10 years ago we were writing articles informing business owners on the value and importance of PR, 5 years ago it was on the value and importance of social media. Now, it’s all about generating smart content. Smart Content is what’s generated by your PR campaigns and distributed via your social media platforms. It’s engaging, it’s relevant, it’s true to your brand and it’s of interest to your followers.
Here are some tips to get your 2014 marketing game face on. Do it now and I assure you, while your competitors are scrambling for content, you will be reaping the awards.
Be smart about your marketing for 2014. Stop wasting money and think, predict, plan your campaigns and outcomes. Get creative with PR campaigns but not forsaking all others. Think about what promotions worked last year and how you can make them a little different this year, add a twist or an element of quirkiness and you are on to a winner.
Develop a Communications Plan which includes simplified PR, Social Media and Marketing activities. There is little point putting resources into each area without having an overall master plan underpinning each activity. We do a yearly overview just simply naming each campaign and colour blocking it over the months it will run. We then like to break this down into each quarter with a short list of activities under campaign, finally a social media activity sheet is generated each month showing what’s being posted by subject matter and where.
Develop a number of key PR campaigns – less is more. Give yourself at least 3-6 months for planning and implementation of each to truly maximise each campaigns potential. If you do not have an in-house PR or Social Media person it’s safe to assume running a constant stream of promotions is going to get difficult. I suggest choosing a select number of campaigns throughout the year. All PR campaigns will have a social media aspect, however not all social media campaigns will have a need for PR activity. For example, a new product launch or a new restaurant opening will have lots of PR potential which will feed social media, on the other hand a competition which is run online, may not require PR support. Choose a number of campaigns keeping this in mind and above all less remember what the ultimate goal is i.e. to build profile, to increase customers etc.
Edit content for different platforms and think about how each campaign can be used across different platforms. Develop the campaign with visuals which can be posted via Instagram and Facebook. Make a video series which can be broadcast via Youtube. Get a business angle and post on LinkedIn. Whatever platforms you are using make sure the content is suitable. Good campaigns become great when they are developed across various social media stream, however choose a realistic number of platforms as your soapbox, spreading yourself too thinly will lead to poor quality.
Think of every PR campaign in terms of online longevity. With each campaign and promotion think about how it will work online – before, during and after. Can you revisit it after it has run, can you get statistics from results etc. This is how you maximise the reach, and ensure resources spent on campaigns is fully optimised.
Repurpose quality content. So you ran a blog post about who you are and what you do. A few months later you launch a new brand of sauces. Go back and dig out the piece on your introduction, edit it for brevity and include it or link it to your new story. Smart bloggers and journalists know that writing is a commodity. It costs time so its worth recycling but with relevance. Do not repost old posts because that’s just lazy.
Respect your followers. Your followers are now your editors. They are the ones who choose whether to cut, ignore or show interest in what you are pitching. Be proactive in responding to comments and questions. If you have low numbers of followers they deserve even more respect. Give it and watch your numbers grow.
Take control of your message. Traditional PR was to write up a press release and pitch it to journalists. The better the story and the pitch the better the pick up by media. However, as sometimes was the case there may be no pick up for a myriad of reasons, what then? a wasted story or perhaps is does land, it gets a mention and it’s gone, having had it’s brief moment of glory. With social media this story can now take many forms and with editing and repurposing it can reach a wider audience in different forms. You have control of what’s communicated and how, what image to use, if you want to use a video and you can make sure you are tracking any enquiries generated by it.
Article originally appeared in February issue of SERVICES magazine.