PR is Evolving, But Don’t Forget the Basics

CommPRO Global, Inc. |

It’s no secret that almost every industry has been forced to quickly evolve alongside the digital revolution. Operations that once took weeks to complete with computers the size of an entire room can now be accomplished in a few minutes with a computer that fits in your pocket or on your wrist.

The emergence of new, predominantly digital media has forced industry professionals to ask themselves two crucial questions: what is good press and how is it measured? But as we look to the future, we must also take lessons learned from the past. Old methods don’t need to be completely thrown-away. Rather, they now need to be fine-tuned, updated, and remain fluid in order to adapt to emerging technologies.

Here are some tips to help give you an edge when leveraging basic PR tactics:

Pitch like a Pro

There’s an obvious secret that start-ups and PR professionals often forget: Journalists and influencers don’t care about your company as much as you do.

Journalists often have as many as fifty or a hundred pitches flooding their inboxes a day. Almost every one of those pitches is some variation of this:

Dear (Influencer Name),

I’m (Your Name) and I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to (Brand Name), which is the most revolutionary thing to happen to (Type of Industry) since (Name of Something Else Revolutionary).

You get the point. Everyone thinks that their, or their client’s, product is amazing. However, it’s important to set your pitch apart from everybody else’s. The most effective way to do this is to tell your story. Instead of saying you’re great, say why you’re great.

A pitch that tells the human side of a business’s story – its rise to success, its fumbles, a funny anecdote – is much more likely to garner attention. While many companies turn to PR agencies for support, Communications Week’s inaugural sessions provided tips for startups and founders on DIY PR. Remember that refining your story through a succinct email to a journalist is one of the first steps in garnering media coverage.

Expand Your Scope of Media Targets

We now live in an age where media is consumed through a plethora of channels. To get your message across, it’s vital to create a content-driven ecosystem that effectively reaches and engages with consumers in the omnichannel universe we live in. The most adept framework for how PR professionals should go about reaching audiences across a variety of channels is the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model. Utilizing your earned media across paid, shared and owned media helps bring increased optimization and engagement.



In addition to driving earned media, one of the best ways to create buzz for a story over which you have full control is to create your own content. This could mean anything from whitepapers, to blog posts, to annual reports. In addition to hosting content on your own site, you’ll find that many blogs are now also publishers that are open to hosting external content. Take advantage of this. There are a seemingly endless list of blogs that are open to contributions, so apply to as many as you can!

While video killed the radio star (and then Youtube arguably killed the video star), the podcast star is as alive as it’s ever been. There are countless podcasts, both large and small, that cover almost every genre, sub-genre, and sub-sub-genre imaginable. More importantly, podcasts are gaining popularity at a surprising rate. Some shows boast hundreds of thousands of loyal listeners, so it’s important to approach them all.

Another great way to influence public perception is to actually be in the public. One of the most effective ways to do this is to speak at as many events as possible. Again, just like with Podcasts and Blogs, sometimes less is more here. While a speaking opportunity at a top-3 conference is a great honor, you may find that a group of fifty people with a specialized interest in your industry may be more impacted than a group of 2,000 who barely know who you are.

Provide valuable PR measurements

With a variety of new, exciting and unique PR opportunities comes a variety of reporting techniques. Simply using the old method of Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) as a measure of success doesn’t cut it anymore.

Outputs measure the general reach of your PR program. So depending on the medium, would include number of articles shares, share of voice, tonality and total reach. We break up output measurements into Media Pickup (Total Clips & Social Shares per Article), Media Tone, and Outlet Ranking.

Outcomes measure equal behavior and perceptions that result from PR activities. This can be done by adding to your new business survey and or follow-up communications that are sent out by your sales teams when winning new business to measure whether the PR activity is affecting audience change.

Lastly, business results impact your business goals and could include revenue, contracts closed, employee retention and purchasing intentions.

While this is an exciting time for PR, with more and more emerging technologies reshaping the ways we communicate, it’s important to keep in mind the tried-and-true tactics of traditional PR and how we can best adapt them in the evolving landscape the industry is in.

About the Author: Tiffany Guarnaccia is the founder and CEO of Kite Hill PR. Tiffany has over a decade of media relations experience in both agency and in-house positions. Recognized as one of PR News’ Women to Watch in public relations, Tiffany has a passion for communications. She is also the founder of the first industry week dedicated to serving those in, and interested in, the PR, media and communications industry, Communications Week.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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