As we all know very well, Public Relations (PR) is constantly evolving and will continue to do so!
The many avenues and platforms utilised to promote brands and communicate messages to the public are growing. So, out of the many methods of communication and tools that have emerged in recent years to help you raise your organisation’s profile, what should you be prioritising this year?
1. Thought leadership
• Digital and social media has given people access to a wealth of information, but the content that resonates most with social media is thought-provoking, educational and useful.
• This is why thought leadership – where senior management of organisations position themselves as experts in their sectors – is so vital. This means your CEO or spokesperson needs to remain visible as leaders and really influence their audiences.
• Content produced on their behalf must present ideas, address your target market’s needs and provide solutions. This will not only ensure that the public remains engaged, but also that they begin to trust your product or service.
2. Establishing ‘micro-influencers’
• It is increasingly important for all organisations – public, private or third sector – to leverage influencers. Influencers can be used as a great way to distribute information and also contribute to content – which essentially promotes your brand – in their own unique voice.
• The challenge, however, is identifying authentic influencers who can actually talk to their followers and target audiences, and make that direct impact. There is less of a demand for celebrities or the use of commercialised influencers, and this is because the public now understand that people are just being paid to be ambassadors or “voices” for certain brands and organisations.
• Carefully selecting ‘micro-influencers’ – ambassadors who won’t necessarily have millions to reach out to, but who are trusted within their networks and on social media – can lead to stronger engagement numbers and more direct results or impact.
• PR used to sit as part of your communications department and SEO with marketing. But now, as Google continues to reward high-quality content on websites that people are utilising more, the two are completely intertwined.
• Essentially, once you as a company are publishing interesting thought leadership content from your CEO, and are securing high-quality press coverage for your brand, this has to be elevated online and “optimised” to affect search results. It’s all about balance: building the right links at the right time. Key press publications now all factor in SEO and understand that it helps drive traffic to their sites as well.
• The ability to measure and track your communications is huge at the moment. Every brand can get an idea of reach, engagement numbers etc from PR efforts via analytics, and it is becoming increasingly important to see the return on your investment. It’s still not the easiest thing to do, but that’s why really understanding your target audiences is necessary, and utilising that information to create shareable content online.