How many times have you had this conversation:
“We need to send a news release and create some shareable content!”
“We have a new hire! We need to tell the world! Everyone will want to share our content!”
“Because the whole world loves us and wants to know our every movement!”
OK, so maybe it doesn’t go exactly like that (except maybe in our heads).
There is a level of truth, though, in that made-up conversation.
Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a client about how a prospect wants to hire them to send one news release a month.
As she told me about this, I believe my response was simply to place my head in my hands and shake it back and forth.
Well, guess what?
Today, your news release is only one part of any successful PR effort.
To see your campaign and activities really take flight you need to invest in creating engaging, shareable content.
(And I may be preaching to the choir, but now you can send this to your executive or to your client…but black out my snarky comments before you do. Please and thank you!)
Shareable Content Starts by Providing Value
The best way to stand out from the hundreds of other news releases journalists scan through each day is to provide something of value.
This can take the form of starting with a proprietary survey on a timely topic, having a thoughtful perspective on an issue in the news, or providing free educational (not promotional) content of interest to the journalist’s audience.
Many brands equate proprietary surveys with $100,000 spends and a multi-month process with a market research company.
That certainly is an option for brands with large budgets that are looking to create a statistically valid piece of research.
But any organization can do this.
All you need is an email list—or some friends with one—and a free survey account.
You can easily obtain valuable—and eminently shareable—insights that merit publication.
Similarly, newsjacking can be an excellent way to gain attention for your PR efforts, when done well.
And by done well, I’m talking about a security firm sharing tips on securing your household IoT devices so they don’t contribute to the next distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Not, “Three personal branding lessons you can learn from today’s dead celebrity.”
Supplement Your Campaign With Visual Assets
No matter how compelling your written content is, however, if no one stops to read it, you’re out of luck.
That’s why creating color visuals—photographs, infographics, SlideShares, videos—is so important.
Research from Xerox on the effectiveness of using color in business documents found color increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82 percent, and increases readership by 80 percent.
A few ways to easily and inexpensively add visuals to your PR campaigns include:
- Filming 15-30 sec smartphone video snippets with executives or customers quoted in your text materials.
- Designing social-friendly quote cards with visuals by using Canva or similar tools.
- Creating visual representations of your data by using Venngage or Piktochart.
And the best part is all of these pieces can have your brand watermark, and include calls-to-action that lead them back to your organization’s website, at which point their return-on-investment becomes trackable.
And that return is all thanks to you, and your PR efforts.
Have a Comprehensive Distribution Plan
If your distribution plan is posting the news release and assets on your corporate channel and distributing it through a release service and calling it a day, you’re missing out on significant opportunities.
When planning your program, and deciding who to work with to create your content, you’ll want to keep distribution in mind.
- Is there an industry thought leader who would be willing to weigh in?
- Are some of your customers more active on social media than others?
When you create content that includes contributions from people who have a built-in audience, they’re very likely to share it with their networks, as long as it’s not a promotional puff piece.
You spend countless hours on crafting the right PR program to meet organizational objectives.
But augmenting your traditional tactics with creating compelling content can take your programs so much further, and help you show that PR is a vital part of your business, and not just a nice-to-have luxury.
A version of this first appeared on the PRSA blog, PRSay (I didn’t include my snarky comments there).