your SEO is by placing your most popular pieces of content at first sight. This will probably catch your viewer’s attention.

Not to mention the fact that your homepage is the first place where your visitors go. So, you need to make sure that you have optimized this page more than any other. Otherwise, you will lose loads of valuable leads.

Referral marketing

Another way of generating leads is to use language that invites people to share your content. When other people recommend you to their friends, you will have more chances to convert them into your clients.

As you may well know, people trust what other people say more than what brands say. Thus, it is a really good idea to use language that invites visitors to your site to share content with others.

This way, it won’t be you who is addressing them, but someone they know who recommends you.

Webinars

GoToStage website screenshot

Webinars are an excellent way to generate qualified leads. From time to time, it’s an awesome idea to make webinars. If people want to sign up for your webinar, they will have to provide you their contact details.

The kind of visitors who register for webinars are those who are really interested in what you have to say. And these qualified leads might as well convert into your customers.

Webinars

GoToStage website screenshot

Webinars are an excellent way to generate qualified leads. From time to time, it’s an awesome idea to make webinars. If people want to sign up for your webinar, they will have to provide you their contact details.

The kind of visitors who register for webinars are those who are really interested in what you have to say. And these qualified leads might as well convert into your customers.

Digital advertising

Webinars are an excellent way to generate qualified leads. From time to time, it’s an awesome idea to make webinars. If people want to sign up for your webinar, they will have to provide you their contact details.

The kind of visitors who register for webinars are those who are really interested in what you have to say. And these qualified leads might as well convert into your customers.

1. Paid search

Google Search Ads showing electric cars ad

These are the ads that appear on search engines where people search for information. Yet, instead of gaining a high position because of your own merits, you pay to appear at the top of search engines. They are usually quite effective to achieve qualified leads.

2. Native ads

Native ads are a less obvious form of advertising which aims at camouflaging within the environment.

So, you will be able to advertise your products without people realizing you’re doing so. They are a good way to generate leads too.

3. Social media ads

Chamonix Festival ad on Facebook

These are the ads that appear on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. They can differ from one platform to another; and they can include a variety of visual formats. For example, images, videos, etc.

If used properly, they will attract loads of viewers which will boost your leads.

4. Display ads

Wired Access popup ad

Display ads are the ones which appear in particular websites in a variety of formats to convince people to take action. They can be popups, videos, images, GIFTs, etc.

In general, they are fairly cost-effective as they can easily catch people’s attention.

5. Retargeting ads

These are like the previous in shape, though the reason to use them is completely different.

Marketers use this type of ads to try to convince visitors once they have left their sites, though they are still browsing online.

Social media marketing

Dove's Twitter profile

Social media is the perfect place to collect information about your audience and generate leads. Above all because most users spend much of their time socializing online. And also because they are happy to share a lot of personal information on their favorite social media platforms.

This happens to be a fantastic opportunity for marketers which aim at collecting data like name or email address. Social platforms provide a lot more than that. The information that you can collect from networking sites is of vital importance. It will tell you your target audience’s preferences, pains, location, age, gender, etc.

Besides, most social media platforms allow you to advertise your products/services by means of paid advertising. And this is also a way to get leads.

Due to the variety of networks available – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … you will have to manage more than one account. At least, it is advisable to have an account and to be an active user on those networks which members of your audience are active in.

Besides, social media platforms generate leads because of social mention. You won’t only be interacting with your audience and building your brand awareness, but your audience will be able to mention you or share your content.

Obviously, this is awesome for leads generation as it won’t be you advertising your brand and products, but your customers who will do it for you. Not surprisingly, this kind of advertising works as word of mouth. So, the results you will get from it will be huge in comparison to other types of advertising.

Moreover, you can also take advantage of cross-promotion. That’s to say promoting your content on all those networks where you have an account. But, be careful cross-promoting is not the same as cross-posting.

So, you shouldn’t post the same content without adapting it and at the same time on all your accounts. You might have several members of your audience following you on different networks. So, they won’t fancy seeing the same ad, pic, etc everywhere.

Besides, content which might appeal to your target audience in one of your accounts could be useless for your audience on other networking site.

If you decide to post something, for instance an ad, on more than one of your social media platforms, you will need to adapt it. In other words, the ideal image size on Facebook differs from the one of Instagram. Or, you shouldn’t say sentences like “retweet” which is typical of Twitter on Facebook, etc.

1. LinkedIn

Macy's LinkedIn Feed

LinkedIn is an outstanding platform to generate qualified leads. It is well-known and widely used all over the world and it’s preferred by most B2B marketers. Thus, it is a social network for professionals. So, what better place can you find to boost your leads?

Among its many benefits, it’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn will help you to increase your brand awareness and establish yourself as an expert. And meanwhile, you will get more leads.

If you are premium, you will have access to InMail which will help you to reach specific users. You can also use Slideshare which is now part of LinkedIn and increase your traffic.

2. Facebook

If your planning to gain some leads with Facebook, you will probably need to consider paid ads. Yet, Facebook’s paid ads are quite cost-effective as regards other networks.

Besides, Facebook allows you to create custom tabs which you can use to get contact forms. Thus, to generate leads.

3. Instagram

Walmart Instagram post

Instagram won’t help you to easily boost your leads as other networking sites. But, the information you can get will help you to improve your brand’s awareness which affects the number of your leads too.

You should focus on the comments you get, the videos you use and the hashtags you write as all these can help you to get leads.

4. Twitter

It’s fairly new as a lead generator. But, Twitter is gaining relevance in this respect. It’s quite easy by the way.

You can make use of Twitter cards and/or create events with Twitter chats. Both of them will help you to generate leads. Don’t forget to use CTAs!

PR events - speech

PR events are of utmost importance nowadays. Whether online or face-to-face most people fancy to interact with other people. That being the case, it would be beneficial for you to organize and/or take part in PR events.

There are certain events which might help you to boost your leads – webinars, workshops, public speeches, round-table discussions, etc.

Whether you decide to address an event to your customers, prospects or your target audience, you will need to use a direct marketing strategy.

That’s to say, you can directly talk to them and prove your business value (make use of visual content if possible).

PR events are golden opportunities to collect personal information. No matter if the event in question is in person or online, participants will have to provide you their personal details when they register. Such as their name and email address. Both crucial to build your contacts list.

As to how you can generate more leads thanks to PR events, you can offer exclusive deals for the event participants (bear in mind that it’s more effective to introduce your offers just in the middle and/or after each section – strike while the iron is hot!).

Below, I’m going to share some tips that will help you to increase your leads due to PR events:

1. Attract the right people

Obvious as it may seem, it is critical to plan your event in advance. This way you will give people enough time to find out information and register for the event.

Besides, you should think about what kind of people you want to attract to your event. And then, promote it in places familiar to them.

On top of that, it is really important to make it attractive, but you also have to consider that registration should be as easy as possible.

If you ask participants to give you so many details, they might give up. So, it is advisable to ask just for relevant and simple data.

2. Find out who they are and adapt your content to them

Once you have collected the registration forms and you know who the participants are, you need to get to know them.

Analyzing this data will help you to prepare a better presentation. This will help you to predict their preferences and focus on those who are more likely to convert.

Not to mention that being aware of what they like will help you to do your job better, generate trust and get more leads.

If you know who they are before the event, you will be able to interact better with them. And if you adapt your content to them, they will feel valued as well as respect you for that.

Thus, they won’t only enjoy the event, but you will also cause them a good impression which will help you to gain their loyalty in the long term.

3. Follow-up

SXSW Instagram Post

It’s a great idea to prepare some follow-up strategies for when the event finishes. The sooner you put them into practice, the better.

Not all your attendees will help you to boost your leads, but you will lose some if you do not have a follow-up strategy.

Marketers do this after events to keep the conversation going and retarget prospects again. It’s proved to be quite helpful in general. So, don’t miss this opportunity!

Now you know how to improve lead generation due to my proven PR strategies!

Keep on reading to find out how to make the most out of your Press Releases!

CHAPTER 4

Press Release Fundamentals

Press releases are key in any PR campaign. Though having things in common, press releases differ so much from advertising.

The main aim of a press release is to inform about a company’s news event. And, thanks to it, improve a brand’s reputation among the general public.

In this chapter, you’ll learn all about press releases – what they are, their importance & benefits, etc.

On top of that, I’ll share with you how to write a press release that works. And, I’ll focus on how a press release structure needs to be.

And finally, I’ll devote some lines to how can you do your best with your own press release distribution.

What is a press release?

A press release is a form of communication by which you tell your brand’s story to the general public. Yet, the most important characteristic of a press release is that it has to be informative and newsworthy.

Think that you shouldn’t be trying to promote one of your products. A press release is not the same as advertising. A press release aims at telling a story. But, not any brand’s story would be suitable. You should leave press releases for significant brand’s events like an anniversary or be human stories.

The story has to be interesting, up to date and worth reading. Otherwise, no one will publish your press release. Remember that you need to write your press release bearing the public in mind. And then, send it to journalists whose audience you think would be interested in reading it.

Moreover, a press release has to be written from an objective point of view. And it has to answer the WH-questions – what, when, where, who, why & how. If possible you should try to include this information at the beginning.

Not to mention the fact that you have to make sure your press release is error-free. So, it is a must to reread it and make sure you do not use too much jargon. Readers should understand the information you have included without having to look up words in a dictionary.

Press release and Advertising

A press release is different from an advertisement. Both of them have certain things in common such as the goal of increasing your brand’s awareness and getting more consumer’s engagement. Yet, there are a lot of aspects that differentiate one from the other.

A press release is considered to be an earned type of media with a short lifespan. That is to say, brands have to fight for convincing journalists their story is newsworthy and deserves their attention.

That’s quite difficult to achieve as journalists receive many pre-written press releases, but choose more or less one out of each a hundred they receive. Besides, it is key to make their job easier and make it interesting for their public as well as choose the right person to send it. Failing to do so will result in no one paying attention to it.

The lifespan of a press release is really short in comparison to an advertisement. That’s because press releases appear only once. Whatever the channel – radio, newspaper, magazine, etc; journalists don’t publish the same articles more than once.

But, you can share press releases on your social media networks, have a link on your website, etc.

On the contrary, if you want an advertisement to be effective, your target audience will have to see it several times. You will have to make it visible during a specific time, usually as long as the advertising campaign lasts.

The content that appears on a press release needs to be up to date, interesting and informative. But, the content marketers include in advertisements is persuasive. That’s to say, it’s the type of content that aims at convincing your target audience to take a final desired action. Usually, this action is to buy a product.

As regards the message, brands do not have control over the type of message which appears on a press release. But, journalists do have this control. What companies control is the journalists they choose to send their press releases to.

Advertisements are totally controlled by companies, at least by their marketing team. It is the company itself who chooses what information is going to appear in the advertisement. The only thing a brand has to consider is not to offend anyone with their message.

Moreover, a press release has a lot more credibility than an advertisement. That’s the main reason why it will help you to boost your brand’s awareness. Press releases are more trustworthy as it is not a brand who says a product is the best out there in the market, but the news media.

Note:

The ultimate aim of a press release is to tell a brand’s story from an objective point of view. But, in the case of an advertisement, the aim is to sell a product. In other words, advertisements aim at convincing a company’s target audience that they have the need to buy a specific product.

Below, there is a list of the main differences between a press release and an advertisement.

Features of a press release:

  • Earned media
  • Short lifespan (usually, it’s published only once)
  • Newsworthy content
  • Inbound marketing
  • Brands do not control the message itself
  • More credibility
  • Created for journalists whose audience you’re interested in and/or the general public
  • Aims at promoting a brand’s story

Features of an advertisement:

  • Paid media
  • Longer lifespan (published several times during a campaign)
  • Content’s aim is to persuade consumers to buy a product
  • Outbound marketing
  • Brands fully control the message
  • Less credibility
  • Created for your target audience
  • Aims at selling a product/service

Benefits of a press release

So, what are the benefits of a press release? The truth is that press releases can prove to be extremely advantageous for any business. No matter how big or small your brand is, a press release can still be crucial for you.

Likewise, whatever industry you work in, press releases will help you to improve your brand’s image. Nowadays, they are even more important than before. In this digital era we live in today, it’s fairly easy to have your brand criticized or fake news spread here and there.

So, the benefits of having a trusted media source talking positively about your brand are endless. Apart from helping you with your brand awareness, a press release can also help you to gain more brand visibility, distribute your content, reach your target audience, etc.

Below there is a detailed list of the most well-known press release benefits you need to know.

1. Immediate exposure

There are one thousand reasons why you should consider working on getting a press release published. But, the most important one is that it will no doubt help you to gain instant visibility.

These days there is so much exposure due to the new technologies. Yet, not all kinds of visibility are equally important. Were you given the chance to get a press release distributed by a journalist, it will give your business a complete boost.

Besides, it won’t be you saying your newest product is the best in the market, but a recognized journalist will talk in your favor. As you all know, this is way better to increase your brand’s trust and credibility.

2. Reach your target audience from a different angle

Mattel press release on Mashable

Due to the exposure you get in a press release, your audience will know you differently from what they see in your ads, Web page, social media profiles and more.

A press release is a fantastic word of mouth exposure. A journalist, not you, speaks in your favor from an objective point of view. And then he gives your audience some links so that they can search for more information if they like.

Only because, a reporter, not you, tells a story about your brand, it will increase your brand’s credibility. People rely more on what other people say. What better way than having a news media telling your story!

3. Perfect chance to brand yourself as an industry expert

If done properly, a press release gives you the chance to brand yourself as an industry expert. That’s the main reason why you need to plan your press releases wisely. If your public gets used to seeing you mentioned as an expert, they will no doubt think you are. The same is true for your industry. If members of your industry notice due to several press releases that you know a lot about a field, they will respect you for that.

So, the power of press releases should not be underestimated. It is really important that you devote some of your time and effort to get the most out of them.

4. Increase your brand’s awareness and recognition

The most well-known benefit of a press release is that it helps brands to boost their brand awareness. And, it also helps them to gain recognition in their field of expertise both within their audience and industry.

So, it can give you the chance to improve your brand’s image. Earning yourself a positive brand image can take a long time. Yet, press releases can help you with this issue. It won’t be you telling a nice story about your brand, but a reliable source from a news media point of view.

5. Get traffic to your website

Not surprisingly, a good press release can help you quite a lot with your site’s traffic. You cannot add 1,000,000 links to your site, blog, landing pages, ads, etc.

Still, if the links are relevant, you can add a couple of them. Though, better than this, what will help you with your traffic is wisely include keywords and good headlines in your press release. This can undoubtedly gain some traffic for you as your site will appear in more searches.

Another feature which you can use to drive traffic to your site is to include videos and images, not only text content. A combination of visuals and text is what the general public prefers today.

If done properly, when people read the press release, many will be interested in your story and some will go to your official Web page. It’s only then, when they might convert from prospects to clients.

6. Boost your SEO efforts

A good press release copy will help you to be more visible on online searches. That’s because if you get your press release published by more than one media outlet, it will give you the chance to have backlinks to your site.

Besides, and only if you use the right keywords, you will appear in people’s searches. So, it will help you to increase your SEO efforts. You can even make articles searchable by using the correct keywords.

So, it is strongly advisable to pay a lot of attention to the type of content you include in a press release. That’s to say, content is king to increase your SEO due to a press release.

7. Spread your content through different channels

H & M Foundation on Facebook

Most press releases are suitable to appear in more than one channel – magazine, newspaper, radio, online, social media, TV, etc.

That’s another reason why they’re so powerful. You can A/B test which channel is better for you. I mean, if you get a press release spread on the radio, but it gets unnoticed by the audience you wanted to reach, next time you should try to distribute it through a different channel.

Indeed, you can make use of more than one channel to spread the word. Nowadays, the importance of social media networks cannot be ignored.

So, if you have a newspaper distributing your press release, you can then share it on your social media networks. And, once there, make it shareable for your audience. This way, it will go viral.

8. Strong relationship with journalists

One of the best features of a press release is that if done properly, it will always be a win-win situation for everybody.

That’s to say, brands benefit from brand awareness and recognition. Journalists take advantage of getting an interesting story effortlessly. And the general public obtains relevant and up to date information about a specific field.

So, not only businesses profit from a press release, but journalists also gain the chance to write a news story with the help of experts. Thus, as a marketer, it is advisable to try to establish fruitful relationships with well-known journalists who write about your industry.

Not any journalist will work, you need to contact with those who write about your field. As time goes by, you can partner with them more than once. And, this will save you a lot of time. So, it is advisable you create strong ties with industry journalists.

9. Cost-effective

In comparison to other methods, press releases are no doubt cost-effective. They won’t only help you to be in the public eye, but they will also help you to attract visitors to your site, call the attention of investors, give you credibility as an industry expert, etc.

A press release is more affordable than an advertisement. Still, you will need to be careful. Try not to embark yourself on unnecessary reports sometimes delivered by PR agencies. Get the help you need through the process and do not spend your budget on unnecessary services.

Some marketers try to get their press releases published without the help of any PR agencies. Yet, this can also end up being more expensive if in the end you need to reach them.

So, the best advice I can give you here is to plan your strategy carefully. And, get help if you need it. Though, do not wait till it is too late as this can add extra expenses.

How to write a press release that works

The very first thing you need to do when planning to write a press release is to think of a good brand’s story which is worth sharing with the general public.

Next, you will need to plan how you want to tell your story and answer the WH-questions – what, when, where, who, why and how. And then, you will have to make use of the inverted pyramid template structure to start writing your press release.

Basically, this means that you need to place the most important information at the beginning. Remember that you’re trying to convince journalists to read it first. And later, to distribute your message and reach the general public.

So, you will need to start with an informative and catchy headline. Besides, it is necessary that you summarize your story in the first paragraph. It is only afterwards when you can put the story into context and give more details.

It is advisable to add at least one quote which gives somehow credibility. And, at the end, it is where you can include links to your site, background information, etc.

Let’s have a look at it more in detail!

Press Release structure

Press release structure table

1. Company logo

The first thing you need to put on your press release is your company logo. It is generally placed at the center and on the top of the first page.

Besides, you need to make sure you choose well-known fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman. Do not forget to set margins too. These aspects will prevent readability issues.

2. Newsworthy headline

A press release headline needs to be haunting. If you don’t catch a journalist’s attention here, he would never read your press release. The same is true for your audience. It is necessary to convince the public to read your story from the very beginning.

Bear in mind that your headline also needs to be short and easy to understand. Writing a good headline is critical. If done properly, you will gain your audience’s attention. On the contrary, they won’t bother reading your press release.

3. Subheader

As well as a headline, it is key to include a subheader. This always goes just below the headline. The aim of a subheader is to develop the story a little bit more.

It’s another way to catch your audience’s attention. Thus, you have a second chance to convince readers to jump right into your story.

4. A summary of the story in the opening paragraph

Here is where you have to give essential information and answer the WH-questions. The first paragraph of a press release is really important. The aim of this paragraph is to summarize the story.

You need to be careful as the aim is to give the reader a general idea of what your press release is all about. It is later, in the body, where you’re allowed to tell your story more in detail.

Yet, summarizing a story and trying to convince someone to read it at the same time could be such an ordeal. Definitely, it is not at all easy.

Remember that you shouldn’t try to sell your products, but stick to the facts. A press release is not an advertisement where you try to persuade someone to buy your products.

A press release is an objective piece of writing in which you talk about facts. Still, you will always have to convince the reader to keep on reading. So, do not forget to make it interesting!

5. Body

That’s the part of the press release where you can give as many details as necessary. It is when you can put the story into context. And also, here is where you can explain things more deeply. It is advisable to include images, relevant links and/or social media content.

Whether you should include one or the other will depend on the content of your press release. But, if you decide to take advantage of this opportunity, remember that it has to be relevant and fit within the text.

6. Images

Adding an image is a must. It gives you the chance to say with a picture what you are going to explain with words.

Not to mention the fact that words are easy to forget, but images – good ones – will provoke a lasting impression.

Some people say that an image is worth a thousand words. So, you shouldn’t waste the chance to include a captivating picture.

Apart from an image, you can also include a video and its corresponding link. Beware you use the right format.

Each media channel – newspaper, magazine, etc. may have a preferred format. Make sure you use the one they are used to if not they might not pay attention to it.

7. Links

You can include links at the end of the press release to provide journalists some background information about your brand. For instance, you should include a link to your official website, blog, social media networks, etc.

Yet, if you happen to include a video or a quote, you are allowed to include relevant links in the body of your press release.

8. Contact information, location and date

Next to your logo, and on the right, you should include your contact details. This way, journalists will find it easy to reach you if they happen to be interested in what you have to say.

As regards, location and date, they need to be on the first line of the body paragraph. Do not forget to make them gold and separate them with a dash from the rest of the paragraph.

9. Quotes

Quotes are an essential part of a press release. They will give you credibility. You should include them in the body. They can point out a different perspective and at the same time support your argument. They need to be real not written by your PR department.

10. Final paragraph

The last paragraph of your press release is where you can include some background information. Most marketers usually talk about the time they have been in the business, the awards they have won and any other interesting aspects you can mention about your company.

Quick tip:

Remember that you won’t be writing the exact words that will appear in the paper, magazine, etc. you won’t be writing for the general public, but for journalists.

So, you have to tell the story from your client’s point of view. And then, journalists will make it more objective and they’ll write for the general public.

Press release distribution

Scision Newswire screenshot

Press release distribution means sending your press release to several journalists and/or members of the press. The final aim of this process is to get your press release published by a magazine, newspaper, blog, radio, TV, podcasts, etc.

Yet, reaching these journalists and/or members of the press might prove to be quite complicated, at least at the beginning. Later on, when you have already worked with them on several occasions, it won’t be that difficult.

Thus, many marketers find it useful to make use of press release distribution services. It is somehow a way of getting rid of the time-consuming process of contacting and convincing a journalist.

Though, this help is not for free, it will help you to have quicker results and concentrate on what you know how to do well. Meanwhile, someone will manage the distribution of your press release.

These services can spread the word and distribute your story to relevant journalists. Among its many benefits, it is relevant to mention their knowledge and experience. Not to mention the fact that they might allow you to access to their contacts.

It’s faster than trying to distribute your press release on your own. It has higher chances of success. Still, remember that not all press releases see the light of day. If that is your case, you shouldn’t get disappointed, but keep on trying.

Quick tip:

Don’t forget to thank journalists anyway! Your press releases won’t always be chosen. But, having a good relationship with journalists will help you to increase your chances of success.

The following are some of the press release distribution services that work in 2020:

Important Note:

Don’t forget to distribute locally! Whatever the message you want to convey with your press release, it is a must to distribute it locally. There is no doubt that a press release can drive local traffic to your website as well as real visitors to your store.

So, you shouldn’t miss the chance to promote your press releases locally. What’s more, many people will know you as a businessman. So, hopefully they would be more than happy to help you with word of mouth distribution. They can even help you to share it on social media networks. Thus, you shouldn’t forget about those who live nearby.

How to distribute your press release

1. Check your media outlet and create a contacts list

First of all, you will need to collect some media outlet information. You will need it to create your own journalists’ contacts list.

It is useless, and generally speaking, a complete waste of time sending your press release to as many journalists as you can. Apart from being annoying, it can cost you a bad reputation. Thus, it will make things worse for future partnerships.

What you should do is to research industry journalists and create a contacts list. It might not be as easy as it seems. Sometimes, journalists are happy to share their contact details.

So, you would find many of them just on a simple google search. Others could appear on LinkedIn or Twitter. And to reach the rest you might need to contact their publication and ask for their contact details.

2. Identify the right publication for your business

It is extremely important to find out which would be the right publication for your press release. Depending on your type of business and your industry, some publications would be better than others.

I mean, your target audience would be more familiar with some types of publication – radio, TV, newspapers, blogs, podcasts, etc.

Obviously, you should go for those publications they are interested in. It is true you will write your press release for journalists. But, these journalists will write it for their public. So, you need to choose journalist whose public you want to impress.

3. Understand submission guidelines

Los Angeles Times press release submission guidelines

One of the most important aspects you need to consider if you want journalists to distribute your press release is to stick to their guidelines. These do not necessarily have to be the same for each publication.

So, it is crucial to find out which guidelines you need to follow in advance. And then, write your press release according to them. Later on, find journalist who might be interested. And finally, it would be ready to send.

4. Write pitches

These days, journalists are really busy. So, they do not have time to read every email they receive. That’s why you need to convince them writing haunting as well as informative pitches.

Besides, these have to be original and newsworthy. So, writing pitches is not at all easy. Yet, it is key to convince journalists to decide writing about your brand’s story.

5. Insert multi-media, including outbound links in your press release

It is of vital importance to insert some multimedia features in your press release, just text can be boring. Journalists would be your readers. And readers find it more pleasant to read content that combines text with images, videos, etc.

On top of that, images are easier to remember. So, don’t miss the chance to include some multimedia features. You can also make use of outbound links in your press release. For instance to your site and/or social networks.

6. Make sure to proofread for error-free

Journalists won’t take your press release seriously if they find errors within it. So, it is critical to proofread and make sure your piece of writing is error-free.

What’s more, a press release with mistakes would give the impression you do not care so much, you’re disorganized, not trustworthy, etc.

7. Optimize the timing of your press release

Not any time of the day is optimal to send a press release. The same is true for the days of the week. Journalists receive so many emails everyday. Yet, there are some times and days which are better than others.

Chances of success will increase if you send them your press release in the morning. But, not first thing in the morning. They will have loads of emails waiting for them when they get to the office. Maybe, in the middle of the morning it would be better.

As regards the day of the week. Definitely, not during the weekend. And probably, it is not good to send it at the beginning or at the end of the week.

So, the best would be somehow in the middle of the week, in the morning, and not very early.

8. Send your press release to publications

It’s high time you sent your press release to publications. Remember to be humble. No one likes arrogant people. Send thank you emails whether your press release is chosen or not. It’s a matter of time to establish a good relationship with journalists and get some of your press releases published. So, try to be patient.

9. Follow up

You have to be very careful here. There are those who think it is not necessary to follow up. Yet, others believe it could be fruitful.

Follow up doesn’t mean sending the same press release to the same journalists until you get it published.

Follow up means keeping in touch with journalist without annoying them. It is advisable if you’re sure your press release is newsworthy and deserves to get media coverage.

And that’s all for press release fundamentals. Now, you’re familiar with the most important features as regards a press release, its structure and distribution.

In the next chapter, I’ll talk about how to build PR relationships. So, if you want to make the most out of your PR strategy and strengthen your relationships as well as establish new ones, keep on reading!

CHAPTER 5

How to Build PR Relationships

These days building PR relationships are pivotal. Quite often knowing the right people will make a great difference. Whatever it is what you do, it is also necessary to know people who can help you to spread your message.

Thus, in this chapter, I’ll cover the basics of PR relationship buildings. And then, I will stress the relevance of media relations and corporate communication.

I will not only explain to you what they are, but I will also talk about their benefits for your PR strategy as well as give some major tips.

PR relationship building

Building PR relationships is crucial. Sometimes these relationships can lead to other business partnerships, strengthen client relationships, encourage influencer’s interest, etc.

Yet, the quality of these relations matters. Say that you know a lot of people and you have a good relationship with them. Yet, if these people are not relevant for your business, those relationships won’t be of a big importance.

But, if you build relationships with people who are key for the success of your business, it would be awesome.

I mean, it is better to build a relationship with some decision makers that are the ones who will agree whether to do business with you than knowing 1,000,000 people who have nothing to do with your business.

Both of these relationships matter, I do not pretend to tell you reaching a large audience is not important. But, as regards PR, quality relationships outweighs quantity ones.

Moreover, if you want to promote long-lasting relationships, you will need to know and segment your audience. This will help you to reach them easily and engage with them on those channels which they prefer.

Another aspect you need to take into account is the need to provide something valuable. Otherwise, the relationship would go nowhere. But, if you give people something valuable, they would be happy to relate with you.

To reach your audience, it is advisable to use several channels. In other words, to boost relationships or start engaging with new people, you can use social media networks.

Still, there are other channels you can use to reach journalists, customers, investors, etc. For example emails are a fantastic way to build relationships or improve existing ones.

Quick tip:

Remember to personalize your emails. Most people don’t like receiving automated emails. If you personalize your messages, chances of reaching your email’s recipient and build a relationship are higher.

Nowadays being active on social networks is critical. On top of that, if you use these platforms to share some of your pieces of content with your audience, you will foster your relationship with them.

But, the content you share has to be educational and worth sharing. And finally, it is a must to be consistent with your relationships. If you just keep in touch once in a while, many people won’t even remember who you are.

Though, if you make yourself visible on a regular basis, it would gain you a good reputation. And with time, loyalty and trust.

Examples of PR relationship building

  • Media relations
  • Customer relations
  • Client relations
  • Employee relations
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Investor relations
  • Government relations
  • Financial relations
  • Community relations
  • Influencer relations
  • etc.

Media Relations

Media relations is the process by which PR agents or brands relate with journalists, editors, bloggers, etc. This relationship is supposed to be a win-win scenario.

Brands will have their message spread by the mass media. Thus, they will gain a lot of credibility among many other things.

Likewise, journalists will get newsworthy stories effortlessly. And then, they would be able to write articles thanks to the help of business experts.

How does it work?

As in any other type of relationship, there are several aspects you should bear in mind to reach a fruitful partnership.

To begin with, it is a must to do some research and check which journalists would be ideal for you. Above all, you should never send your pitches to any journalist, or worse to as many as you can.

Instead of increasing your chances of getting your press release published, you will have a bad reputation. Many journalists will remember you because of that and won’t open your emails again.

Indeed, what you should do is look for ideal partners. Those would be journalists who usually write about the topic your brand’s story is about. There are more chances they are curious about what you have to say.

Note:

Avoid using messages like “urgent” in your email subject lines. Establishing a relationship with journalists takes time. But, giving them a sense of urgency won’t help you to get your press release published quickly.

Instead, you should use a catchy subject line which will call their attention. This is probably the most important content of your pitch as it is key to convince them to open your email.


At the beginning it would be hard. Yet, with practice, you will be able to do it better. It is necessary to be patient and never lose your manners. It is advisable to thank journalist even if they do not choose your pitch.

It’s somehow a way to keep the conversation going as well as being polite. Thus, it will improve your relationship with them.

If you want to convince journalists to spread your message and tell your story, you will need to be persuasive. This is a skill you will learn as time goes by. Above all, do not be offensive.

To convince them to choose your story, you will have to show them why your story idea would be beneficial for them. And most importantly, for their audience. The more pitches you write, the better you will get at using this persuasive language and convincing journalists.

Benefits of media relations

There are many reasons why you should try to foster your relationship with the media. It won’t only help you to increase your brand’s awareness, but you will also gain credibility.

Even though this relation would be positive for both of you, you shouldn’t forget journalists are helping you to tell your brand’s story.

Anyway, the benefits of having a good relationship with the media are endless. Yet, below there is a list of the most well-known ones.

  • Gain credibility
  • A different way to reach your target audience
  • Build profitable relationships
  • Tell your story
  • Lead generation
  • Increase your brand awareness

How to improve your media relations

Having a good relationship with the media is key so as to boost your PR strategy. Yet, the way you relate with them would make a difference and could get your story published.

Not any journalist has the same preferences, so you should do some research and approach them where they feel more comfortable.

Take into account that journalists receive many stories every day. So, if you want to impress them, you will have to present them a good story.

Not to mention the fact that as journalists they have to deal with a lot of people every day. So, it is advisable to be polite, resourceful and friendly to cultivate a better relationship with them.

1. Come up with newsworthy stories

It is necessary that the stories you send to journalists are relevant for their audience. You shouldn’t send them stories unless you think they are meaningful enough. Think that your time and their time matters. This way, you would avoid annoying them as well as wasting your time.

2. Be yourself

It is a must to be ethical. Do not pretend to be who you are not or tell a brand’s story which is half true. Journalists might catch you red handed and this would end your relationship with them.

On top of that, providing any kind of misleading information can result in making them feel angry about your brand. So, instead of positive, you can get negative media coverage.

3. Create a PR-friendly website

This is fairly easy to do. The most important thing you have to consider to make your site PR-friendly is to provide contact details properly.

That’s why I say it’s not at all complicated. Indeed, you can create a contact us landing page on your site. And there, it is advisable to include not only your contact details, but also those of relevant employees.

There are times when journalists might find it useful to get through some of your personnel. For example, to find out more information about specific details.

Besides, you would also make journalists lives easier if you provide meaningful content, images, videos on your Web page which could be used to explain your brand’s story.

4. Treat journalists with respect

It is common sense that you should treat journalists with respect. Not only those who you are interested in because they write articles about your industry, but any journalist.

These days people change jobs more often than before, and those who are not so much influential today can be crucial in the future.

The same is true for those journalists who are just starting. Maybe, they are not the tip of the iceberg today, but who knows how far they can reach in the future.

Above all, treating people with respect, returning phone calls, solving their doubts, etc. just forms part of having good manners.

5. Engage with them on social media networks

It is advisable to engage with journalists on social media networks like Twitter. They are usually very active on this kind of platforms.

Thus, to break the ice you can start engaging with them on a friendly and informal way. For instance, you can share their stories or even their opinions.

This will help you either to start engaging with them or to strengthen your relationship. So, it’s worth the effort.

6. Follow deadlines

Respecting journalist’s deadlines is fundamental. Most of the times they work under very strict deadlines. So, if they call you for more details, an interview or any other reason you need to give them a prompt answer.

That’s to say, it’s necessary to make yourself available in case a journalist needs to contact you. And then, if that happens, you will need to be as resourceful as possible and respect their deadlines.

Otherwise, your story would stop being newsworthy or interesting for them. So, they would go on with something else.

Note:
Deadlines are usually a matter of days. So, you will need to pay attention and reply to calls and emails promptly.

7. Take into account the publication’s audience

If you want to make sure your story would have more chances of being published, you will have to do some research.

It’s mandatory that you know what type of topics is a publication’s audience interested in. Besides, it is key to know the topics that a journalist normally covers.

All things considered will help you to know whether a publication and one of their journalists are good candidates to tell your story.

Corporate communication

Corporate communication is an ambiguous topic which combines many fields. Both external and internal communication form part of corporate communication.

The former refers to any kind of communication which a company can have with people outside the company. That is to say, media relations, customer relations and relations with other companies. While internal relations refers to a brand’s communication with its employees.

Yet, corporate communication aims at spreading the same message among all the channels. So, changing any aspect of corporate communication will take time.

I mean, the ultimate purpose of any kind of corporate communication is to uniform your brand’s image. Not surprisingly, many parts play a significant role here. Though the efficiency of corporate communication would depend on the combination of all of them.

Benefits of corporate communication

  • Enhance your working atmosphere
  • Foster your media relations
  • Unify your brand’s identity
  • Improve your brand’s reputation
  • Strengthen your relations with other businesses
  • Better customer engagement
  • Control of external and internal communication

Types of corporate communication

Corporate communication is divided into two main categories: external and internal. External communication includes media, customers and business partners. And internal communication is the one with your employees.

Media

Media relations are extremely important nowadays. Without them you wouldn’t be able to benefit from press releases or press conferences. Thanks to publications, you can share your corporate image with the general public.

Although you can not control the exact words the media says about your brand, you can give them positive brand stories. It is by some means a way of controlling the type of content that is being said about your brand. Definitely, it is undoubtedly positive to improve your brand’s image and reputation.

Customers

Given the fact that the way you communicate with your customers will determine whether they l buy your products or not, corporate communication is king here. Yet, the communication you might has with your customers doesn’t only depend on corporate relations.

Your marketing strategy also plays a significant role here. So, any kind of communication with your customers matters. These can include ads, newsletters, brochures, catalogs, emails, etc.

Yet, the marketing department is not the only one which communicates with your customers. Billing and support departments also deal with them. But, the message any of these three departments transmits has to be the same.

That’s why a good communication among your employees as well as a friendly working atmosphere can be critical. If not, customers don’t necessarily have to receive the same treatment or have a good impression of your brand.

Business partners

The communication you maintain with investors, shareholders and other brands needs to be treated wisely. Any sort of communication – emails, reports, letters, conversations, etc. matters.

Here it is really important to manage any type of communication professionally. Many times the way you communicate with business partners will be crucial for a successful outcome.

Employees

Internal communication with your employees is also important. Think that if your employees know what to do, how to do it and are treated with respect will work better. Thus, any communication you might need to have with them also deserves a thought.

There are lots of communication you can have with your employees. For example: staff meetings, emails, letters, etc.

Besides, today most companies ask their workers to work in teams. So, if you want them to get the most out of it, and benefit from the knowledge of the others, they will need to have a friendly working atmosphere.

And to have a nice working environment, it is necessary to have a good internal communication. On top of that, it will promote positive word of mouth advertising as your company members would talk nicely about your brand.

How to improve your corporate communication

Corporate communication is indispensable for any PR strategy. Therefore, it is necessary to devote some of your time and effort to improve them.

Still, any change you make on your corporate communication strategy won’t be noticed in a while. So, it’s key to manage your corporate communication well from the beginning.

Below you will find the latest tips you can use to foster your corporate communication, both externally and internally.

1. Build a company culture

These days it is quite common to take part in company events. This kind of events are positive as they promote relations among employees. Besides, it is positive if you celebrate your achievements with your workers as if you were a big family.

Many big companies encourage team building activities because they foster a good working atmosphere as well as a good relationship among their employees.

2. Research your industry

Knowing your industry is just common sense. You should be up-to-date and familiar with the latest news. How are you going to manage corporate communication with shareholders if you are not well-informed about your industry?

This is just an example of the advantages that being aware of what’s going on around you has. Yet, it can also be beneficial for you to develop your brand’s identity among other industry members. Not to mention the fact that it would make a difference as regards your media relations.

On top of that, it can be positive to think of new product ideas, press releases, industry events, etc.

3. Come up with your own corporate communication strategy

To improve your company’s corporate communication you will need to develop your own communication strategy.

Probably there would be many things in common with the communication strategies of other companies. Though, it does not necessarily have to be the same.

You should create your own strategy based on past activity, if there has been any, and implement those ideas you think could work. You can make as many changes as you need as time goes by.

4. Use mobile apps for internal communication

This tip is closely related to the previous one. One of the trendiest ways to engage with your employees today is through mobile apps, push notifications and social media.

There are those who even use emojis as they are a way to communicate with all your employees worldwide.

5. Allow workers flexibility and control the communication

Currently, many employees value flexibility in their jobs. What’s more, the amount of people who work outside the office is on the rise.

Yet, this is a challenge for your corporate communication strategy. No matter where they are, you should still be able to reach them and make them feel part of the company.

6. Develop peer-to-peer communication

Communication among your employees is imperative. Not everyone is going to get on well and befriend everybody.

But, as long as they are at work, and to improve team work, it is necessary that your employees know how to relate with each other.

Apart from improving the working atmosphere, peer-to-peer communication might save you a lot of work as it won’t be necessary for you to repeat information.

On top of that, we all have something to share with others. There are fields an employee might be more savvy than on others. So, it would be good for sharing knowledge.

7. Don’t ignore online media outlets

Mass media outlets are a combination of old and new ones. Thus, ignoring either ones or the others could be negative for your brand.

Whether you use old or new channels to handle corporate communication is up to you. But, you should choose the ones your audience (employees, customers, media, other businesses) prefer.

Nowadays, most people fancy to receive certain messages online. That’s why you can’t forget any type of channel to spread your messages.

8. Think of a plan to follow in case of a crisis

In any company issues might happen which could put your enterprise at risk. So, it is utterly important to have a crisis plan. Corporate communication is not fully in charge of this. But, as corporate communication is in charge of both your internal and external communication, it would be wise to have a strategy.

Obviously, depending on the issue, the message and way of making it public can vary. Though, what you need to bear in mind is that knowing how to handle “problematic” or risky information can save you from embarking yourself in worse problems.

And that’s all for PR relationships, now you are familiar with not only media relations and corporate communication, but also with any kind of relationship you might have as a brand.

If you want to know more as regards PR, in the next chapter I’ll explain to you how to handle a crisis and your brand’s reputation.

CHAPTER 6

Online Reputation & Crisis Management

Had it not been for the fact that today word gets around quickly, it wouldn’t be so important to handle what’s being said about your brand.

But, as rumors spread fast, it’s necessary to pay attention to your reputation.

In this chapter I’ll cover not only reputation, but also crisis management. I will explain to you what they are and focus on best practices.

Online reputation management

Online reputation management (ORM) regulates your brand’s image online. Mainly, it combines SEO and PR efforts to improve how people perceive you and your brand online.

What reputation management does is to generate positive online content. And it makes it appear on the first page of your SEO results. This way, people would see helpful and effective content about your brand.

Most people only check the first search engine results page when searching for data online. Thus, having positive content and a powerful website is king.

But, that’s not all rep management does, it also handles your social media accounts, reviews, articles, link building, etc.

Why does online reputation management matter?

These days managing your online reputation is crucial for a great number of reasons. Besides, your online reputation is what defines you online. It talks about you. It helps those who don’t know you in person to create an idea of who you are.

So, controlling the type of content you upload online is critical. This content is what will affect what others say and what they think about you. You cannot manage what they say, that’s true. But, you can handle the information that appears. And, that’s what will influence what people say.

As you may well know, first impressions are critical whether face to face or online. Say, customers who find negative reviews or articles about your company won’t buy your products.

The same is true for B2B companies, if you’re planning to do business with another brand and you notice they’ve got a negative image online, you won’t do business with them.

Benefits of ORM

  • Establish a positive and accurate brand’s presence online
  • Remove (hide) ambiguous information from search engine results
  • Help you to deal with negative and/or fake reviews
  • Discover reputation criticism 
  • Make sure your online reputation mirrors your brand image
  • Advice you to build trust and your brand’s credibility online
  • Online reputation repair
  • Give you a hand with your social networks management

Online reputation repair

Only if you take it seriously, can your online reputation be managed and improved. Miracles do not exist, there’s a lot of information going around online. And, it’s difficult to get rid of reputation attacks.

Still, if you do it properly, you can promote a positive brand’s image online. There are so many things to put into practice to achieve that – reviews, mentions, social networks profiles, etc.- and it would take time.

Think that changing how others see you is not at all a piece of cake, it’s a process. Besides, this process would imply changing the content that appears online.

But, people are the ones who would have to improve their perception about you. And this takes even more time. Perseverance and patience are a must here.

First impressions matter for online reputation

Target's LinkedIn Career page screenshot

It is advisable to check your online profiles/accounts. You should center on aspects such as if they seem professional.

Looking professional is fundamental. You have to be extremely careful with your profile pictures for instance. If possible, you should use your brand’s logo. What’s more, it’s advisable to use the same image on all your social media profiles. Thus, your brand’s logo is perfect.

On top of that, you will have to be very careful with the type of content you upload. Quality outweighs quantity here. I do not pretend to tell you engaging on a regular basis and posting content is not important.

But, the quality of the content you post matters. For example, if you share an article with your audience, this article has to be up-to-date, newsworthy, educational, etc.

An article that doesn’t have anything to do with your industry field wouldn’t have a lot of engagement.

Finally, the way you engage with your audience matters too. It’s critical to be professional, polite, resourceful and give prompt answers.

The importance of taking control of your online reviews and mentions

Currently, it’s fairly easy to get feedback thanks to online reviews and mentions. Most people do search online and read some reviews before going to a place or buying a product.

Thus, this information is not only useful for marketers so as to know what their audience thinks and improve their products. Besides, reviews and mentions are highly useful for the average person.

Yet, you should take control and manage what’s being said about your brand. These online mentions and reviews have the power to either attract or put off potential customers.

Inventing fake reviews is not the answer either. What you should do is to improve your online presence. This way, more people would write positive reviews about your brand.

Likewise, you can encourage happy customers to mention your brand online. For instance they can tag you on a picture using one of your products.

Having your real customers talking about your brand is one of the best PR strategies available. So, don’t be shy and ask them to mention you or write an online review!

Then, it’s up to you whether you want to accept their mention and make it visible for all your audience or reject it. The same happens with comments, you can either show or hide them on most platforms. That’s exactly what I mean when I say manage and control.

Online reputation management tips to make yours clean

1. Monitor everywhere and get alerts for online mentions

Google Alert page screenshot

Being aware of what others have to say about you is essential to build a good brand image. If you do not track people’s comments and opinions, how would you be able to improve your PR strategy?

Paying attention to what’s going around you is mandatory. Yet, this can be quite a tedious and time-consuming task. So, it’s a fantastic idea to use tools like Google Alerts. This way, you would be well-informed and you would be able to react quickly if necessary.

2. Manage web contents on the first page on SERP

It is imperative that you manage the type of content that appears on search engines. Most people use them to look for information about your brand. And then, they decide whether or not to do business with you. So, the content they see on the first page on SERP is critical.

Thus, you should check if there is false information as well as many competitors with lower prices for instance that could drive clients away from you.

Yet, everything can be solved if you do your best to improve your marketing efforts. That’s to say, you need to enhance your social media sites, local directories, partner websites, etc.

Not to mention that your PR strategy is really important too. If you need to foster your reputation, it is a must to have good media relations and provide them pitches. This way, you could build up a positive brand’s image due to press releases.

3. Boost your expertise in your industry

Becoming an industry expert is not at all easy. At least it would require a lot of your time and energy. And, in this world we live in today, everyone is out of time.

Yet, using some of your valuable time to be up-to-date and maybe investigate or be a pioneer in your industry would give you loads of long-term benefits.

Other industry members would no doubt respect you for that. Not to mention the fact that it would reinforce a positive image in front of your audience. You would also gain some kind of authority that would support your brand’s image and reputation online.

4. Know how to deal with reviews and prepare backup plans

There is no doubt that responding quickly to reviews is fundamental, especially for those which are negative. But, as important as giving prompt answers, it is to reply appropriately.

That’s to say, under no circumstances can you lose manners, you should always reply to all comments, reviews, etc. politely.

On top of that, it’s advisable to have a backup plan that could help you to get rid of an issue from time to time.

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to answer to them and try to provide some explanation as well as help. This way, others would know that you care for them and that their opinions matter.

5. Encourage positive reviews, comments and brand mentions

Evinex Digital Marketing Agency Reviews from Customers

A very well-known way to improve your PR is to reach out happy customers and clients and ask them to write reviews about your brand. Still, not only positive reviews are relevant to boost your reputation.

Testimonials, mentions, positive comments, tag you in good pics, help you to increase ratings, etc. would also make a difference.

Each and every one of these aspects could be beneficial for your PR strategy. At least, it would give you loads of positive examples of online presence. So, it would help you to strengthen your reputation management.

6. Consider negative reviews are a gold mine of information

Every now and then, negative reviews make you want to delete them or block the person who had written them. And sometimes that’s the only and the best way to approach.

Still, negative reviews and comments are a gold mine for marketers. The truth is this kind of feedback can help you to discover your blind spots!

So, instead of taking the easy solution and eliminate the problem, it’s worth trying to give an explanation and try to solve your customers/clients problems with your products.

On top of that, instead of damaging your reputation, there are negative reviews and comments that if dealt with properly could have the opposite effect. I mean, you would prove them that you care. So, this can speak on your behalf too.

7. Involve PR in your customer services

Asos Reply Instagram Screenshot

Bad customer services have a negative PR effect. As you know, PR and customer services should go hand in hand. It is extremely important to know how to reply to unhappy customers and help them with any issues that might have happened.

Not only knowing how to reply to them when they call, but also follow-up and check if the issue has been solved or if they have received any type of compensation, refund, special treatment, etc.

People talk with others and complain about their problems. That’s terrible publicity for your brand if you are involved in the gossiping. So, it is a must to know how to combine these two strategies. It would support your online reputation.

8. Double-check your content before publishing

Needless to say, checking if your content is error-free is crucial. It would give a bad impression if you posted content with typos. But, worse than that is when you publish content that can be misleading.

People don’t like to be deceived. So, it’s of utmost importance that you provide trustworthy information based on accurate sources.

Try to avoid any kind of controversial topics too. You never know if you could be offending someone due to politics, religion, gender, etc. So, it’s common sense you should try to avoid being involved in any of that.

9. Get help from reputation management experts

Depending on how serious your reputation problems are, sometimes it’s better to consider asking for help to reputation management experts.

It’s not for free, but bad reputation will cost you a lot more money than what these experts could charge you.

So, if you cannot get rid of your online reputation problems, do not doubt it any more and give them a call before it’s too late to fix your issues!

Crisis management

Crisis management are all those actions you need to put into practice after a fatal event happens.

Such a disastrous crisis would no doubt affect your reputation as well as have a negative impact on your balance sheet. Besides, it would affect any kind of business operations that you could be in the middle of.

To avoid further reputation damage, you will need to have a crisis backup plan to handle the matter promptly. If you want this plan to succeed, you will need to combine social media, PR and marketing strategies.

H&M Twitter Backlash Hollywood Reporter screenshot

Moreover, search engine reputation management is king these days. Whatever the chaotic issue that might have occurred, you will need to cope with the ordeal of trying to reduce its impact.

Prevention is by far the best strategy as it would lessen the reputation consequences. Being prepared will help you to make better decisions in case of a crisis and diminish your recovery time.

Potential PR crises

There are lots of potential PR crises. Yet, how you manage them is what would influence how people remember what happened. Mistakes take place, disasters occur, but it would make a great difference how you approach them if you do have a backup plan.

Not all crises are the same. Some are unavoidable and not under your control such as a natural disaster. There’s nothing you can do in the event something like that takes place. The only reasonable thing you can do is to help those who had been affected and pray not to have suffered serious consequences.

Yet, there are crises which could have been prevented or else dealt with better. Supposing technical problems appear, you can inform not only your employees, but also your customers about the problem. This way, they would know that you’re doing something to solve the issue.

Any type of difficulty that can have a negative repercussion for your brand is called a potential crisis. Below, there are some examples of common crises nowadays:

  • Human error
  • Technical problems (including cybersecurity and data outages)
  • Natural disasters
  • Wrong accusations
  • Financial crisis
  • etc.

Key crisis management plans

There are one thousand reasons why an unexpected crisis might occur. What’s more, most crises are just that unexpected. So, crisis prevention is fundamental to survive it.

The way the world works currently most companies undergo several crises from time to time. It’s like a cycle. There are good and bad times.

When everything goes well, no one wants to think of out of the blue issues that might take place some time in the future. Yet, crisis prevention could unquestionably help you to resolve troublesome complications.

Once the crisis becomes evident, you will need to respond quickly and implement any plans you have designed in advance. When the crisis has finished, the last step is to establish a recovery plan. That’s to say go back to normal.

1. Crisis prevention

Crisis prevention is the first and one of the most important steps of any crisis management. To begin with, you should create a team, as varied as possible, and ask them to brainstorm potential crisis for your brand.

Then, your team should find out your weaknesses and you should acknowledge them. Only afterwards would you be able to design your own crisis management procedures.

Monitoring and social listening are advisable here to catch the crisis in its early stages and to avoid a full-blown!

Google Alerts is a fantastic tool you can use for being aware of your online social mentions like negative reviews. Yet, it doesn’t inform you about criticism on social networks. So, you would also need to use other tools for that such as Keyhole and more.

2. Crisis resolution

The first thing you have to do is to admit that there is a crisis and you’re affected. Then, you have to inform both your employees and your customers. If you have any shareholders they need to know it too.

Your crisis management team, a group of employees previously assigned, are in charge of any communications to the general public. It’s crucial to manage them properly. You have to make sure the person assigned to do this feels comfortable with the media.

Afterwards is when you have to work on the crisis resolution. You will need to put in place any guidelines or fixed plans you designed in advance (crisis prevention)

Any crisis would probably damage your brand’s reputation as well as any business operations you were in the middle of. But, if you handle it properly, there would be less serious consequences. So, it would be easier to recover.

3. Crisis recovery

Bygone the crisis, you will need to go back to normal. But, you shouldn’t do as if anything had happened. It would be wiser to keep the details of what has happened for future crises and update your guidelines.

And now is when you have to work on your online reputation repair. Depending on the severity of the crisis, you could need to work with experts. If so, don’t wait any more and call them!

Note:

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to satisfy everyone! It’s impossible to make everyone feel happy. The same as you do not like some people, there would be others who won’t fancy you.

On top of that, and for many reasons, sometimes it would be hopeless to try to satisfy some customers and reach an agreement. Maybe, they would be a little bit stubborn or maybe you would have made an unforgivable mistake.

Crisis management tips to protect your brand image

1. Assess the damage promptly

H&M Medium screenshot

Evaluating the damage quickly is by all means one of the most important steps to handle a crisis. Before you can make any type of decision as regards how to cope with a fatal event, you need to know how much has affected your brand.

It would be wise to have a group of people in charge of this as only one person might not be able to analyze the full extent of the damage.

2. Get ahead of the crisis and take action soon

After assessing the situation, you would have to issue an official statement on the crisis. It’s vital you select someone who feels comfortable in front of cameras. And this person should also understand that he/she acts on behalf of your company.

The statement could be something like “We are aware that our system is down and has caused you trouble. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. We’re working on a fix to get things back to normal as soon as possible.”

Thus, the first step would be to explain to them the problem. Then, you will need to apologize. And, finally assure them you’re working on how to solve it quickly. This way, they would be familiar with the problem. And, if not calm, at least they would be informed.

There are certain occasions when just a communication statement won’t be enough. At times, depending on the severity of the crisis, you may need to compensate or give a refund to your customers.

3. Explain what happened transparently

Whenever there is a crisis, it’s not advisable to hide information as it might come to light anyway. And it would be worse if you had given misleading information.

On top of that, you should make sure nobody from your company makes off-the-record comments. These could damage your reputation significantly. But, if you tell the truth from the beginning, you won’t need to worry about that.

Remember that in the technological era we live nowadays it’s quite complicated to hide things from the media. If they do not know the news, they could feel tempted to fill in gaps with data that could be even more harmful.

So, the best reputation management strategy in the event of a crisis is to admit it and inform people about it.

4. Improve your emotional intelligence

It’s not only advisable, but a must not to argue with your clients/customers. Then, you should make it clear to your customers service that they should never argue with them.

No one is saying it’s easy to separate your emotions when you’re dealing with complaints, negative reviews, someone shouting at you, etc.

Yet, under any circumstances should you ever lose your manners. This would do wonders as regards your brand’s image and reputation. So, it’s necessary that you explain that to your employees too.

Remember that when they are working, your employees are your image. They represent you as an enterprise. And, the best reputation management is to always be friendly and resourceful with your customers.

As a marketer, it’s also important that you act as an example. It would motivate your workers and unify your brand’s message.

5. Keep your communication concise and frequent

It’s necessary to keep your communication succinct, but you will also have to inform both your employees and your customers frequently.

If there is a crisis everybody has mixed feeling and is concerned about what’s going around. Thus, if you don’t want them to panic, you should let them know what happens.

The best way to explain an issue is to be clear with what’s happening. Not providing enough information, or failing to do it regularly, may cause more confusion and uneasiness.

Thus, it’s advisable to try to calm your customers and let them know you’re working to solve the problem ASAP.

6. Build your communication policy and guidelines

It’s of vital importance to create some guidelines to follow in case of a crisis. Yet, the creation of a communication policy won’t be enough on its own, you will need to inform your team.

What’s the purpose of having a guideline and policy to follow if you do not tell your employees in advance? They need to know how to act and what to say if such a thing happens.

Besides, it would help your staff to feel part of the company and understand what’s going on. As they may be in a department where the issue took place, their opinions and advice are also worth listening.

Information is power. And informing your workers will help you to prevent poor communication, panicking and many other inconveniences during a crisis.

7. Train your team for crisis management

It’s not only necessary to inform your team of the crisis and let them know what to say to the media. On top of that, you’ll have to train them on what to do.

The procedures may differ depending on the crisis. But, at least some of them, the early stages, could be similar. There are lots of aspects that could be planned in advance and even discussed with experts.

Training your employees would make them feel better prepared. And they would make better decisions too. So, it’s worth spending some of your budget on that.

8. Investigate all the options and find out what works for you

As soon as the crisis comes to light, you will have to act rapidly. Still, you should not rush yourself and make decisions without exploring all the options.

There won’t be time for a thorough investigation. Yet, you should take time enough not to make things worse. It’s advisable to surround yourself with people who know the issue really well such as those who work where it took place.

And then, after exploring all the pros and cons of taking one way or the other, make smart decisions. Once the crisis is over, you should try to go back to normal. Don’t forget to start working on your reputation repair!

And that’s all for online reputation and crisis management. Now you know how to proceed in case of a crisis. I hope my tips have been useful for you!

In the last chapter, you will learn how to measure your PR ROI. Let’s have a look at it!

CHAPTER 7

How to Measure Your ROI of PR

Difficult as it may seem, it’s necessary to measure the ROI of your PR campaigns. Otherwise, how would you be able to say what worked or what didn’t.

Having a PR strategy is indispensable, but you will also need to analyze its success. To do that, you will first need to establish your goals. And then, check if you have achieved them.

In this chapter, I’ll help you to do just that. First, I’ll talk about what PR measurement is. And then, I’ll tell you all about PR key metrics.

PR Measurement

PR measurement aims at checking if you have achieved your initial PR goals. Yet, that’s not at all easy since one of the most well-known goals of PR is to improve a brand’s reputation.

However challenging it may seem, it’s fundamental to measure the PR success of each of your campaigns. But, to be able to do that you will have to decide what’s what you want to track – brand awareness, lead generation, audience engagement, etc.

Once you have that clear, you should keep track of your social mentions, media publications, lead generation sources, reach, PR generated website traffic, etc.

This PR measurement will not only help you to check if your PR efforts are worthy, but also to make any necessary changes. For instance, if you’re in the middle of a PR campaign to strengthen your brand awareness and you notice it’s not achieving the desired results, you would be able to change it before it’s over.

PR measurement is critical to take prompt actions in case of negative results. And also, to repeat what’s working on as many facets as possible. Thus, if you’re not already measuring the success of your PR campaigns, it’s high time you started doing it!

Key metrics of PR

There are one thousand reasons why you should keep an eye on your PR efforts and analyze them. Not long ago, most marketers didn’t think measuring PR campaigns was possible and/or reliable.

Yet, the truth is that these days there are lots of PR KPIs you can measure. Just monitoring is not enough, you would also need to make changes if needed.

Among the many metrics available to test your PR success is worth mentioning social media listening. It is mandatory to be aware of what others have to say about your brand and/or products.

This won’t only give you feedback, but you will also have the chance to improve your products. And because of that your brand’s authority.

Moreover, you should also determine the quality of your content and how successful it is among your audience. How are you going to know if the content you’re producing is good enough and helping you with your SEO if you don’t evaluate its success?

Your website’s traffic and if you’re getting more leads are also relevant for any PR campaign. It’s vital to check if your SEO efforts are working, if your Web page is optimized, mobile friendly, etc.

Failing to pay attention to all these PR metrics would be fatal as you wouldn’t know if what you’re doing works. You would just know some strategies are taking place here and there, but not if they are helping you.

Media outreach

1. PR mentions

One way of measuring your PR achievements is to research how many articles are there that mention your brand and/or products. In other words, you will need to count how many journalists have picked your press releases and distributed them.

But, knowing the number won’t tell you a lot of data. Apart from that, you should analyze if thanks to those publications your brand’s awareness has increased and if now you have a better image.

2. Media impressions

In order to calculate your media impression you would have to choose one of your press clippings. Then, you would just have to multiply it by the number of copies the publication sold.

And this would be the exact number of impressions of a particular press clipping. If you have more than one press release published, it would be necessary to add the numbers.

Brand reputation

Google Analytics Traffic graph
3. Reviews

This metric will be the number of reviews written about your products/services. You should check the number of positive and negative reviews. It would be necessary to check not only your web page reviews, but also the reviews on well-known tools for advice.

Being aware of this information would give you an idea of what others think about your products or services. It’s a wonderful feedback source. It would give you a clear impression of your customers/clients point of view.

4. Brand mentions

Apart from products/services reviews, it’s worth monitoring the number of mentions you have online. You can use tools like Google Alerts for that. It’s advisable to be alert and know when and where your brand’s name is mentioned.

This would help you to take prompt action in case of a reputation attack. If false accusations are circulating about you, your employees, your brand and/or your products you need to know it.

5. Referring websites

This metric tells you information as regards any of your website’s traffic that comes from other links. It can be controlled with Google Analytics for instance. Yet, not all the traffic you receive comes from referring websites.

Sometimes people look for your Web page on search engines, so there’s no referring traffic here. And it can also be the case that some people might mention you in an article, but they don’t include a link to your site.

So, tracking referring websites is not an exact science. But, it will help you to get an idea of how much traffic you have earned thanks to other Web pages, mentions, links, etc.

Content audit

6. Engagement

As regards content engagement, it measures your audience’s interaction with your content. That is to say, all those articles, pitches, infographics, videos, pictures, e-books, etc. which you published.

This metric analyzes what effect did they have on your audience – likes, shares, comments, reviews, testimonials, questions, etc.

Still, measuring engagement as a whole is really complicated, it would be better to track the engagement of each piece of your content on the channel where you distributed it.

7. Social shares

Social shares refers to the amount of times someone shared your content. Yet, as it happens with engagement, you will have to check your social shares per piece of content and on the channel you broadcast them.

8. Branded search

Branded search analyzes how many times people typed your brand’s name on search engines so as to visit your site. It’s the contrary of referral traffic. Instead, branded search informs you about direct traffic that is generated on search engines.

9. Website traffic

Website traffic can also tell you if your PR efforts are leading to satisfactory outcomes. It would be as easy as checking your website traffic before and after a PR campaign. And then, you would need to evaluate how much traffic you’ve gained.

This would give you an idea of your PR efforts effectiveness. Yet, if various campaigns are taking place, it’s impossible to tell which one is in charge of the traffic increase, or if it’s a combination of all of them.

10. Traffic source

Traffic source is the metric that tells you the origin of your traffic. Each time someone visits you, it has an origin. So, the aim of this KPI is to tell you just that.

Knowing the source of your traffic is fundamental as it will tell you where your audience is more active. You can take this information to your advantage and design more CTAs to call their attention for instance.

11. Bounce rates

This metric checks the number of users who visited your site and left without taking any further action. That’s to say, it calculates those visits to your site that immediately left. It’s easy to calculate due to the amount of time.

Other visitors must have kicked, shared, subscribed to a service, ordered a product, etc. So, to calculate your bounce rate, you will have to take away single-page sessions without any further action.

It’s important to know it if on your page the objective is to drive visitors to other landing pages. But, if you have a single-page site like a blog and the objective is not to drive people to other sites, but to share information there, a high bounce rate would be natural.

12. Community growth
Tripadvisor Home Screenshot

This is a very interesting KPI as it evaluates how much your community has grown. Nowadays, it’s typical to have a community of followers. Depending on the platform, there are different ways of assessing your community growth.

Likewise, you will have to check your community growth per platform if you happen to have more than one community of followers.

For PR, this metric is a clear indicator of your brand awareness and how others perceive you.

SEO

SEO Metrics - Domain Authority - Backlinks
13. Domain authority

This is a search engine ranking score that foresees how well a website will rank on SERPs. It’s important for PR as when you devote time and spend money to create new pieces of content, you expect it to rank high and generate traffic.

14. Backlinks

Backlinks are good indicators of your brand awareness. The more you have, the better. That’s to say backlinks are links on other webpages that drive people to your site.

Being aware of where your traffic comes from would be really useful for your PR ROI. Without any doubt backlinks provide useful information, for instance about an article which has recently been published and it’s got a link to your site.

Email subscription

Email marketing metrics table
15. Email subscription CTR

This metric monitors those subscribers who do not want to receive emails on everything or too frequently.

It’s advisable when you get new subscribers and if you don’t want to lose them to ask them about their preferences.

This way, they would just receive information on those topics they are interested in and you won’t lose them.

16. Email list growth rate

This KPI tracks the rate at which your email list is growing. To calculate it, you have to take the number of your new subscribers and take away those who left you.

The number you get, you have to divide by the total amount of subscribers you have. And finally, multiply by 100.

This metric gives an idea of the growth of your subscribers which is quite useful for PR. For instance to check how much your email list has grown after a PR campaign.

17. Email sharing/forwarding rate

This KPI tells you the number of people who either shared your post or forwarded your email to a friend. It’s strongly advisable to check this metric as it tells you the number of subscribers who are loyal to you.

They not only show their loyalty to your brand, but they also recommend your brand and products to others. So, they’re relevant PR indicators.

Lead generation

18. Lead generation rate by channel

It’s critical to be familiar with how many leads each channel generates. This way, you would understand which ones are more relevant.

If you’re running a PR campaign, you would like to know which channels drive more leads to you site. That is to say, the channels that your audience prefers.

Focusing your PR strategy on channels that have better acceptance among your visitors will increase the number of your leads. So, for PR ROI it’s important.

19. CTA clicks in the article

This metric provides you the exact number of CTA clicks on a specific article. It’s no doubt useful to know how many people actually clicked on those CTAs and how many converted into leads.

20. Conversion rate

Conversion rate gives you the number of visitors who took a desired action. To calculate it you have to divide the total number of visitors by those who actually converted.

21. Time to conversions

This metric informs you as regards the amount of time that takes to convert a visitor into a lead. Thus, it’s relevant to calculate it as it will give you an idea of the amount of time that requires your sales cycle.

22. ROI

ROI is probably the most important metric to calculate as it tells you how much profitable a PR campaign has been. In other words, it tells you how much money you made considering your investment on the campaign.

So, those metrics are a must to check. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be aware if your campaign was a success. Yet, it’s not that easy to measure your ROI.

And that’s all for PR metrics for ROI. It’s hard to measure PR efforts. Still, looking at what worked and what didn’t will help you to get close to PR success.

Conclusion

It’s time to put all these PR strategies into action!

Now I would like to hear from you:

What are your challenges for public relations?

Which PR strategies are you going to apply first?

Or do you have any questions about something on this post?

Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

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