Take a look at the world around us. The hyperactive news cycle and the massive digital influence strongly suggest that PR professionals should have a seat at an organization’s or brand’s marketing table. One story – or even a tweet – broadcast digitally can distinguish or devastate a brand overnight.
At Ethos, we like to remind our clients that lacking definition and a strategy, others will define you (or your business). We believe it’s vitally important to have a clear understanding and clear articulation of the values your company's products and services represent. Your company’s brand personality and how it’s positioned against your competition should be at the core of your PR strategy. Once you’ve established your brand identity, then and only then can you develop tactics for how to broadcast your unique message to the world.
This is why at Ethos we make sure to evaluate our client’s work and business through a PR lens every year. An annual PR audit doesn’t necessarily mean changing what your company is saying or doing, but it does involve listening, prodding, and considering whether you are prepared, and whether your messages are resonating clearly with your customers and prospects. First and foremost, we want to make sure our clients are ready for the conversation. If they are, then we want to help them lead the conversation with inspiring, memorable, and compelling messages and stories.
If you haven’t refreshed your PR strategy for the new year, here are some basics to consider:
- Does your brand identity permeate your PR and marketing? Brands – especially older ones – often forget to take an objective look at their own identity and voice, yet this is core. If your brand identity does not permeate your marketing and your PR, then it’s time to look at why and how this can be addressed. It’s worth discussing this with your marketing partners on an annual basis.
- Do you have a crisis management plan in place? Having a crisis plan is fundamental, and companies that skip this step are at risk because crisis planning is all about being prepared. Crisis plans don’t need not be overly complex, but they should identify your key vulnerabilities and walk you through the basic steps of what you would do (and who you must call) in a crisis.
- Do you have an influencer marketing strategy in place? Influencer marketing is a growing and highly effective approach to PR because it engages influential voices to talk about your brand. According to a recent Forbes article, 92% of consumers trust an influencer over a traditional advertisement or celebrity endorsement. These so-called brand advocates are often leaders in their own right with audiences who respect and follow them. There all kinds of influencers and selecting the best type of influencer for your brand takes research, planning and a budget, because it’s not free.
- Are you using content development and video to tell your story in the digital universe? PR has evolved way beyond press releases, events, and media relations. A good PR plan will also include blogs, photography, and video to tell your story through your own channels and platforms. This owned media can lead to earned media coverage if you have a strategy and a budget to share and promote the stories through social and digital channels.
- Are you optimizing your PR? Optimizing your articles, blogs, press releases, images, audio, video, captions, and other online content is not only smart (because you already paid for it), but it’s a key way for that content to be seen in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Be sure to optimize with keyword phrases to ensure that journalists, editors, and customers can find you online.
- Are you using high-impact events to stimulate conversation and get people in the room? Well executed events have long been a key PR strategy. However, events can be costly and time consuming, so it’s critical to design them for maximum impact. Also, never forget to document your events with photography, video, and storytelling so that they will have a life beyond the event itself.
Bottom Line: PR should play a central role in any brand’s marketing because, beyond your company’s product, PR is the voice and the living identity of your brand.
Ready to evaluate your PR strategy? Contact us!
Ethos is a multiplatform branding agency that develops and executes integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels for companies inside and outside of Maine.
At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set a company's marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference for each client’s unique marketing and business objectives.
With Ethos, you get more than a marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals.