The big day has finally arrived. After rearranging schedules, sweating out interviews or writing deadlines, and walking the line between “persistent” and “pest” your PR placement has seen the light of day.
Huzzah! (I am bound and determined to bring back “huzzah” as something people say when something great occurs.)
It feels like a weight has been lifted off of everyone’s shoulders – especially in the case of an interview, where you had little to no control over the content. Fortunately your SME sounded like the expert he/she is rather than a babbling idiot who struggles to string two coherent sentences together.
It’s easy to think that you’ve now reached an end point, closed the loop as it were, so you can move on to the next crisis opportunity du jour. If you do that, however, the benefits of all that work end up having about the same lifespan as a mayfly – here today, gone tomorrow and all that. (If you click the link it will count as your “I learned something today” moment.)
The reality is the article appearing online or in print isn’t the end point. Instead, it’s really just the starting point.
Here are a few ways you can take better advantage of all that nerve-wracking work and maximize the value of those hard-earned PR placements.
Share via social media channels
This tactic should be a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often organizations don’t take advantage of this opportunity.
When a PR placement appears – an interview, a byline article, a case study, even a good quality rewrite of your press release – you should let the world know. Send a Tweet with a link. Put together a one- or two-sentence summary and post it on LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or whatever other channels you use and send it out.
Don’t trust that the people you want to influence will come across this great example of your expertise by happenstance. Be proactive in telling them it’s there.
By the way, taking this approach has an added benefit. The media (even trade media) is very focused on getting traffic to their sites. If you help them with it by sharing they will notice. And they just may be a little more inclined to read your email or take your call the next time you have a story for them.
Email your customers and prospects
Don’t assume that your target audiences will see the original article, or are following you on your social channels. Having your sales team email the article directly to them is a great way to make them aware of your great PR placement.
It also gives you an opportunity to focus it more specifically on your company since most PR placements will tend to be vendor-neutral. If your salespeople aren’t good at writing emails, have your marketing team or PR agency craft the message with some blanks that can be filled in to personalize it.
That doesn’t mean you can send them the entire article – unless you’ve paid for a reprint of course. But fair use laws usually allow you to share a paragraph or so. Pick one that you can use as a launching pad, and again direct the email recipient to the publication’s website.
One word of caution with emails, however. Make sure the PR placement you’re promoting has some level of value to the reader. You don’t need to send out every personnel announcement or minor upgrade release that appears. That’s a quick way to ensure ALL your emails get deleted.
But if you share good information that demonstrates your organization’s knowledge and expertise you can condition your audience that it’s worth their time to see what you’re sending.
Post them in your online newsroom
Again, nothing revolutionary here but you’d be surprised how many organizations miss this opportunity because they feel they don’t have time, or have more important things to do. My advice to you is make the time.
Think about it from a prospect’s standpoint. The decision-maker has never done business with you before, but thinks he/she might want to. So what does he/she do? For many, the first step is to check out your website.
That checking out process includes looking at news about your company. If there isn’t much news there it’s easy for the prospect to assume there’s not much happening at the company on a regular basis. Even without that assumption, however, he won’t learn very much from an empty newsroom.
But if you have press releases, published articles, case studies, etc. readily available the impression that prospect will get is that your company is a very active, happenin’ place. He/she will also see that your experts are well-respected because their thought leadership is appearing in a variety of industry publications. Never underestimate the power of the implied third-party endorsement.
Again, unless you’ve paid for online reprint rights you can’t post the article in its entirety. But you can offer an excerpt, or a summary, with a link to the original article.
That’s actually better for you, because then the publication’s masthead is tied to the article, ensuring its legitimacy. Just remember to set the publication’s website to pop up in a new window so when the visitor is done reading the article he/she still has your website open.
The online newsroom is also good for customers. Everyone wants to associate themselves with winners. An active online newsroom is confirmation that they’ve made a good choice.
Include them in sales presentations
Just about every sales presentation, at least in the initial stages, has a section that talks about who the company is and what it stands for. That’s an ideal place to insert a slide with an array of PR placements to show that your organization understands the industry and its challenges – and has recognized solutions.
Try to include multiple topics from different people to demonstrate a breadth of expertise. If they are all from one expert, however, that’s ok too. You can promote that person as a recognized authority; if the prospect wants the benefit of that person’s knowledge there is only one place to get it.
Display them in your trade show booth
To ensure your PR placements are the gifts that keep on giving, try creating a graphic panel showing some of your best articles, case studies, etc. in larger-than-life format. Think of a movie poster.
If you can’t do that do to space or cost considerations, think about creating easel cards that can sit on counters or shelves.
Even if no one stops to read them – and the odds are they won’t – it’s a quick way to capture some attention and tell show attendees that your organization is a player in the industry.
Post them around the office
Another great way to gain lasting value is to frame significant PR placements and post them in various locations around the office, including the lobby, hallway, and conference rooms. You can even double down on a few if you don’t place them too close together as it’s unlikely anyone will stop to read them all.
If the article is in a print magazine (yes, there still are some left), have someone with an artistic flair cut it out with an Exacto knife. If it’s online, buy some high-quality glossy paper and print it out. Then take it to a professional framing shop and have them do the final work.
These framed reprints aren’t just for the benefit of customers and prospects either. They can also help get potential employees excited about coming to work for such a well-known, well-respected organization, and keep current employees feeling good about it.
If you have a video display in the front lobby, cafeteria, or other areas, be sure your best PR placements show up there as well. Anything you can do to make them visible within the office is a plus.
Get your money’s worth
These are just a few of the many ways you can ensure that you wring every nickel of value out of your PR placements. Sure, it takes a little more effort. But approached properly, what at first seems like a one-day opportunity can continue delivering rewards for weeks, months, or even years to come.
What are some others you’ve done? Leave your ideas in the comments below.