In their latest social media trend report, Ogilvy predicts that organic and earned marketing efforts will be making a comeback as the public looks for more tailor-fit content and messaging that speaks to them.
And with the way the last 3 years have played out — global pandemics, massive cultural shifts (including cancel culture!), economic downturns, and more — it’s no surprise. We’ve seen brands increasingly make way in their strategic budgets for more organic efforts to reach a market that’s increasingly demanding tailored communications.
Enter public relations.
If you’ve read our article about Why PR is More Important Now Than Ever, you’ll know that public relations will become an indispensible part of your strategy this 2023. Here’s 5 best practices we can share that your brand can take on to have your best PR year ever. Some might seem obvious, but many need reminding that sometimes the old ways are still the best ways — with some much-needed and much-welcome modernization thrown in, of course.
1. Know the who, what, where, and why of your audience
What characteristics do your customers posses? What are they motivated by? What issues are they facing and how will your company be able to help address that? What messages should you be sending to let them know? What platform/s will you use to help your customer base learn about that message?
These age-old questions all boil down to one important principle: meet your audience where they’re at.
And where are they at? The likely answer to that is that they’re on social media. Almost 60% of the world, by the way, is on social media. Datareportal released it’s 2023 report on overview of social media use and it reported 4.76 billion people use social media at an average of 2.5 hours a day. Suffice it to say, social media needs to be on your brand’s public relations and communications portfolio (alongside traditional media outreach), or you risk missing out on valuable reach.
You want knowing your audience to be the first thing on your agenda for each and every campaign. Knowing your audience helps you give your targets a more organic, personalized, tailor-fit experience — one that effective PR and communications can give. It is also important to know every detail about your audience so that you don’t risk miscommunicating with them. Today’s digital communication holds no room for misinterpretation lest you endure cancel culture. Make sure your brand voice is heard by those who are genuinely interested in hearing it on platforms that are second-nature for them to be on.
IMPORTANT NOTE: whatever way you decide to gather your audience’s data, make sure you’re transparent with them about where you intend to use it. Finding the perfect balance between personalizing your brand experience without compromising customer information will be a key best practice you’ll want to employ for years to come.
2. Know your competitors, too
Now more than ever it’s imperative to keep your ear to the ground and listen not just to what your audience is saying but to how your competition is responding. Although competitive analyses have long been a requirement for complete marketing and communications campaigns, a regular assessment and reevaluation of this is a good key practice you’ll want to incorporate if you haven’t already. Make sure a competitor analysis is part of your agile and adaptable process. It will also enable you to keep up with market trends and make sure your brand consistently complies with — and surpasses — industry standards.
One interesting case study to illustrate your brand’s ever-evolving competitor landscape is the Metaverse. It’s a catch-all term to define a virtual space where people meet, play, socialize, shop, and conduct other activities. Although mass adaptation isn’t here yet, key players in several industries have started to take notice and people are talking. Some analysts have projected the metaverse to grow into a $800 billion market by 2024. Quality metaverse content will undoubtedly catch marketers’ attention in 2023. Brands will be looking for practical advice on how to enter the metaverse, fine-tune their metaverse strategies, and discover marketing opportunities within these virtual worlds. These opportunities could include in-game advertising, audio ad opportunities, or even influencer marketing.
Another is ChatGPT. It’s spurred both awe and fear in many brands. People are definitely abuzz about it. Many brands haven’t fully grasped what it’s truly capable of and how it can truly help their bottom line. One thing is clear: early adaptors will be able to make the most out of it ahead of everyone else. Are your competitors hopping on this train yet? Are you?
Analyzing your competitors will help you recognize how you can enhance your own communications strategy and roll out a PR plan that will help you stay ahead of the curve.
3. Remember that content is king, consistency is queen, content creators are the aces
Content: the information, entertainment, or influence that’s put out on owned and earned social media that’s created by or tied to your brand. This is your content strategy come to life to be plastered all over the Internet, for people to feed off, comment on, share, and like (or dislike). For more on content, we’ve discussed here content strategy best practices!
One or more pieces of content may not draw attention, but several posts over a strategic timeline likely will. Hence, consistency of posting — and, conversely, consistency of content quality — is queen.
Content creators and influencers continue to be on the up and up and are keenly taking the position of ‘aces’ in your communications deck. There are several methods of engaging with content creators. Partnering with them as influencers may just be the beginning of your relationship. Take affiliate marketing, for instance. PR Couture/Jeneration Academy founder Jen Berson says one of the PR trends for 2023 include affiliate marketing for product-based businesses. It may be time to revive your affiliate marketing contacts!
Consider how much effort should be put into influencer outreach and which platforms are most likely to connect with your target demographic. This might include bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, TikTokers, and more.
- The Rise of Influencer Marketing, How it Can Help Your Brand
- 3 Ways to Maximize B2B Digital Influencer Marketing
4. Reach out, sincerely
A strong desire for building sincere, lasting, and mutually beneficial relationships is a key best practice this year and in years to come. We’ve mentioned that in our article about creating a solid outreach strategy, too. We’re leaving toxic relationships (work ones included) behind in 2023, after all.
While we’re advocates of being persistent in your outreach to website owners, publishers, journalists, bloggers, influencers, and similar people to get your brand’s message out there, remember that you’ll need to have pitched strong, compelling content to have something to follow up on to begin with.
When you’re confident with that, you can:
- Plan out and decide which media or press contacts you’ll be contacting. Take note of different point persons in case they endorse you. Take on a sincere, conversational tone for each. Don’t assume that one person will catch on the same as another.
- Come up with an outline of what you plan to discuss and follow up on after you’ve accomplished the main pitch. Get to the point but don’t leave out the niceties. Your media contacts are human, too. They’ll likely want to work with you more if you’ve shown sincere interest in them first.
- Close the deal or re-negotiate as necessary. Then, take them out to lunch if their schedule and location (or yours) permits it!
5. Assess, evaluate, recalibrate as many times as it takes
We mentioned being agile early on in this article, but it certainly bears repeating. Now more than ever, with the fast pace of nearly everything around us, it’s imperative that you also continually and quickly compare your PR plans and strategies past and present. Make those adjustments as many times as you need to! Are we all still aligned? Is the right brand message being sent out? Are we still targeting the right outlets? Are our media relationships still fruitful? What worked? What didn’t? What might? How soon?
Scheduling time out per month to do a PR strategy check-in (or a strategy reset as needed) with your team is one practice you won’t want to leave out.
A company with a solid plan for business continuity will have a better chance of experiencing long-term growth. The right digital marketing and public relations strategies can aid in maintaining business continuity, but they also call for skilled hands, persistence, and hard work. Building a client network, putting digital marketing strategies into practice, and applying marketing strategies all take time. You’ll get there faster with professionals on board.
NGP-IMC can help you employ these best practices within your organization and come up with the right PR strategy for your brand.
Jossaine Nunez is a freelance article writer, blogger, and SEO-driven maven. While her true passion lies in writing fiction, her love for storytelling extends to helping brands convey their message in ways that are both engaging and helpful for attaining their business goals.
Jossaine’s interests in writing particularly about people, for people – which translates to brand audience engagement – stems from her experience as the Editor-In-Chief of Siliman University’s The Weekly Silimanian, which published slices of life and educational pieces surrounding university life. Her piece, A Review of Leoncio Deriada’s People on Guerrero Street, published in the Silliman Journal on discussions and investigations in the humanities and sciences, earmarks her foray into the world of writing about, and writing for, humans that make the world go round.