Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe PR people aren’t good at publicizing the benefits of PR. Either way, the longer I spend in this industry, the more I’m reminded of one of my favorite Pink Floyd-isms:
“If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”
In this case, the meat represents tactics: A strong message, solid writing, thought leadership, press relations, social media.
The pudding is the reward: More conversions, name recognition, instant credibility, media coverage, brand engagement.
So many companies spend all of their resources on direct product marketing and collateral and expect big returns. These tactics are crucial. If done well, they will help increase name recognition.
But as I often tell clients, PR accomplishes this goal and establishes credibility. Social media, on the other hand, brings brand engagement to the mix. And a strong message? It’s the glue that holds everything together.
If you ignore or even downplay these tactics, how many rewards are you potentially missing?
After all, any company can advertise. But when a company is mentioned in a respected news outlet, it establishes an instant reputation that no ad, press release or whitepaper can. And when a company is doing a good job at social media, it’s engaging people–exponentially–in a way no story can.
However, if you’re contributing to only part of this list, your marketing efforts will likely suffer. All social media and no PR will not garner nearly as much credibility. All PR and no social delivers little engagement. A strong message with no way to promote it is downright useless. And a strong promotional machine with no message is like yelling in the wind. In Northern Saskatchewan.
In other words, strive for balance.
- Develop a core message that resonates with potential clients.
- Develop talking points for media relations.
- Use this messaging consistently.
- Write well. The other day, I read a case study with a major grammatical error in the lead sentence. Almost as bad, it, like many others, was mind-numbingly dry. There’s no reason for either. Bad grammar or dry writing negatively impacts your image or at the very least causes people to not read your material.
- Focus your PR efforts on thought leadership, accomplishments and near-term expansion plans–not your product.
- Identify trade publications and opportunities for coverage.
- Identify local media outlets, paying close attention to editorial calendars. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be seen as too small by getting local coverage. Unless it’s a story on your company picnic, local coverage–from small capital raises to large expansions–establishes credibility.
- Identify national mainstream outlets that cover your industry. Don’t think you absolutely can’t get national coverage. That’s where your focus on thought leadership will help.
- Don’t treat social media as a push channel. If you’re not finding ways to engage people, you’re really not using it to your full advantage.
- Find ways to promote marketing collateral such as whitepapers through PR and social channels.
- Find ways to make your company more than just another brick in the wall.