Public Relations

Scenario to Build a PR Division at Your Company Arrow

… let’s think about public relations (PR).

Traditionally speaking, PR is the strategic process of creating, distributing, and managing a company’s public communications to national, regional, and local media outlets.

The hallmark of a successful PR campaign is to gain free media coverage in newspapers, in magazines, on blogs, on TV, or on the radio.

PR is also a major factor for companies looking to raise funding from investors, gain credibility for a new product launch, acquire business development partners, and differentiate their brand from competitors.

Publicity is priceless.

It can help a company go from an unknown brand to a well-known brand (seemingly overnight). It can help a company acquire customers in bulk. And it can significantly increase a company’s revenue.

As the new CMO …

your job is to launch a PR division within ACME’s marketing department.

Historically, large companies that can afford to hire a PR agency usually benefit most from PR campaigns.

But today, because of Internet media, all companies (large and small) can benefit from PR.

Why … because PR has never been more affordable.

And because PR is an underutilized marketing channel at most companies and in most industries.

Marketing directors generally don’t allocate budget to PR.

Primarily because PR is not a top-of-mind marketing channel like Google, Facebook, or trade show events.

PR is not only a marketing channel … it’s a growth marketing channel … because of its viral loop.

Thus, as the CMO at ACME … you have a great opportunity to use PR to gain a competitive advantage. And to use it to achieve traction.

But there are a few things you’ll need to know, :

  • How PR works today.
  • How to get started.

So let’s keep going …

, Let’s Talk About How PR Works Today?

The way that PR works today is different from yesteryear.

Back in the day … a company would hire a PR agency to pitch stories to journalists at national media outlets like CNN, The New York Times, Good Morning America, or People magazine.

Your chances of getting media coverage from national media outlets were largely dependent on whether your PR agent had an established relationship with the journalist.

While having a relationship will still help you today … the Internet has made it much easier to reach journalists, create relationships, and get coverage.

The blogosphere has completely changed the PR pitch process.

Instead of accepting unsolicited pitches like yesteryear … journalists from national media outlets will now source their story ideas from influential blogs like The Huffington Post, TechChurch, Medium, and other notable blogs.

Today … stories that spread on blogs are the springboard to stories that get picked up by the national media.

Think of it this way, …

These days, blogs compete to get stories first.

After a story trends on a blog and on social media … the national media competes to share the story with their bigger audiences.

That’s the ‘new’ PR pitch process.

You’re pitching bloggers who write for influential blogs instead of journalists at national media outlets.

Are you still with me, ?

Ok, good.

Let’s talk about how to get started …

Here’s How to Get Your PR Initiatives Started.

So yes … PR has evolved because of Internet media and the blogosphere.

But you get the basics of how it works now.

Fortunately for us marketers … it’s a little easier to get media coverage than it was in the past.

But it still requires a lot of tedious work.

In order for you to build a PR division within the ACME marketing department, you’re going to need a dedicated PR person.

Of course, in a perfect scenario, you can hire a PR person to join your team.

But if you don’t have the resources to hire a full-time PR person … you can contract a virtual assistant from a site like OnlineJobs and train them on how to assemble your PR outreach systems.

The first step in any marketing or PR activity is to conduct research.

Your PR person or virtual assistant will need to create two master media lists.

  1. An extensive list of digital and print publications in your industry;
  2. And a comprehensive list of journalists who write about topics in your industry.

Both of these lists will be ongoing and ever-evolving.

But get started creating these media lists first.

Next … it’s time to look for low-hanging PR fruit.

A good place to start is to create an account with Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO is a network of over 55,000 bloggers and journalists who are looking for subject matter experts to interview and quote in their upcoming articles.

After you’ve created a HARO account and set up your media parameters, hop over to Twitter.

Twitter is an immensely valuable channel to reach and connect with journalists.

Most, if not all, journalists use Twitter.

And surprisingly, oftentimes they don’t have many Twitter followers.

You can delegate a task to your PR person or virtual assistant to research every blogger and journalist who has written about topics relevant to your industry.

And then, follow them on your personal and company Twitter accounts.

Don’t pitch them right now … engage with their content (like it, comment on it, and share it).

At this point, you’re nurturing a Twitter relationship with the blogger or journalist.

You’re warming them up for a future PR pitch from you.

Remember … the goal of any PR campaign is not for the communication to come across as promotional.

Instead, you want your communication to be informative and newsworthy.

One last, but important tip before I go.

When you are ready to pitch a blogger or journalist on Twitter … make sure to pitch them from your personal (professional) account to humanize the pitch.

Okay … so that’s it for now.

I hope this was helpful and gets you started building the PR division at your company.

Check back soon for more PR use case scenarios.

Anthony Ragland
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