Editor’s Note: Heather Whaling is presenting Creative PR: Delivering Your Story From Narrative and Design to Measurement at the PRSA 2015 International Conference on Sunday, Nov. 8, 4:45–5:45 p.m. The following is a guest post previewing her session.*
The media landscape has changed. So has the way consumers want to experience their news, information, entertainment and interaction. Today, smart PR requires a combination of creative storytelling, powerful visual imagery and data-driven decision making, which opens up a wide range of opportunities for PR pros. Let’s explore a few:
1. Up your visual storytelling game. A picture is worth a thousand words. But, when given a choice between the two, most PR pros would probably still choose the latter. After all, we’re trained to think in key messages and story lines – not necessarily photos and graphic design. Being able to show stories has become just as important as being able to tell them, so you have to incorporate visuals to get your messages heard. The good news? Tools like Wordswag, Canva and Piktochart make it easier than ever to create and share high-quality visuals and graphics – regardless of your design background.
2. Leverage data to create timely PR opportunities. We know media love data. We also know they appreciate when you make it a little easier for them to cover a story. Combine those two with a creative concept and you have the recipe for PR success. For example, we worked with a basketball-related startup to create an infographic guide to the Sweet 16. More importantly, we timed it to become available to media the day Sweet 16 games started. This landed coverage on CBSSports.com (huge since CBS had broadcast rights to the tournament and tons of people were going to their site to find news and updates), which led to 90,000+ views in one weekend. Keep in mind: Infographics are just one way to view data through a PR lens. You could also commission a survey or research, and then think through an interesting or unique way to distribute your findings.
3. Use social and content to amplify media placements. Anyone tasked with media relations knows securing a clip is just the first step. Getting a story placed should also trigger a series of other tactics to amplify its reach. Can you email a placement to clients and prospects? Launch a targeted Facebook or Twitter advertising campaign to promote it? Build e-books, tip sheets or other content around it? Think about who you want the clip to reach, and then come up with a creative promotional plan to get it in front of them.
4. Partner with influencers to extend your reach. For as much as the industry emphasizes and focuses on influencer marketing, I still think most PR pros are just scratching the surface when it comes to how they’re interacting and building relationships with these people. Simply trading a product in exchange for a blog post or paying someone to talk about your brand online may reap some short-term benefits, but it’s not effective in the long run. Not to mention it’s boring. Think beyond a basic blog post and create influencer campaigns to foster ongoing relationships: Invite them to co-create content, become a brand ambassador or beta tester, or co-host a virtual event series with your brand.
For more ideas to infuse creativity into your traditional and digital PR tactics, join me, Deirdre Breakenridge and Jason Sprenger on Sunday, Nov. 8, for our PRSA International panel: “Creative PR: Delivering Your Story From Narrative and Design to Measurement.” We’ll also share actionable tips and low-cost tools to help you embrace the new rules of communication.
Heather Whaling is founder and president of Geben Communication, a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm known for taking a fresh approach to traditional and digital PR best practices. Considered one of the most influential voices in PR, Heather’s work and industry perspective been included in Mashable, Entrepreneur, Inc.com and BusinessWeek. Additionally, she has been named a top PR/marketing pro to follow on Twitter by Convince & Convert, Cision, PR Newser and The Daily Muse. Follow her on Twitter @prTini