The world’s communication landscape is bigger and broader than it has ever been before. New and evolving technology has opened up literally millions of doors to both hyper-focused and broad distribution sources of information. And, consumers of all types in the U.S. and around the world cannot get enough of it.
A strategic and purposeful media relations program takes advantage of that hunger for information and creates an ongoing gateway for organizations to share their stories and news in a way that engages the public and truly differentiate themselves from their competitors. Every press release that is published, every media interview conducted and each blog post written can communicate something of value to target audiences and ultimately elicit an intended action.
Here are three ways that a public relations program can benefit and elevate your business in 2015:
The first way a business can elevate itself in 2015 is to simply raise greater awareness for its products and/or services in the marketplace.
Filling headlines in newspapers, blogs or industry trade journals is one of the best (and least expensive) ways to remain top of mind. Positive articles that appear online boost your digital presence by improving your search rankings and opening new avenues to communicate with your target audiences. However, keep in mind that the best way to build awareness is through consistency. A great article in a newspaper or a high-profile TV interview, while great, should not be viewed as the conclusion of your efforts. Effective media relations programs are the result of a dedicated process, not a single event. To truly remain top of mind, build a process and stick to it. It will pay huge dividends.
A second way that a strategic media relations program can elevate your business is by boosting your credibility. Great public relations campaigns not only raise awareness, they build brand affinity, trust and admiration. Every positive media placement that your company is able to earn represents a strong third-party endorsement of your product or service. Your audiences are not interested in hearing you tell them how great you are. They are drawn to, and motivated by, third party endorsements and the media still remains one of the most respected information sources available to us today.
With each media opportunity, remember to be intentional about what you communicate to a reporter and ultimately to your audience. Each interview is an opportunity to differentiate your organization from your competitors. Communicate something of interest and value – be helpful, fix a problem, tell a unique or interesting story and give the reporter (and the customer) a reason to contact you in the future.
Demonstrate Thought Leadership
Lastly, a proactive media relations strategy can elevate your business by showcasing thought leadership. Organizations and executives that are willing to share their insights and expertise can effectively “own” a category, trend or industry. Think of the economist that you hear each week on the local news radio station or the attorney that comments on every wrongful death or product liability case in the region. Although very different, the two professionals have positioned themselves as the go-to sources in their respective fields. Another example could be an injection molding company that has committed to writing four quarterly articles on lean manufacturing for one of their industry trade publications. These opportunities earn both the professionals and their organizations greater awareness and credibility while also positioning them as thought leaders amongst their target audiences. It’s important to note that just like the media relations process in general, positioning a professional or a company as a thought leader takes time and effort. Like trust, thought leadership is earned.
As the traditional and new media landscapes continue to evolve to expand in 2015, organizations have an amazing opportunity to leverage those communication channels to elevate their brands. The “canvass” has never been larger, and access has never been easier. Media relations are about content, and there will always be a place for great content. Think of yourself as a storyteller. To be successful you will need to have a great story. You will have a strong delivery. And, you will need to always leave them wanting more.