Brian Conlin writes about how some companies often risk becoming “Public Relations Zombies”. This means the company doesn’t interact with people on a ‘personal way’. So, he’s come up with some tips that companies can follow to avoid the PR zombie apocalypse. Three tips stood out to me.
- “Respond to comments on Twitter with employee accounts as opposed to the company’s branded account”. I thought this was a cool idea! If some of your individual company’s employees had their own twitter account they could talk to customers directly. This would help customer’s appreciate that there are real people behind these brands.
- “Strive to include a video or image to supplement text in one of every three social media posts.” I thought this was a useful strategy. One PR Company that I follow on Facebook regularly posts pictures of life in their office. They post pictures of lunch dates they go on, new employees, and little parties they have around the office. This really makes them look like a fun company to work with or for!
- “Build relationships with industry reporters by commenting on articles and connecting on social media.” This one is particularly important with how media is becoming increasingly diverse. It’s important that you manage to keep up a relationship with writers/media creators whom your audience thinks is credible. If you can build a relationship with those people, it’ll be easier to get them to introduce your product to their audience.
This is great advice for any PR professional!
By David Meerman Scott
The second edition of ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’ was published in 2010 by David Meerman Scott. Scott is an online marketing strategist and the author of many marketing books. He graduated from Kenyon College in 1983. After that, he worked in different forms of online news for 22 years. During this time, he came up with his philosophy for the ‘New Rules of Marketing and PR’. He found through his online news jobs, that traditional expensive marketing tactics were ineffective. They didn’t work nearly as well as using the new online ways of publishing. He found that publishing free content on the web got his company way more attention than trying to buy advertising time.
His work in the online news industry helped provide the inspiration for “The New Rules for Marketing and PR”. The book claims that the ‘Old Rules of Marketing’ are ineffective. Scott believes the old rules were basically about trying to “control the message”. Scott said, the old rules of marketing believed that the only way to reach your audience was to pay a lot of money to get advertising time or beg journalists to publish your content. Instead, in the ‘new rules’ marketers can reach their audience directly. With the web, they can easily and cheaply publish their own content online and reach their audience directly. Scott believes that this has dramatically changed how marketers should operate.
Scott has many different rules that make up his book. However, three rules stand out to me particularly. First, Scott says in his book now days “PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience”. Instead of trying to get your company on the TV that everyone watches or in the newspaper that everyone reads, PR professionals can now focus on very niche audiences. This opens a whole new world for businesses. Instead of writing and publishing for a broad audience, PR professionals need to know exactly who they are talking to.
The second rule that stood out to me was “Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it”. Scott says that the Old Rules dictated that marketing professionals were to pay for “interruptions” in the consumer’s lives, that would get their attention. They would regularly interrupt the consumer’s lives with advertisments that they hoped their consumers would pay attention to. Instead of paying for interuptions, Scott thinks that marketers should look for ways to deliver their message, right when a consumer is looking to hear your message. For example, if you were working at a company that sold high quality mattresses, Scott would argue you shouldn’t waste your money buying advertising space on TV. Instead you should find out what your audience does when they realize they need a new mattress. What search terms do they use? Who do they trust to give them honest reviews? What mediums do they look at when they’re making their purchase decisions? Youtube? Google? Certain bloggers? These are the new questions that Scott asserts we should be asking ourselves. The questions could lead you to inserting yourself into the conversation, right when your buyer is preparing to make their purchase.
The third rule, Scott repeated many times throughout the book. He says over and over that “you are what you publish”. This is almost a theme throughout the book. Scott believes that your company essentially creates itself by what it publishes online. I thought this rule was particularly useful for college students and professionals. People always tell us to watch what we put on Facebook. However, they never point out that “You are what you publish”. If you want to seem like a PR professional, then you should be online talking about Public Relations. You can’t just hide everything on your Facebook, and put nothing online about yourself. You have to be out there engaging with the world or else you’re essentially nothing. This rule is also important for companies. You need to create an online persona for your company that seems engaging and useful for your company’s audience. This persona needs to be consistent or else your audience is going to be confused about exactly who you are. So companies need to keep in mind that everything they publish helps consumers decide exactly who they think that company is.
Overall, I understand why so many PR professionals insist that everyone in the industry should be reading this book. Scott has done an amazing job at laying out how PR and Marketing has changed over the past decade or two. For me, he confirmed many of the things I already knew. Still, it was incredibly useful to read the new rules. It confirmed and elaborated on what I already felt was a good way to use online marketing. Before Scott’s book, and books like it, there weren’t many people saying Public Relations people have to be using online media. So what Scott does, is give credibility to the idea, that public relations has moved online and has dramatically changed. Overall, I thought this book was an essential read for anyone trying to market anything online.
Arik Hanson writes how Bieber isn’t just an awesome but is also a great Public Relations expert. In fact, he thinks we could even learn a few tricks of the trade from him. He lists 7 different lessons he says he’s learned from the Biebs.
- Work one-on-one with customers
- Give, Give, Give
- Have Fun
- Know the Power of One Fan
- Know it’s all About the Hair
- Share the Love
- Work, but don’t overdo it
Hanson writes about how he and his little daughter watched Justin Bieber’s movie, “Never Say Never” and he couldn’t help but pick up on some awesome Public Relations things Bieber did. One thing that Hanson mentioned that stood out to me, was rule number two, “Give, Give, Give”. In that section, he talks about how in the movie before one of Bieber’s concerts, Justin goes out and talks to young girls in the neighborhood and hands out free tickets. The girls are overjoyed! The article points out that this build immense fan loyalty. First, the girls who received the tickets will probably never forget this. Second, the families and friends of the girls will probably always remember how happy Bieber made their friend.
This is useful advice for any business. Often we’re scared to give away things because we worry it’s going to cost us so much money. However, businesses tend to forget how much money brand loyalty can make a company. Bieber does a good job at realizing that long term goals with your consumers are more important than your short terms goals.
I started listening to Inside PR, a public relations podcast, last spring and I’ve fallen in love! I am convinced it’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways for a public relations student to stay up to date about all things PR. So I’ve created a list of all the reasons I think my fellow K-State PR students should be tuning in!
- It’s important to stay up to date on all things PR. Public Relations is all about staying up to date about what’s going on. So you can make sure you’re staying up to date about the world of PR, by simply listening to Inside PR. Every week they “take a look at the state of the PR industry, explore topical and provocative issues, discuss listener comments, and even interview a guest or two”.
- You’ll learn new things. For example, do you know what SEO means? Do you know how to use it? What does it mean for your company? What does it mean for your customers? Who exactly are the people behind all this SEO? If you listened to the latest episode of Inside PR, you would know the answers to these questions. Just sayin’.
- They give you all the dirt on the latest conferences. You’re in Hale, studying and eating your ramen- just like any good PR student. However, in your heart your deepest desire is that you could be attending the PRSA International Conference in San Francisco on Oct 13-16th. But alas! You’ve just spent your last $4 on the raman and the redbull sitting in front of you and for some reason your professors are insisting these “midterm” things or whatever is important for you to study for. But don’t you worry! If you listen to Inside PR, you’ll be hearing interviews from some of the best speakers at the conference!
- They’re experienced! Didn’t your mom ever tell you to listen to your elders? Who knew listening to your elders would come in podcast form! Gini Dietrich, Joseph Thronley and Martin Waxman are all founders of their own PR/Communication firms. They’ve had years of experience in the field. Dietrich has been blogging for 6 years and is the author of Marketing in the Round. Joseph Thorneley is the CEO of Thornley Fallis and 76 Design, a firm that provides “strategic communications and public relations advice and counsel to senior executives in large public and private sector organizations”. Waxman has been working in Public Relations for over 25 years and has helped found 3 public relations firms! Now that’s some experience any student should want to learn from.
- Case Studies Galore! Remember when Professor Gordon told us why we bother to study case studies? We want to learn about what other people did wrong and what they did right! Case studies are incredibly valuable to any PR professional. So, when you tune into InsidePR, almost always you hear a story about what a company did wrong or what a company did right. For example, two weeks ago they talked about an errant tweet that a Kitchen Aid employee sent out about Obama. Kitchen Aid quickly removed the tweet but not before it was copied and posted all over the internet! Kitchen ended up firing the employee and writing an apology about the tweet. The podcast discusses how companies should handle accidental tweets.
- You’ll know which books to read. We all know that college does not give us nearly enough books to read. Everyone’s had that situation where you’ve been sitting at your laptop watching Netflix, and all you can think is “If only I could be reading about public relations, then I would be living the dream”. However, you just don’t know what to read. So sadly, you’re pretty much forced to continue your weekend South Park marathon. Well, never again will this happen to you! Thanks to InsidePR, you will always know what books are popular among all the hip PR pros. To start you out, I would recommend “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott, and “Marketing in the Round” by Gini Dietrich.
- It’s easy! Just download the podcast on your smartphone/mp3 player and you can listen to the podcast wherever you want! On your way to Kedzie in the morning, at the rec, or when you’re in line for Chipotle are all great times to listen. This show is an effortless and entertaining way to stay up to date on the world of PR.