Tag Archive for PR

Public Relations: Top Tips for Social Media Integration

Your social marketing efforts aren’t a stand-alone effort! They also impact your traditional marketing, advertising, public relations, and customer service. Last week we explored how social media can support and enhance traditional marketing and advertising. Today we’ll look at how social media works with your PR campaign.

If you’ve been paying attention to news online, you’ve probably noticed a little story about an Applebee’s waitress, a Reddit photo, and the restaurant’s lackluster reaction to the whole fiasco. The key takeaway here is that social media now plays a critical role in your public relations, so it’s important to be proactive about it. A few guidelines to keep in mind as you use social media for PR:

  1. Use your platforms wisely.

    Facebook and your corporate blog aren’t the best place to post every last press release, but some savvy Twitter use can get you connections with key journalists. Use the platform to connect with these individuals–and give them information that’s really useful to them.

  2. Find the story.

    PR isn’t just about press releases! It’s about telling the story of your company and–more importantly–the people who make your business a success. As you put together your editorial calendar, weave in blogs about “everyday heroes” who make your business stand out. Perhaps it’s a regular customer who’s been coming to your restaurant since it opened, or maybe it’s the employee who spends every weekend volunteering.

  3. Send a consistent message.

    Branding impacts both marketing and PR, and it includes much more than just your logo. Your topics, tone and register all affect the way people perceive your business online. And ultimately public relations is about giving your audience a favorable impression of your business, no matter how they encounter it.

  4. Plan for the worst.

    Mistakes happen. You and your business won’t always be perfect and satisfy every customer. Increasingly, dissatisfied customers and clients take to social media to air their grievances, so you must have a plan in place for handling complaints. Decide who will respond and how. It may even be helpful to craft a few “go-to” responses, so that you don’t scramble to post something that actually makes the situation worse!

  5. Focus on connections and relationships.

    In the past, PR focused on one-way communications: sending out press releases, providing sound bites, getting media coverage. But consumers–and reporters–today expect something more. They’re truly looking to build relationships with your business….which requires two-way communication. Be willing to explore where that communication could lead, and find new ways to invite or enhance the conversations.

Next time we’ll delve into using social media to enhance and complement your customer service efforts.

How to Date a Social Media Professional

Dating can be difficult, especially if you’re stuck to your iPhone and iPad 24/7. After reading PR Daily’s “How to date a PR professional” article the other day, we got to thinking. Dating one of us may be even more challenging, because many of us have a journalism or public relations background before you even add Twitter streams, Facebook updates and geolocation-based applications.

So here are five things you need to know before dating a social media professional:

Hold on, let me tweet

The first thing you need to know when you’re going to date one of us is, well, we have to take a second to tweet, check in on Foursquare and update our status on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if the hostess is still seating us at the restaurant or our significant other is asking a question. Hey we aren’t egotistical. We don’t genuinely think everyone cares what we are doing and where we are at all times. But since are in the social media know, we feel obligated. Plus, what would our clients think if we didn’t?

We know what you are talking about

By you, we mean everyone. We will constantly surf the web, flip through our Flipboard app and check the latest trends on Twitter to keep up with the latest news. Whether it is a breaking headline or a funny article, we want to be the first to read it and share with others. We’re always looking for good content, whether it is for our personal use or for a client. Even if it is 1 a.m. and we are in bed with our iPad.

We can’t turn it off

Since we don’t really clock in and clock out for work, we find it hard to shut down completely. If a client emails us and wants something posted right away, we do it. If someone comments on a Facebook page we manage, we respond. That means that we are constantly connected. There is no set schedule, which may make it hard for us to ensure you that our dinner date will be at 7:00 p.m. sharp. On the flip side, we can usually take work wherever we go.

 We can’t believe you said that

We are avid writers by nature. We can’t stand grammatical errors. We take copy editing to a whole new level. If you use it’s instead of its or their instead of they’re, we have to use severe restraint not to comment on your post. We also won’t retweet what you said, even if it’s hysterical. We just can’t excuse those typos, and please don’t blame the 140-character limit.

We mind our manners (usually)

We may take our phones out at some of the most inappropriate times, but we’re not trying to be rude or ignore you. It’s our job. And in case you were wondering, we aren’t texting our friends while you’re talking to us, well not all the time! We are actually working. Social media doesn’t just happen by itself.#justsayin

But They Ignored My Press Release!

Businesses want their events covered. Period. But what if you sent out a press release (a.k.a. news release or media release) and everyone ignored it?

Unless you’ve worked in the media or with journalists closely for a long time, you may not realize how much it’s about timing. If breaking news happens, your event turns into an afterthought, even if the media promised to cover it. But what about the things you can do to make sure your release gets noticed, or at least not deleted?

  • Can you spell? As longtime St. Pete Times columnist, journalist & friend, Ernest Hooper told my PR Writing class at the University of Tampa recently. “Spell my name right!” Will your release be ignored if you spelled the name of writer incorrectly. Quite possibly. If you can’t spell his or her name right, what other errors are in your release? That includes spelling the name of the company correctly too! With every misspelling you lose credibility.
  • Is your event really news worthy? Can the journalist tell a story about it? Some events just aren’t worthy of huge media coverage, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with media contacts (reporter, editor, producer, etc.) that specifically focus on the subject matter. Believe me everyone else in the newsroom will thank you from clogging up their email accounts.
  • Do you have any connections? If you don’t, you could get ignored for a long time, unless your event is so huge it can’t be ignored (think President speaking in Tampa.) Take the time to introduce yourself to journalists, get to know them personally before it’s time to ask for something. This connection doesn’t guarantee coverage, but it definitely gives you the edge over a competitor.
  •  Did you send the release out far enough in advance? If you want until the last minute, the journalist most likely has another story planned. Many plan their schedules weeks in advance, so send a release about a month in advance. Plus, you’ll want to check back in with him/her about two weeks before the event.
  • Have you tried other outlets? With social media networking, you don’t always need traditional press to create a buzz about your event. Think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, etc. Post it on every free online resource available. Many traditional media outlets have an events section. Also, reach out to bloggers because many have loyal followers who are truly engaged which is better than a disinterested audience.
This certainly isn’t everything you need to know about writing a compelling press release, we’ll share more on that later, but it’s a great step in the right direction.
Last Straw Media wants to hear from you if you have any tips or experiences (either positive or negative) you want to share. Please leave a comment below.