Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stop Wasting Your PR Dollars: 5 Tips

Makovsky + Company sponsored the 2009 PR News Media Relations Conference on March 10, 2009, attended by about 200 organizations. I had the good fortune to address the group and offered the following tips.

When times get tough, people look for ways to save money and do more with less. Here are five tips on how to maximize your public relations dollars during turbulent times. Mostly my tips focus on the social media. Why? Because, worldwide, the Internet continues to be so influential, and, as an example, research indicates that it has become the most important source of business information for C-Level executives.

Further, you can reach the traditional media through the social media, as 84% of journalists say they visit blogs to source their stories. My blog about succession planning: “Remember the CEO Just Rents the Office” became the catalyst for a feature story in a recent issue of Chief Executive Magazine, which also cited a study by our client, Russell Reynolds Associates, on succession planning.

And in 2008 — as part of an integrated online strategy that also includes our website and search engine optimization — they’ve helped generate more than 14% of our new business leads! So Tip #1 is: If you don’t have a blog, get one!

Tip #2: Protect your turf. No other marketing discipline can do the job as well on web 2.0 as public relations can. One of our clients had been using an ad agency to write online content. It was great advertising copy, but it was not maximizing social media opportunities. We told the client, “… You should be talking to your constituencies … not at them. It’s about cultivating a dialogue … and that’s our province. Public relations fosters dialogue.” The result? We are now managing the client’s online communications program.

Tip #3: In public relations, we get what we want by giving other people what they want. What journalists want is content that has been reengineered — social media style. Today the vast majority of journalists want to be able to search a virtual newsroom that’s packed with the resources they need most, e.g. blog-style news summaries, .jpgs, deep-link charts, podcasts, RSS feeds and links to executives’ LinkedIn profiles, headshots and email addresses

Tip #4: Post relevant content. Late last year — when the economy had sucked nearly 30% out of the value of investors’ savings — B2B, the magazine for marketing strategists, spent a day looking at 20 of the most prominent corporate blogs in America to see how they were addressing the economic meltdown. Only two companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Benetton, attempted to offer any analysis of the situation.

My fifth and final tip: Be audit-proof. Don’t just monitor your company or client’s reputation with a simple Google search of the corporate name. Google your CEO and the names of other senior managers. Check out the blogs of employees and analysts. Scan bulletin boards, newsgroups and wikis. View the photos posted on Flickr and the videos on YouTube. Find out what’s being tweeted on Twitter. The more you know, the better able you are to correct misinformation and initiate a productive dialogue with your stakeholders and develop the best overall PR program.


Technorati Tags: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google, Benetton, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr

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