From earned media coverage to tried-and-true paid models, your business needs to communicate often with its intended audience
Simply put, public relations (PR) is how your business communicates with anyone from your target customers to the general public. Successful PR strategies and practices lead to stronger public perception of your brand, which ultimately drives brand awareness and revenue.
Managing your reputation is essential, regardless of your business’s size or the industry in which it operates. Businesses can accomplish this through a variety of methods, including social media, marketing, earned media, branded content, blogs, philanthropy, events and more. Essentially, any form of communication your business uses to connect with an audience can be considered PR.
These kinds of PR strategies can really help you build brand awareness, affinity, trust and loyalty from your audience.
So, where should you start if you’ve never considered PR as a business strategy? While it’s important to put strategic thought into how you want to position your business or brand, this doesn’t necessarily require the use of a fancy (or expensive) PR or marketing agency.
Earned media is not a given
Earned media coverage is what happens when your business gets noticed organically — such as a local reporter writes a story about your brand, you get a mention on the morning news, the public talks about you positively on social media, you get word-of-mouth referrals, etc. This is the gold standard of successful PR, but it’s also the hardest to achieve.
Owned media is the coverage you generate for your business through your own channels, including blogs, your website, social media and content marketing.
The best way to increase earned media coverage is to be consistent, tell your stories and have a strategy for how you’re sharing those stories. Maybe it’s through generating press releases to share with the media, or maybe it’s by sharing thought leadership via owned or paid media.
A common mistake many businesses and brands can make is telling the wrong stories. Just because you think it’s interesting that your local business has served the community for 10 years and you get high ratings for customer service doesn’t mean that’s a story people will read.
Here are some questions to ask as you try to identify a good story:
- Why should this story matter to your audience? Why should they care?
- What makes this story unique?
- Will this story appeal to a broad audience, or just a select few people?
- Is this information that an average person might find educational or helpful? Does it help your audience solve a problem?
If you’re not sure, don’t sweat it! Our Swift Local Solutions’ branded content experts can help you brainstorm ideas that will accomplish these content goals.
Even the most consistent communications strategies don’t guarantee media coverage, so your most tried and true option is going to be in the forms of owned media, mentioned above, or paid media, both of which help you control the content, the message and the distribution.
Identify the communications channels or media outlets/contacts that reach the audience you want to target.
Assess the tools already available to you
While a PR or marketing agency could certainly help you develop a comprehensive communications plan and generate content, there are many accessible and affordable tools that can help you start small.
Expert consultants at Swift Local Solutions can help you determine how local media campaigns can help you reach your immediate and long-term communications and content goals. In addition to powerful local display advertising in print and online through our newspapers and magazines, today we offer a wide-ranging suite of products and tactics including:
- Email marketing – Your unique story in the email inbox of your target customers, connecting you with those who are likely to buyfrom you.
- Email Newsletters – Owned or paid content that shares your latest news, expertise, advice or thoughts with a targeted, highly engaged audience.
- Native Advertising – Paid media content that looks and feels like editorial content, and shares thought leadership with an audience via interesting and informative topics.
- Blogs – Owned content that shares your expertise or opinions about topics of interest to your targeted audience.
- Social media – Build an effective digital presence with a content strategy that builds trust with your loyal customers and connects you with potential new customers.
If you’re worried about not having a PR plan in place, let our marketing experts help you develop one. We can identify the stories just waiting to be told through the aforementioned methods, and we can help measure performance to ensure your PR is delivering the right messaging to your intended audience.