Charles Darwin knew that animals and plants in the wild followed a method of evolution known as survival of the fittest.
Now, I’m not going to give you a biology lesson, but I like to think that there’s a lot of this type of progression in the PR world.
While certain methods have survived the test of time by evolving—such as how brand management has advanced to focus attention on building a solid online presence—other tactics have annoyed audiences to the point of extinction (hello, push PR!).
This natural act of weeding out strategies that don’t work is a good thing.
It moves those brands still using traditional methods to the bottom of the pack and rewards those that make an honest and genuine connection with their audience with the help of modern PR.
Today’s article will help you learn which old, outdated plans have been pushed out of modern PR (for the better!) and which are here to stay. We’ll even discuss the best tactics you should be focusing your time on so you’re not left behind.
Your Online Reputation Matters More Than It Used to
Brand management is here to stay—there’s no doubt about that.
Back in the day, having a website was all you needed to build an online reputation.
Now that’s a bare minimum must-have. These days, a large portion of your time spent managing your brand’s reputation will be focused on your online presence.
On top of having a website, you need to build an interactive blog that engages and inspires your audience. Your content must provide some sort of value to your potential customer—through email courses, e-guides, or opt-ins for example—before they’ll even consider becoming an actual customer (i.e. giving away money or their email address to you).
This means your online presence needs to be on point; your site should be updated constantly and evolve just like you and your brand naturally do.
Brand cohesiveness is also another must-have in the online world. Your audience should see the same, consistent message throughout your website and your social media platforms.
This doesn’t mean you have to post the exact same thing on every channel. Rather, you’ll create complementary posts that reinforce the same messages without specifically repeating them.
This requires thought and planning to get right, but it’s one area that will reward your hard work in the form of increased engagement from your audience.
To Be an Influencer, You Must Become a Thought Leader
In the earlier days of (push) PR, becoming an influencer meant that you just had to get your name out there and in front of as many eyes as possible. Of course, I’m putting it lightly and this is much harder than it sounds, but essentially that’s what it was like back then.
Fast-forward to today and the shift is all about building a platform as a thought leader in order to become an influencer.
The ol’ “he who screams the loudest” strategy is just not effective anymore. You want to follow the influencer path instead.
Essentially, instead of worrying about how large you can grow your audience, your goal should be engaging and inspiring your audience. Spend time answering the question: How can I help or inspire them today?
The more you inspire one person, the more likely you’ll be to inspire a much larger audience as well.
Press Releases Are Old News
Yes, people still use press releases. In fact, I receive dozens each and every day.
But when you compare them to modern storytelling, there’s just no redeeming qualities to them anymore.
The goal of a press release is to grab the attention of as many media outlets as possible. But it does this by using the “he who screams loudest” concept I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, this old tactic of forcing your message on people doesn’t work. People will start to tune you out, especially if you’re a fairly new brand, before they even give you a chance.
On the other hand, when you share your brand’s story, you’ll be connecting with people on a deeper level. One that captures your audience’s attention and inspires them to take action.
Stop wasting your time with press releases and start crafting a story from the heart. Then you can share this story across your branding and all over your social media platforms.
Don’t forget to create stories for all of your upcoming product launches too!
Media Kits Are a Must-have
As we mentioned in this infographic, a well-made media kit can help you drive everything from sales and donations to investments, which is why it’s a must-have that every business can benefit from.
A media kit is like having your elevator pitch in the form of an interactive package. Everything about your brand is summed up in this one kit that showcases your best features.
Your kit should include:
- A high-quality video
- High-resolution pictures of your products and key people
- Additional art such as a high-res logo
- Media release
- FAQ, fact sheet, background
In order for this magic to work, you’ll need to perfectly plan out and hand deliver this information to a targeted audience. Don’t just cast a wide net and hope for the best; save your time and effort and cast a net that only returns interested, pre-qualified leads.
It’s important that your media kit and media release take the cues from our previous section about creating a story instead of simply blasting your message. Focus on helping your audience instead of talking about how great your brand is. Give the media a story they can run with in an interactive form and you’ll really start to connect with potential customers.
If you don’t already have a media kit, or if yours hasn’t been updated in quite some time, add those components of a stand-out media kit to your to-do list ASAP.
Paid Ads Have Replaced Direct Mailers
Direct mailers are another form of old school marketing that has since evolved into paid ads.
Using this method, you can pick and choose the exact targeted audience you’d like your ad to be visible to instead of having to send everyone the message.
This direct tactic means you won’t spend money on an audience that has no interest in your product or service, which is a huge plus.
Because of this strong marketing ability, this is one area that’s going to continue to grow over the next few years.
You should keep the following rules in mind to help increase your success with paid ads:
- Your ad should not be salesy in tone
- It should focus on the benefits or value that it brings to potential customers
- Your ad needs to be short, to-the-point, and direct
- The most important information should come first in your ad
- Character counts mater: if you go over, critical info could be lost
As you can see, PR has shifted a bit since its earlier days.
Say goodbye to those dinosaurs also known as press releases and direct mailers and hello to the digital media that’s going to stick around in your toolkit for a while to come.
These days, honing a solid, approachable online presence is just as important as cultivating your brand’s image in real life. That’s why it’s a necessity to create stories that connect with potential customers and get them to understand what your brand is all about.
Looking for extra exposure to your targeted audience? Give paid ads a try and see where this modern tactic will take you.
If your goal is to be an influencer—and every brand should want to be seen as an expert in their niche—go above and beyond acquiring hordes of followers and work to inspire them and make their lives better.
Stick to these tips and your brand will become a household name instead of a dusty antique.