(If you like this blog, please share it. Thanks!)
If your communications/PR program amounts to sending out a couple press releases a year about product launches, then you don’t really have a program.
A communications/PR program must be 100 percent integrated into a company’s overall, business planning. It combines multiple platforms and formats to communicate a series of unified messages. Yes, this includes press releases. But it also involves a full-service approach that strategically incorporates blogs, speaking engagements, podcasts, social-media campaigns, mainstream/industry press byliners and other efforts.
Ultimately, the program positions a company’s executives as thought leaders who are on the “first call” speed dial for any reporter who’s seeking an expert to quote – quickly.
Which means a “one and done/then wait until next year” approach simply won’t work.
Don’t get me wrong. At our high-tech PR agency, we get requests all the time from clients asking us to put out a press release when they have a new launch coming out. We’ll tell them that we’re happy to do that. But we’ll also indicate that there’s a limited amount of value in posting and distributing a press release and then doing nothing else.
Sure, a release may get some minor pickup in a business briefs section. Maybe a reporter will even use an executive quote from it. But is that the extent of what you really want?
Of course not. While we occasionally will do a piecemeal project at our firm, we’re far, far more often acting as counselors/consultants for our clients, coming up with a carefully plotted “script” that will produce a steady drumbeat of coverage. This coverage will certainly raise awareness about the products you sell through our content marketing services. But, more importantly, it will establish a presence about the kind of company you run, and the industry expertise/passions of your executives.
This isn’t an exercise in personal ego-stroking either. It’s about connecting with future customers. Prospects want to partner with a business that’s constantly in the news, staying ahead of trends instead of following the pack behind them. They’ll go to your Website to find out how active the content is. They’ll want to know how routinely you update your blogs/podcasts, and how frequently your leadership team is quoted in the news.
So when you sit down with a PR company, take the time to evaluate how all the various forms of digital and traditional communications can best serve your messaging needs. Come up with a year-round calendar/timeline/matrix that identifies the timing of specific projects that includes content marketing. (Perhaps a twice-weekly blog, monthly podcast, targeted speaking events, twice-yearly white papers, etc.) And leave adequate wiggle room to account for rapid-response plans, which ensure that your executives are foremost in mind when big news breaks.
When this happens, you’ll realize that you’ve accomplished more through the year than sending out a couple press releases. You’ll know that you’ve built a lasting program that will pay dividends for the indefinite future.
Evan Weisel is co-founder and principal at W2 Communications.