With 2016 nearly behind us and 2017 on the horizon, now is a good time to assess what worked, what did not, and how you will proceed going forward with your public relations and marketing efforts.
I continue to believe that earned media – i.e. media gained through public relations efforts and not paid advertisement – is one of the best ways to get the word out about a company or organization. Depending on how you go about this will determine the cost. You can attempt to do it yourself, but it can be time consuming and take you away from the day-to-day operation of your organization.
Public relations requires planning. It includes the creation and development of media contacts, ongoing discussions with reporters and editors, a solid understanding of what is or is not news, and how best to position your organization. While you can throw a story out there and hope it gains traction, that’s akin to playing the lottery. Unless you have an unbelievably good story, chances are you won’t have much success using this method.
Targeting your efforts is important. Determine what publications you want to be in and go after them. What publications are the people you want reach reading? Niche publications are an excellent place to get your story told. The Daily Business Review is a great outlet for attorneys, while Medical Economics is best suited for those in healthcare. There are thousands of niche publications, not to mention bloggers, which means opportunities beyond your traditional local newspaper or TV station.
Although the press release is not officially dead, don’t expect to write it, distribute it via a wire service and have reporters knocking at your door. While these services have their place (especially when it comes to SEO) it’s always better to individually target reporters and editors and tell them why your story belongs in their publication. You may be able to provide them with an angle they have not considered.
Be realistic. Don’t expect your story to be told in the New York Times or to appear on the Today Show. Competition for that kind of media is fierce and you need one heck-of-a-story to get it told in these types of national outlets.
A few strong “media hits” will help you to build authority and credibility and eventually reporters will begin to look to you as a source for information in your area of expertise. The end-game is not to be a one-trick media pony, but to become a go-to source for the media.
Becoming a contributor is another excellent option. Many publications will take bylined articles or opinion pieces written by those who are knowledgeable in their field. This is another excellent way to build authority and credibility. Today’s 24/7 news cycle demands content, so finding publications willing to work with you can be a win-win.
Social media goes hand-in-hand with public relations. Using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and other outlets to disseminate what has already been published is yet another way to capitalize on positive media exposure.
I find that when I post items on my own, or my clients’ social media accounts that are directly relevant to what they are doing, or saying, the number of people reached and the number of comments goes up significantly more than when I simply re-post something that may be relevant to their industry, but not necessarily directly related to their organization. Although not always possible, it is something to strive for.
As we move into the new year ask yourself the following questions:
Every year there are new and exciting challenges in the world of public relations. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. In addition to public relations, she provides web content writing, press releases, social media, photography and videography. She has two daughters, three golden retrievers and two cats.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.