9 ways to bolster public relations and media outreach

Public relations pros share their top online (and offline) strategies for businesses regarding how best to reach their target audience(s).

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5. Use LinkedIn to publish thought-leadership pieces. “Use LinkedIn’s ‘publish-a-post’ feature,” suggests Michiko Morales, senior vice president, Public Relations, at Gabriel Marketing Group. “LinkedIn’s free self-publishing tool, Pulse, is an easy but powerful platform to promote your company’s unique viewpoints, expertise and thought leadership among highly-targeted groups of business professionals,” she explains. “You can blog as often as you like and can start building your follower base and promoting your brand worldwide.”

6. Use Facebook to share and spread news. “Social media is a fantastic place to generate PR,” says Jason Parks, owner, The Media Captain, a digital marketing company. “With Facebook's pinpoint targeting with advertising, you can promote a press release or blog and drive a massive amount of quality website traffic to your site.”

“According to Cision's State of the Media Report, journalists’ top two usages for Facebook and Twitter are relationship building and the marketing/promotion of their stories,” says Casey. “Therefore PR pros should use [Facebook and Twitter] to comment on journalists’ stories and share and promote journalists' stories.”

7. Know when to target vs. broadcast your news. “Press release distribution platforms like MarketWired, PRWeb, BusinessWire and PR Newswire have a time and a place, particularly for publicly traded companies,” notes Julie Wright, president, (W)right On Communications, a marketing & communications company. “But to generate press coverage, a targeted pitch to the right journalist at the right time will always be more productive,” she argues.

To help with targeted one-to-one communication, “you can use email distribution platforms, such as Constant Contact, which helps you measure opens and clicks, too.”

8. Measure your results, so you can improve them. “Measurement of PR's impact can include tracking custom URLs, Google Analytics reports, coverage achieved and other metrics determined by your team,” explains Wright. “Depending on a company's internal resources, media coverage can be benchmarked and tracked manually (via Google Alerts, for instance) or via automated services (like Cision or TrendKite). Subscribing to a media monitoring tool can be pricey but reduces the workload and can more cost-effectively track competitor media coverage by volume and content as well.”

9. Consider hiring a PR agency. Depending on the size of your company, your expertise or resources, you may be better off hiring a PR agency than doing all the PR work yourself.

“At a certain point your time will be better spent making sales or working on your product, rather than trying to do your own PR,” says Arleigh Galant Vasconcellos, principal, The Agency. “When hiring a PR firm or person, do your research. A boutique agency might be a better fit, especially if you work in a niche industry,” she notes. “Specialized firms have the established connections within target industry groups and media to help you reach the right audience.”

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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