As PR practitioners, we’re getting to grips with social media, and in many cases, getting our hands dirty. But how many of us are going beyond token, tactical use of social media and developing a real strategy? In her book PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences, Deirdre Breakenridge warns: “when constructing your PR plan, or strategising for your campaign, you need to proceed with a fine balance; that of a traditional PR strategy and that of your new social media approach.”
Here are some practical steps towards developing a successful PR 2.0 strategy.
- listen to your audience – find out where they are and what they care about
- identify opportunities – avoid crowded conversations and find a place where your voice can resonate
- PRO TIP: use this time to connect with your audience – interact with their content, and they are more likely to share yours
- create content around your client or company, not about it – avoid promotional messaging and create interesting, original content
- create content worth sharing – visuals like images, videos and infographics are usually shared more widely
- PRO TIP: customise content for different channels and audience sub-sets to ensure optimal performance
- choose a web platform that supports all content types and allows for complete Search Engine Optimisation
- select a set of popular, relevant keywords and optimise all your content towards them
- PRO TIP: don’t forget the images. Images rank well in search engines if everything is optimised, from title to caption to ALT text to file name, etc.
- use your own social media presence to give your content an initial push
- promote all the angles – your content should contain multiple, shareable ideas to be communicated across different channels
- PRO TIP: use traditional PR to support your 2.0 strategy – for example, by using a press release to boost traffic to a blog post
- enable and encourage sharing – with buttons for sharing to major social sites, embed codes, and calls to action prompting people to share
- choose the correct channels for your content – entertainment works well on Facebook, but informative content is better suited to LinkedIn and SlideShare
- PRO TIP: bookmark. Social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can open up new audiences for your content
- measure the reach of your content – who saw, shared and interacted with it
- record the results of your communication – in click-throughs, registrations, downloads, etc.
- PRO TIP: report the ROI of your PR 2.0 strategy to prove its worth to your company or client
While the world’s top PR firms more than tripled their revenue from 1994 to 2000 , the emergence of social media caused a seismic shift in their profession. Brian Solis coined the term PR 2.0 to describe the new approach required of the industry: PR is no longer spin or publicity, and PR doesn’t stand for “press release” but for “Public Relations”. (read full post here)
Deidre Breakenridge, who co-authored “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” with Solis, has defined Eight New Practices for the PR Professional:
1. The Policymaker
2. Internal Collaboration Generator
3. Crisis Prevention Doctor
4. Communications Technology Tester
5. Reputation Task Force Member
6. Organizer of the Communications Process
7. Relationship Analyzer
8. Master of the Metrics
All of these new roles are embodied by a new kind of communications executive: the PR 2.0 Professional.