Oct 06, 2014

3 Fresh Approaches to Public Relations Strategy: Learning from PR Agency Leaders

3 fresh approachesWe’ve talked a lot about the evolution of the media marketplace and PR tactics, as well as impact content marketing, search and social media have on the daily practice of public relations.   We’re taking this study a step further in the new white paper, “New PR Agency Benchmarks,” putting the changing role of the agency under the microscope.

Hoffman Agency chief Lou Hoffman.

“The work is more sophisticated,” notes Lou Hoffman, of the Hoffman Agency in Silicon Valley, one of the agency chiefs we interviewed. “Not so long ago, much of PR was media relations and product announcements. The game changer has been the web. “

Agencies are at the vanguard of the nexus of PR and digital marketing.  They invest considerable time and energy in learning about, testing and utilizing new platforms, media formats and channels, developing knowledge of cutting edge tools and audience behaviors and preferences, enabling them to counsel clients on which tools make sense for a particular campaign.

In-house PR pros can learn from the aggressive approach agencies take to learning and testing new platforms.   As search engines change preferences and social platforms emerge (and evolve,) putting new tactics into the mix is crucial – but with an important caveat.   Tactics that don’t reach the right audiences or produce valuable outcomes are a waste of time.   It’s important to test new platforms and approaches, but it’s also just as important to learn to say “No” to those that don’t produce results.

There’s more to keeping your PR program in step with audiences trends than simply updating the tactical mix, however.   Fundamentally refreshing your approach to PR may be necessary, too.  Three new approaches discussed in the paper include:

Rethinking the goals we set for PR:   Earned media pick up is still the primary goal of most PR campaigns.   Develop integrated plans with the marketing and social media teams for measuring and utilizing earned media downstream –spark social conversation and drive qualified traffic to the brand web site.

Paying attention to the impact of search:  Strong PR programs can influence search rank and create an influx of high-value web visitors to the brand web site.  Work with your search team to capture information about the behavior of site visitors who arrive on your digital doorstep as a result of a publicity campaign.   In the meantime, align the language you use in external communications (don’t forget presentations!) with the target terms and phrases identified by your search teams.

Rebecca Mosley, a co-founder of Duo PR.

Think in terms of long-term narrative (versus episodic campaigns:) Finding and telling the brand story authentically, and turning that story into a lasting narrative are important opportunities for PR to develop content that will have lasting impact for the brand.

“Historically PR has been the champion of telling the client’s story,” Rebecca Mosley of Duo Public Relations told us. “We’re extremely skilled at storytelling, and paired with content development, you end up with a robust library of content assets.”

A successful public relations program blends traditional strategies and outputs with a proactive approach to leveraging those assets in the digital environment for the purpose of producing measurable outcomes.    For more insight on the new PR benchmarks we’re seeing cutting edge agencies employ, download “The New Agency Benchmarks for PR” here: http://prn.to/1xBJZmf

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Author Sarah Skerik is a communications and content marketing thought leader. 

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