4 Secrets to a 2.0 PR Strategy

Creating a positive and engaging brand is different than in the old, one-way communications flow of press releases and pitches. The good news is there are more ways to engage, the challenge is you must stay on your toes and on top of the innovations and opportunity to connect in the realm of PR. Think of current PR as the new improved version of communications, the 2.0 version of your public relations strategy!

Show Up and Engage

Two-way engagement is key for today’s PR strategy. Consumers feel more connected to your brand when they know real humans are not only behind it but care about them. They want to be seen as individuals rather than a marketing target. Through empathizing with customers, you show that you care about them, while showing what your brand is all about. An important way to help with humanize your brand is to establish core values for your company and lead based on those core values. Crackerjack Marketing explains, “People respond to people – it’s that simple. Steer away from the robotic marketing tactics and instead focus on being relatable, interesting, and most importantly, relatable. Have you ever visited a blog and noticed that an “admin” created all of their posts? Who is this “admin” you speak of and do they have a name? Appearing mysterious is just not going to work in your favor in this scenario. Your audience not only wants to understand the “why” behind what your brand is doing, but they also want to get to know your brand itself and the people behind it.” Everything done in the company should be in line with those values, including your PR.

Get Feedback

Two-way communications is the heart of strategic PR. One great example of this is reviews. Positive reviews are important for your business; too many bad reviews will turn customers away, as we know. Podium explains, “84% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends as long as they meet certain criteria like authenticity, being in the right industry, and having multiple reviews on the same site.” You should never fabricate reviews or pay people for reviews without proper disclosure. The truth has a way of coming out, and when it does, it can hurt your brand. Remember that customers who receive a sample of your product in exchange for a review also need to disclose this information in their reviews, so that you don't get in trouble.

Collaborate with Influencers

Influencer marketing has become more important in business over the years. Consumers now have more trust in influencers than they do in traditional advertising. Pixlee explains, “you want to connect with influencers, so they will speak about your brand. Ideally, you want them to say positive things about your company, but when you pay an influencer for a review, keep in mind you have limited control over what is said.” Authenticity is important to influencers because it's how they gathered a loyal audience. Make sure to collaborate with influencers who like your product and have similar values as your company. Just as with compensating customers for reviews, disclosure is required when you compensate an influencer.

Use Native Advertising

Although PR is correctly identified as an earned, not paid, communications channel, there is synergy with certain paid promotional communications. Native advertising is non-promotional content that's natural in its environment. Sharethrough explains, “Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Native ads match the visual design of the experience they live within, and look and feel like natural content.” Although it appears to be informative content, there is still a goal of introducing readers to your brand. Traditional advertising isn't as effective on consumers as it used to be because people have come to view it as too pushy. Native advertising tells a story. It doesn't have salesy or promotional content. How do you inform people of your brand this way? Oftentimes, you'll have your brand name somewhere on the page stating the content was sponsored by your company.

To create an effective PR strategy, you need to be authentic with your brand communications, pay attention to feedback, collaborate with influencers and use native advertising. These are some of the most powerful strategies being used today in PR 2.0, the new, expanded approach to collaborative communications.

If you’re looking for managed public relations that digitally connects you with your customers, let PRA Public Relations help!

FINTECH: Thought Leadership Field Guide

FINTECH:  Thought Leadership Field Guide

Blockchain is much more than a swift mention in the rush to the next ICO or utility token. Blockchain is the digital backbone of an enterprise, and is poised to transform operational efficiency, transparency and security. But how to talk about it so it makes sense outside of the digital operati? This blog discusses the strategic road map to thought leadership in the critical sector of blockchain.


World Press Freedom Day PRA Public Relations

One day a year, the world takes a deep-dive look at the power of the press.  But why not make the case for checking in on the health of the fourth estate on a daily basis?

Media trends, transparency, tools and access to intelligence are the bread and butter of the trade, and journalists face an every-day battle to do the work they were born to do:  cover the key features and breaking news of the world and industry, and apply needed context.  Attention to this critical mission should be on the minds, and the reading radar, of all of us, every day, right along with the journalists struggling to deliver credibility, vital news and relevance to our inboxes, devices and doorsteps.

Powerful Statistics, Sobering Reality

As citizens and residents of the United States, we take the First Amendment and its guarantee of freedom of the press as a given.  However, there are some sobering statistics we should look at.

The "didn't see that coming" statistic?  This country does not lead the way in freedom of press rights; we don't even rank in the top three.  Or even the top twenty:

According to Reporters without Borders, the United States ranks 43rd out of 180 countries for press freedom.

Across several political administrations, the fourth estate has dealt with suppression of information, attempts to reveal sources, intimidation and other factors.  And, in a sobering call to reality, journalists deal with much more than simple repression. As of today, over 13 journalists in 2017 alone have been killed in the pursuit of news.

Yes, journalists are the gatekeepers of information for our society, and they can pay a steep price for their commitment. 

What can we do, not just on World Press Day, but everyday, to help them in their mission, while guaranteeing our continued access to free and unfettered press?  Here are some simple steps:

  • Stay informed:  Not just from your favorite news sources, but a cross-section of media.  Understanding what's being shared, whether it's "true news," and being on top of media issues and trends is half the battle.  Rights and freedoms, whether press or otherwise, are often lost simply because people aren't paying attention.
  • Support legitimate news sources:  Yes, dive in behind the paywall, and pay up.  Quality news coverage costs money to produce.  We as a society have gotten used to the incredibly rich stream of information and content available to us.  Let's be grateful for this access, and put our money where are reading eyes are.  Some top media sites charge less than the cost of a cup of coffee for digital access, so sign up!
  • Question content:  There's a wealth of good guidance out in the digital world, providing guidance on whether news and reporting is truly independent and legitimate, or a paid-content attempt to influence.  The International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions has created this helpful infographic to provide context:  How to Spot Fake News

There's Hope in the Next Generation

There's a bright spot in all of this, however; and it's called the next generation. 

The Washington Post sponsored a student essay competition, which caught my eye. Designed for students in grades four - eight, it's an extraordinary "from the mouth of babes" look at what it means to have freedom of the press, here and abroad.

This year's winner is Jahnavi Dave, an eighth-grader, and her take-away was impressive:

Free press and technology go hand in hand. - Jahnavi, Dave, 8th Grader

Individuals and entities may use technology to chip away at the transparency and credibility of the press; but savvy media consumers, and tech-conversant next-generation readers also understand that technology is a powerful tool for protecting and accessing a free and independent press.

So, make every day World Press Day, and use both your rational judgment and the tools of technology to read, share and elevate the best efforts of the journalists committed to reporting on the news, trends and issues that so impact our lives.

By Pam Abrahamsson, founder, PRA Public Relations | @Pam_A

Rock Star Media Secrets for Social Impact Thought Leaders

Wow!  I had the privilege of being part of Portland's annual Hacking Social Impact 2016. The place was chock full of social impact entrepreneurs and change agents, and I was proud to be there with them.  I had the chance to help these thought leaders become better equipped to get their message out through partnership and effective sharing with the media.

Would you like to get in on the how-to's of effective dialogue with journalists?  Just click through for your free presentation on being a "Social Impact Rock Star" - and let me know what you think!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Portland Radio Project, who kindly hosted the day's event at their iconic headquarters!