Every PR professional today is faced with a choice: stick to the safe, traditional methods of public relations they were taught, or adapt the emerging methods and technologies that can turn PR into a powerful tool of 21st century content management. Those who change move beyond PR specialization to become content managers whose impact extends to affect SEO, the sales funnel, online brand awareness and ultimately business performance and vitality.
Just over five years ago, most PR professionals practiced media relations by writing a press release in a word document, creating a target media list, distributing the release to their contacts and crossing their fingers that at least one reporter would think the content was good enough to appear in print.
Now, socially-inspired tools allow PR professionals to reach audiences directly. What? Isn’t PR all about researching media contacts, rubbing elbows with them and giving them great stories that fit their beat topics? Yes; but now it’s more than that. PR pros can reach media, stakeholders, bloggers, customers, vendors, investors and other influencers by creating meaningful content that inspires them to care about you, visit your website, interact with you online and ultimately buy in to your offer, your culture or your message – without even asking them to.
So, how do you do this?
In this interview Pitchengine CEO Jason Kintzler discusses how the traditional press release is dead, what creating good content can do and how social media releases can work for B2B organizations.
PR pros looking to make a bigger impact online can start by following this process for content creation:
Have good content. You can’t get audiences to read your content and connect with you without great stories: find them, build them, create them.
Find where your targets read online content. If you’re a B2B company, you may care more if your content is found on LinkedIn, online versions of business publications or searches for business terms than on Facebook.
Optimize. One of the greatest benefits of creating quality content is building your SEO. Fill your social media releases, pitches, blogs or other stories with keywords your audiences typically search on the top search engines.
Don’t promote yourself, promote the story. To make the most impact, you need to create content that is useful to your audience.
Use the right vehicles. When publishing your content online, use services like Pitchengine, PRWeb and Wordpress in order for optimized keywords to be found on search engines. These tools also help you measure click-throughs, shares, engagement and the success of driving inbound traffic to your website – a key component to analysis and justification of your efforts. But don’t forget the small stuff: content can also be thoughts or advice from your company’s smartest and most engaged people via Twitter, forums, or useful videos. Good content (and great PR) is about conversation.
Engage after you publish. Once you publish your content, the real work begins. Share your story on your company’s Twitter feed, Facebook account, LinkedIn profile or blog to increase views and encourage discussion and action. Then, respond to comments and engage with your audience online.
Check back. The beauty of publishing content online is that it never goes away. With traditional content (see: the word doc press release), your content is news for one day... if you’re lucky. When your content is online, it’s always available for media, customers, stakeholders and whoever else is important to find in their searches.
So, with all of that said, I can’t attribute all of this knowledge to myself. There are brilliant, progressive PR and new media folks out there paving the way for many of us. Follow them. Learn from them.