How to Succeed in Public Relations & Spark Change for 2018

Posted by Wendy Marx

How to Succeed in Public Relations & Spark Change for 2018.png

Successful PR does not happen by chance. Many variables, including what tactics you use, play a part in your public relations story. If you would like to learn how to succeed in public relations in the coming year, this post will give you some powerful ways to boost your PR strategy.

We might compare public relations with shooting an arrow. There are many things to take into account -- distance from the target, wind speed, wind direction, and outside influences. In order to hit your target, you must accurately compute all these variables and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The winds of PR often change with new public relations tactics and trends that affect the industry. Cision and PRWeek have combined their efforts to investigate the biggest challenges and issues facing the PR and content industry -- and have released a report that summarizes their findings. What they found can help us to shoot straighter and hit our PR goals with precision accuracy.

Let’s look at five ways that this new study provides insight into the state of PR, and how you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

How to Succeed in Public Relations with These 5 Public Relations Tactics

1. PR Measurement is the Top Concern

The challenge of PR measurement has been growing on the horizon for the past few years and is reaching a fever pitch. With so many departments requesting funding, PR is under a major crunch to prove its worth.

In fact, out of all the issues facing the PR industry, 63% surveyed cited measurement as their number one challenge.

This has posed a particular challenge for years, especially when it comes to connecting earned media (such as when your brand is mentioned in a publication) to your brand’s bottom line.

The Takeaway For You: Develop a solid and well-honed measurement program.

For starters, invest in PR analytics software that will be able to give you precision data. Premium products like AirPR, Prezly, and Trendkite offer a wide range of metrics and can help you to sort through the numbers to prove your ROI. At a minimum, brands should master Google Analytics, which offers valuable metrics for PR professionals and is completely free.

Determine what metrics you want to monitor. What metrics are central to your PR goals? For example, while social media likes may provide a general idea of how your content is perceived, engagement metrics like comments and shares may give you a more accurate and complete picture.


The challenge of measurement has been growing on the horizon for years and is reaching a fever pitch Tweet: The challenge of measurement has been growing on the horizon for years and is reaching a fever pitch @wendymarx TO TWEET


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2. Content Creation is a Priority

The past few years we’ve seen an uptick in new forms of content and emphasis on content creation. For example, video increases in popularity every year as new ways are created that make it easier and more compelling to use. 

In fact, 66% of those surveyed listed content creation as one of their three most important activities.

The Takeaway For You: Look for ways to improve your content creation. This could mean developing a wide range of content types. How many types of content formats do you produce and share? Could your overall strategy benefit from an audit and perhaps and a few new additions?

Create PR content that fits your goals. If you wish to heighten brand awareness and humanize your brand, consider featuring various members of your team in video or podcast interviews. If your goal is thought leadership, create some in-depth eBooks and white papers that showcase your expertise at its best.

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3. Budgets Are Getting Tighter

How can you do your job when executives slash your budget? This is a question that many across the PR industry are facing.

In the United States alone, 67% of those surveyed placed tightening budgets among their top three most difficult challenges. And this issue doesn’t just touch the US -- even on the global scale, 65% noted the same challenge.

The effects of this challenge trickle down in many ways. Not only does this make it harder to amplify your PR content effectively, but with a budget shortfall, it becomes harder to draw in and retain the right talent.

The Takeaway For You: The conclusion ties back to with what we discussed about PR measurement. If you can establish an effective measurement program and prove that your work positively affects your company’s bottom line, you have a much better shot at securing your future budget.

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4. Don’t Neglect Social Media

2017 Global Comms Report, Social Media

Social media is undisputedly the top way for brands to interact with their audience. But with so many social media channels to choose from -- and new ones popping up every day -- which are the best for your business?

The recent Cision-PRWeek survey delved into this question. When asked what social media channels were most important to their strategy, the top three results in the United States included Facebook 88%, Twitter with 72%, and Instagram with 52%.

The Takeaway For You:  Facebook is still one of the most important networks for your brand to use. With its far-reaching and continually growing audience, as well as a host of tools to amplify brand content, Facebook is a vital component of your social media strategy.

Don't ignore the significant changes that Facebook has undergone over the past year -- changes that will impact how you promote your business. What are these changes? Facebook has shifted its focus away from marketing and back to its original focus of connecting family and friends. 

Does this move Facebook out of the reach for your business goals? Not at all! It merely changes the playing field a tad. While Facebook's free marketing opportunities are still available, you will likely notice less and less positive results. Instead, utilizing paid ads strategically will mean more successful results for your business.

Choose content that you know your target audience will enjoy. Look at past posts to see what has driven the most engagement in the past -- what has been read and commented on the most? Once you see what subjects receive the most positive feedback, create similar posts to promote on Facebook and target them strategically toward your ideal audience.

But now let's look at your social media strategy as a whole. Make sure that you take advantage of everything that social media has to offer. Beef up your social media profiles so that your audience can easily find and interact with you on all your networks Take full advantage of such tools as live video and paid social ads to draw attention to your brand and connect with your audience.

Notice, too, that Instagram is quickly climbing the ranks as a contender within social media strategy. While Instagram has not been widely used in the B2B space, PR professionals and marketers shouldn’t count it out just yet. Recent trends, including this survey, mark this social media channel as a potential winner for both B2B and B2C brands.


Social media is undisputedly the top way for brands to interact with their audienceTweet: Social media is undisputedly the top way for brands to interact with their audience @wendymarx TO TWEET


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5. Influence is Changing

2017 Global Comms Report, Influencers

Over the past decade influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for PR professionals and marketers alike. But as influencer marketing continues to evolve, we realize that not all influencers are created equal.

For example, when asked what were the most effective kinds of influencers, survey participants in the United States responded: everyday consumers, such as family and friends (63%), micro-influencers (59%), and mainstream journalists (50%).

Global results on this subject differed slightly. Everyday consumers again came in first with 59%, celebrities and mainstream journalists tied for second with 47% each, and microinfluencers took third place with 46%. 


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The Takeaway For You: Choose influencers strategically. Your choice of influencer shouldn’t merely focus on audience size, but also audience engagement and who your target audience follows.

Don’t underestimate the power of your own customer’s voice. An incredible 63% surveyed said that everyday consumers were the most effective influencers -- and these were consistently rated as the top influencers in most other countries as well.

Make it easy for customers to share your content on social media. Encourage them to share their positive experiences with others in their industry. Take any particularly positive experiences and share them yourself through case studies and customer testimonials.

Another important takeaway from this data is the importance of micro-influencers within your industry. These are individuals whose audience is usually less than 25,000 followers. The fact that these micro-influencers were ranked higher than mainstream journalists is a powerful commentary on the positive effect they can have on your brand strategy.

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Key Points to Remember…

  • Put in place a comprehensive measurement program that proves the worth of your PR efforts to the executives within your company
  • Develop a solid program of content creation, with a variety of content that appeals to your entire audience
  • Keep up with your social media strategy, including up-to-date profiles and the latest tools to keep you on top
  • Pay attention to what influencers you use in your strategy, with a focus on using current customers and micro-influencers to spread the word

These 5 public relations tactics are a great way to beef up your strategy for the coming year and hit the PR goals your brand has set. We hope you now more fully understand how to succeed in public relations for your brand.

 Want to learn how to take your brand from anonymity to industry icon? Check out our tried and true Storypress Technique.

From Anonymity to 740m Impressions in Just One Year - the B2B PR Storypress Technique.

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Jan 10, 2018

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx