Public relations in 2022 requires a multi-pronged approach—one that encompasses not just outreach but also ongoing amplification via (you guessed it) social media.
In this post, we’ll walk you through this critical (but often overlooked) element of the PR campaign process, as well as the short- and long-term benefits it can offer your brand.
Let’s get started!
The first thing to know: PR is much more than press hits
The good news is that getting that press hit is only the beginning of what strategic public relations can do for you. The field has expanded massively, and with it, the opportunities to reach new audiences in new formats.
Social media has given brands an outlet to repurpose their press hits over and over again, each time growing their brand following and boosting their reputation.
So instead of referring mainly to instances of public exposure—the press hit, the speaking engagement—PR today means an ongoing conversation with the public. Press hits are a part of that, certainly, but they should be the starting point, not the end goal.
In addition, as the digital ecosystem has grown and evolved, so too have the types of opportunities available. Product Hunt campaigns for tech product-based businesses, podcast interviews, livestream Q&A sessions—these are all ways for brands to get their messages out to a larger audience outside of the traditional PR outlets.
How does social media fit into a PR campaign?
When you’re developing a PR campaign or working with a PR agency that’s developing these campaigns for you, there are essentially three stages to go through:
- Research and discovery
- Amplification (this is where social media comes in)
Research and discovery
In the research and discovery phase, you or your PR agency is researching outlets, journalists, angles, YouTube channels, etc. to lay the groundwork for your outreach.
If you’re working with an agency, this is also the time when they’ll be doing research on your brand and getting to know you and your team. This may take the form of interviews with leadership (especially if you’re including thought leadership in your PR efforts), calls with your team and your agency account team, or questionnaires that your team fills out.
Finally, you’ll need to set a goal for your PR efforts. If they’re ongoing, the goal may be continued brand growth as measured by a specific KPI—social shares, or followers, or sales increases, for example.
If the campaign is around something specific—like a company milestone or a new product launch—then you’ll have a more narrowly defined goal. Perhaps it’s selling X number of your new products, or getting a regular column in an industry journal, etc.
Once you’ve completed this phase, it’s time to move into pitching.
This is the outreach stage. It’s time to actually contact the journalists, bloggers, YouTube personalities, interviewers, and others whom you’ve identified in the research phase.
And while emailing is always a good bet, social media actually comes in quite handy here, as well.
A huge number of journalists and podcasters use social media to find new stories, new subjects, and learn about issues (especially Twitter). So while you should always find the email contact information for people you’re contacting, it’s also a good idea to search on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms to see the kind of stories they’re interested in covering and the accounts they follow.
Another reason to scope out social media during this stage is that some of the people you want to pitch will be more open to connecting on a social platform than through email. Some even specify there communication preferences in their profiles.
Pitching is also when you secure press opportunities, from interviews to speaking engagements to quotes.
Once these engagements have been completed, it’s time to move into the all-important—yet often overlooked—third stage: amplification. This is where we see just how powerful social media can be for your brand.
Related post: 6 Common Mistakes B2B Brands Make When Pitching Media
First, let’s define amplification in PR terms.
Typically what happens when a brand gets a press hit is that they post it on their website, maybe share it once or twice on social, and use it as a reputation builder to get more press hits later on.
And that’s fine. But amplification goes much further.
Amplification can mean multiple different things, including:
- Creating facebook ads with your press hits
- Developing owned content referencing or inspired by the press hit
- Sharing and promoting it on social media
- Using the press to attract influencers
- And more—depending on what the hit is
These are all powerful ways to get more mileage out of every PR opportunity, no matter how big or small.
In terms of social media, it’s important to go beyond the simple sharing of the link with your followers.
You want to use the press hit to generate more engagement and more opportunities to engage with your social accounts.
So a starting point would be to take out quotes, stats, or interesting facts from the press hit and use them to create multiple different quote cards that you share over time on social. In each post, you’d want to link back to the press hit, but you also want people to spend some time with your brand’s social account.
Related post: The Critical Point Where Most PR Agencies Fail
The content is a way to get people interested, and naturally, it’s great if they want to go check it out at the link—but the real purpose here is to boost engagement with your brand on social platforms.
Another thing to do is to create new content, like a blog post, a webinar, a podcast, etc. that builds on topics you discussed in the PR hit.
Then, you can share the new content via social media and reference the press hit and outlet you were featured in, but keep the focus on the owned content you’re sharing.
Finally, PR engagements can be the missing piece when it comes to getting influencers interested in your brand. When you get a great piece of press, you can connect with influencers you’re interested in via social media, share your press hits, and engage with them. And the more effective and interesting your own social content is, the more likely it is that influencers will want to partner with your brand.
What are the benefits of including social media in your PR campaigns?
Social media allows you to share your press hits and PR wins with a much wider audience than the initial press hit itself will reach. Incorporating a social media marketing strategy into your PR campaigns also allows you to repurpose each press hit and use it to generate even more original content, further boosting your reputation and engagement.
This has the short-term benefit of getting more eyes on your brand and potentially contributing to increased sales and better lead gen.
The long-term benefit, however, is even greater: PR campaigns that include a social element can greatly increase the potential of each and every press hit your brand gets by giving that hit a much longer life than it would, simply by appearing in the outlet, being shared once, and then fading into the background.
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