Don’t forget about PR – public relations (not press release).
Public relations is a valuable way to increase brand visibility. In episode 219 of Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller included the press release as one of the key pieces of a campaign. While I agree with him, I believe he was thinking too small. He should have said don’t forget public relations. A press release is only part of the public relations efforts.
My guest this week, Julie Livingston of Want Leverage Communications, shares how public relations can elevate the presence of a brand but it is not enough to just send out a press release. The way we consume media has grown and evolved over the last 20 years, which means public relations needed to evolve as well.
An ever-evolving profession
Today journalists work differently. Instead of being assigned to one key “beat” to cover, like education or healthcare, they are now expected to cover several. Social media added a new level of complexity and has fundamentally changed the way we consume news. Expectations of strategic partnerships have grown to include much more responsibility from both partners (social media influencers can’t exist without a social platform.)
As the profession has transformed, the use of a press release, before viewed as the starting point of a campaign and sent to a very broad segment of journalists, is now used in a much more targeted and strategic manner. The “spray and pray” approach no longer works.
It is important to find the journalists where they spend the majority of their time and build relationships with them. If you are in charge of PR for your company, you better get comfortable on Twitter because that is where the journalists live. These relationships can be the pathway to media coverage.
Make it easy for journalists to find out information about you and your business by creating a newsroom page on your website. This page should include key messages, topics you are considered an expert to speak on, images, credentials, and awards. By simplifying the process for them, you create a trusting relationship with them and they will more likely to come back to you the next time they need a subject matter aspect in your industry.
Public relations at the leadership table
Most successful when they have a seat at the leadership table – because the perspective of the brought by this discipline can help be more prepared for and anticipate the challenges that may arise as a result of the decision. We bring the voice of the customer to the leadership table and look at a broader perspective than the individuals who represent solely finance, operations, or human resources.
About Julie Livingston
Julie Livingston is a public relations expert helping “under the radar” companies and brands break through the clutter to increase their industry authority, driving both web traffic, inquiries and sales. She’s worked across industry sectors, including health and wellness, manufacturing, professional services, consumer products and technology. Clients have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Today Show, The Hill, STAT News and more.
Active in the communications industry, Julie has served on the board of NY Women in Communications thrice and launched a reverse mentoring initiative that was profiled on FOX TV. The crisis communications planning template Julie created is featured in PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook Volume 4 and in the American Society of Association Executives Resource Center.
Julie holds a B.A. in Communications from CUNY/Queens College and an M.S. in Communications Management from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Other resources mentioned in this episode:
- You’re Doing Resolutions Wrong. Here’s how to fix it. Ten Percent Happier, Dan Harris and Dr. Laurie Santos
- How to make any communications campaign a success, Building a Story Brand, episode 219
- Five tactics to include in your next campaign, The Pursuit of Purpose, episode 63
- Marketing Director On Call with Amy
- Doctors are on call. Why not a Marketing Director?
- The Pursuit of Purpose archive. Easily access all past episodes.
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