2021 has finally arrived. As most anticipate a better year in both health and in business, marketers will continue to face new challenges brought about by the pandemic.
A number of trends brought about by the coronavirus will most certainly continue onward well into the middle half of the year, if not beyond. Public relations professionals will have to maintain flexibility and adjust accordingly to help their employer, or their clients, reach their objectives.
Here then are five strategies to contemplate as you create your public relations game plan for the new year.
1. Build strong relationships with key writers and editors.
Most experienced public relations professionals understand the value of maintaining solid relationships with key reporters who cover their or their client’s industry. Those relationships will have even higher value as print publications, TV and radio stations continue to scale back their staffs due to the decline in ad spending. Reporters and editors remain hard-pressed to do more with less and yet still put out a quality product in a timely manner. Establishing a strong relationship with a reporter can set you up as a solid resource, able to deliver valuable ideas and news items the writer can use to shape or enhance their stories. This high level of trust is now more important than ever, and can result in multiple articles and opportunities that benefit both your client and yourself for the long-term.
2. Focus on clicks and hits.
Media outlets are busily building digital audiences to grab their piece of the shrinking ad revenue pie. Reporters too are tasked to develop news items that can be optimized online and read by thousands. The goal is to not only get those stories placed on the publication’s site but also recirculated on social media to increase overall readership. PR pros should create and pitch stories in a manner reflective of that objective. Turning a run-of-the-mill news release into something with more meat and excitement will help to not only get the story published but get it optimized on social media for greater reach and market penetration.
3. Write for immediate impact.
Public relations professionals need to pitch their stories where the most interesting aspects are at the top of the page, not buried in the fifth or six paragraph. As mentioned earlier reporters are hard pressed for time and have little wiggle room to spend trying to decipher a confusing news release, especially when there are hundreds of others to sort through. PR pros should deliver a hard-hitting first paragraph and then provide any support material below. That material should be easy to read and can even be broken out into bullet points to make it easier to digest.
4. Know how to reach your client’s audience, today.
Key research about your client’s prospective buyers is paramount to generating top line results from your PR efforts. Properly targeting those buyers can make or break your campaign. This is true for any year but especially in the pandemic driven work-at-home environment. Are business to business buyers still reading industry publications, listening to podcasts and attending webinars? Can they be reached on social media or is their time focused on other areas? Determining the best ways to reach them will help you greatly improve results.
5. Think visually.
Since so much of media now relies on photos and videos, PR pros should think about visual elements to go with any story pitch. A short video or a series of interesting photos (if possible) should accompany any news release, whether print or broadcast. Visuals are ideal for digital and social media, and help make your story pitch stand out above the rest. Small photos can even be inserted into the news release to peak the reporters interest and enhance coverage opportunities.