As popular as Reddit may be, there are some fun facts that you may not know regarding ‘the front page of the Internet’. We’re here to share a few of those interesting facts about Reddit. If you know about these, consider this a walk down memory lane. For newcomers, think of this as a ‘getting to know you’ segue into Reddit.
Public relations and inbound marketing are two hot keywords in the marketing industry. But what are they? What do they mean for your organization? And how can they work together to bring the most value to your business?
For those not as familiar with these two facets of marketing, I will give you a quick rundown:
According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” A public relations strategy can help increase awareness for an individual or an organization, it can help build relationships with the media, and it works to create or preserve a positive image.
To be successful in public relations, you must focus on the needs of your company, the media, and your audience. You can’t focus on one without the other two in a successful PR strategy.
Something that PR and inbound marketing have in common is thought leadership. In public relations, you pitch your thought leadership in your industry to the media on a certain topic. In inbound, you create content that you publish yourself that is still educating your audience and showing your expertise. The difference here is where the content is published. In PR, the content can be written by a journalist or by the thought leader him- or herself; however, it will be published through a third-party outlet. This gives your content more credibility. In inbound, usually, you publish the content yourself, and your audience knows it is coming from you.
So, now you are thinking, “Okay, great, my PR and inbound marketing have things in common but are not the same, but wait—tell me more about inbound marketing.” You’re in luck! We love to talk about inbound marketing on the SmartBug blog.
Here is the quick and dirty version: Inbound marketing focuses on being found by customers by providing valuable content.
So, now that we have wrapped our heads around what inbound marketing and public relations should look like, let’s take a look at how they can work together.
1. Content, Content, Content
When it comes to public relations, it is all about the pitch and the relationships to take it the distance. What is the angle? What publication will find this most valuable? How can it be tied to current events? Once a PR professional has the topic, he or she pitches until that topic is picked up—or until it is determined that it’s time to move on. After all, not every topic will get a bite. In inbound marketing, you take your topic, figure out what your audience needs to know about that topic, and get to writing. So, the question is: Why come up with similar topics for two different purposes when you could just repurpose one topic? That is exactly what you should do!
Similar to inbound marketing, public relations cannot survive without continuous ways to prove expertise and thought leadership.
Use your inbound marketing topics and ideas to help create your public relations pitches and vice versa. There is no need to always reinvent the wheel. Also, with this strategy, you can ensure that your messaging and strategy align across all aspects of your marketing.
This article originally appeared in The SmartBug Inbound Marketing Blog.
When you’re pitching an up-and-coming brand, raising the profile of a little-known executive or promoting your business in a new market, the process always looks the same in the beginning: countless pitches go out the door with very few media requests rolling in.
Until, at some point, momentum starts to build. Now, journalists who wouldn’t answer your emails are replying back with follow-up questions. New journalists are reaching out and asking for interviews. Outlets you’ve never worked with are calling to see if they can ask you a few questions.
So How Do You Choose the Best Media?
When you’re proactively pitching media, you’ve got a clear objective. This month, for example, Uber’s PR team is pitching stories to introduce their new in-app chat. Facebook’s PR team is hard at work driving coverage around the company’s redesigned video tab, Watch. Soundcloud’s PR team is telling anyone and everyone that they’re living to fight another day.
But when you’re assessing requests reactively, the objective isn’t always as clear. What seems like a straightforward interview from a respected trade publication can turn into a reputation-damaging story without proper vetting and consideration.
So how do you figure out which ones to go for and which ones to pass on? Here are three critical questions to ask each time a new opportunity presents itself.
1) What are your business priorities?
Incoming PR requests are like big shiny objects—they look real pretty but can be enormously distracting. The purpose of any solid PR strategy is to align with a specific business goal—whether that’s driving users to an app, a new video platform, or a music streaming service they thought was about to go under.
When your inbox starts getting noisy with requests, here’s the first and most important question you want to explore with your team: what are our short and long-term business priorities?
You can bet that, on the back of Uber, Facebook and Soundcloud’s recent announcements, they’re seeing an influx of incoming PR requests. For those that are focused on further promoting the company’s announcements—a clear business priority—their respective PR team are likely seriously considering them.
But if, at the same time, Soundcloud’s CFO is being asked to be profiled by a reporter they’ve never worked with for a trade publication they don’t follow? That’s probably going to be a no.
And, at this moment, rightfully so.
2) What’s the journalist’s track record?
When you pitch announcements proactively, you’re more likely to accept opportunities with hard hitting reporters. But as requests roll in, you have the ability to be more selective. As John McCartney, Managing Director, West Coast of Wise Public Relations offers this sage advice, “Not every outlet is the right fit for a brand. One needs to really see the treatment a media outlet gives to their stories. Are they snarky? Are they hard hitting?”
To find out, you want to thoroughly research each and every journalist that sends a request (even if they’re just asking for a comment or statement). Check their social media updates. Google their past coverage. Look at their Linkedin profiles. Use your media database to track down their history of covering your industry and brand, their beat, their story and angle preferences, and any other noteworthy tidbits you can find about their work.
Is their coverage aligned to the type of reporters you trust? Let this answer guide your decision.
3) What’s the relationship at play?
No one needs to be told that PR is an industry built on relationships.
The final consideration is who the request is coming from. Have you been building a relationship with the journalist or media outlet? Is it a reporter you have a good rapport with? If the answer is ‘yes,’ it’s an easy yes. If it’s not a journalist or media outlet you know or, after researching, care to forge a relationship with, politely decline.
As your pitching efforts take-off, stay away from the knee-jerk reaction to accept each one that comes your way. In the long run, it’s far more strategic to say no to those that don’t align with your brand values or business priorities, aren’t led by journalists you know and/or trust and don’t further important industry relationships than to drag your brand into a media storm unnecessarily.
Make your work easier by using a media database to help you research journalists and the media outlets they contribute to.
You’ve built a great product and an authentic brand around it to match. You’ve started to see brand advocates give unsolicited testimonials, and creating content that reinforces your brand’s positioning.
Good job! But how will you keep this momentum going? It takes time and attention to nurture these budding influencer relationships and maintain them over time. And it’s over time that these relationships will pay off. That’s why finding creative and valuable ways to recognize your brand’s influencers essential.
It seems obvious that the easiest, most cost-effective thank you would be simply to acknowledge and thank your brand influencers for their mentions. But many brands don’t seem to notice—or care—about these mentions. This lack of acknowledgment is a HUGE missed opportunity.
When someone is a big enough fan of your brand to spend their time, for free, to create content that mentions you, you need to make it a priority to reply to them! This acknowledgment can be as simple as a comment on a blog post, or a social reply when they share the content. To make sure you’re on top of mentions, you can use a social listening platform.
Share Their Content
Again, this seems like a no-brainer, but not many brands share influencer-created content unless it’s sponsored by—or exclusively about—the brand. Influencers can be an excellent source of relevant and engaging content that’s relevant to your audience. By sharing their content, not only are you helping them increase their audience, you’re showing that you’re tuned-in to YOUR audience and their content interests as well.
Give Them an Insider’s View
Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to get an inside look at what it’s like to work and play inside your favorite brand’s workplace? While it’s not practical to invite all your brand influencers to shadow staff, what about hosting an exclusive happy hour or open house that allows them to mingle with your employees?
In addition to making them feel like an extended part of your brand family, it’s entirely likely they’ll create content about their experience. This sort of behind-the-scenes content can be incredibly valuable to employer branding efforts.
Make Them Brand VIPs
Do you have a customer advisory board? If the influencer is a regular product user, they may be a good candidate to round out your group. However, be conscious of the reality that customer advisory groups often have competing organizational demands for their attention. In that case, creating a formal external brand ambassador program might be a better way to give influencers VIP status and recognition.
For example, I’ve been invited to a number of brand advocacy communities over the years that have used Influitive to create targeted opportunities to involve brand advocates in promoting brand activities. Sprout Social has gone in a slightly different direction. They’ve created an exclusive Sprout All Star program (which I’m part of).
As a Sprout All Star, I have access to a private Slack group where I can network and collaborate with other All Stars, keep apprised of the latest product changes, and have a direct line for feedback or questions. All Stars also have an opportunity to work with Sprout on co-created content, and frequently have their content shared with and elevated by the community. The All Star program is an exemplary example of recognizing influencers and providing them with something valuable in return for their ongoing support.
Ask Their Opinion
When someone is a passionate brand fan, chances are, despite that love, they still have many ideas about areas of improvement for your product and services. So get them involved! Involve them in your BETA testing and give them sneak peeks of or early access to new products. It can feel incredibly rewarding to see your suggestions make it into everyday use of a product you love.
Help Influencers Build Their Business
If you’re struggling to identify the best way to recognize an influence for their brand advocacy, there is one guaranteed tactic you can use: ask them what you can do to help them grow their career or business.
Their replies could be anything from an introduction to potential clients, giving them access to an influencer they are looking to build a relationship with, or even 1-on-1 time with a key executive in your organization for an hour to help them think through a vexing business issue. You may not be able to accommodate all the requests from each of your brand’s influencers, but it’s very likely these conversations will give you some insights into your influencer community-at-large that you can apply more broadly.
Although the term thought leader has become a bit cliched, becoming a trusted and respected industry expert is at the top of many influencers professional development list. How can you help them achieve that? You can provide them with speaking opportunities at your annual conference or regional networking events, or even co-present with them at an industry conference.
If public speaking isn’t their thing, you can make a point of featuring your influencers in your content, and put a budget behind promoting that content, including mentions of that influencer.
Influencer recognition needs to reflect both your company’s unique culture and the depth and value of the influencer relationship. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to influencer recognition. Try out a mix of these approaches, then ask influencers for feedback, and see if these tactics have the desired result. And don’t forget the power an unexpected handwritten note accompanied by a piece of branded swag or another thoughtful token gift can have on making an influencer’s day.
To learn more about creating and building on your relationships with influencers, download Erika Heald’s on-demand webinar and read her recent Content Chat Recap about building an audience with influencer content.
This post was originally published on this site on November 3, 2016. We republish relevant content on Saturdays, in case readers missed them the first time around.
‘Tis the (new) season! For many, September means the start of a new school year, the beginning of autumn (9/22), fresh television, and the kickoff of football season. But the beginning of fall doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead of the game! Sign up to receive the monthly Social Sidekick emails sent straight to your inbox so you work all upcoming social holidays, hashtags, and world events into your content calendar weeks in advance. That way you can apple-pick and PSL your way through the autumn without resorting to #basic social media strategies.
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