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Imagine the scene: it’s 2021, and the enormity and popularity of digital marketing presents entrepreneurs with a plethora of opportunities and the ability to tap into an audience of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential customers, all at the push of a button.
When Facebook first launched in 2004, it was truly the first of its kind. Before that we had MySpace and a few other platforms that I had never heard of (Friendster or Hi5, anyone?), but none of them had managed to have the impact that Facebook has had and always has.
Since Facebook, we have seen the launch of Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016, as well as the addition of Instagram Reels in 2020. Not to mention other platforms such as Snapchat and Clubhouse, all giving us access to an audience wider.
Over the past 19 years, we have all had the luxury of being able to communicate directly with our fans, customers and potential customers in a way that has never been possible before. But before the advent of social media, businesses and brands were built the old-fashioned way, using more traditional marketing techniques, such as advertising and face-to-face networking.
Related: Here’s How You Can Have a Perfect Digital Marketing Plan
Social media seems to be the holy grail
As the world became more digitized, tools such as online advertising, pay-per-click and email marketing grew in popularity and gave entrepreneurs and brands the ability to reach even larger audiences. . Data was easier to track and metrics and insights allowed you to calculate your return on investment.
For many entrepreneurs and start-ups, social media seems to be the holy grail. Not only can you build an audience, interact and engage with your followers, but it’s also completely free at the point of entry. Of course, you can now invest in ads across all social media channels, but for someone completely new to business, social media is a great place to start.
However, a piece of the puzzle is missing here. A modality as old as time, yet a powerful force when it comes to sharing messages, increasing brand awareness and leveraging the knowledge-trust factor. And that’s public relations.
Everything you say and do is PR
Public relations exists so that you can communicate with your audience. If you Google “public relations” you will find Wikipedia’s definition: “Public relations is the practice of deliberately managing the flow and dissemination of information between an individual or organization and the public, in order to affect public perception”.
So essentially everything you say and do is PR, but the platform you share your message on changes. The tools you use to share your message are changing. But the message remains the same. Your audience generally stays the same, but where they are may change, depending on the launch of new platforms or the growing popularity of existing ones, such as YouTube and podcasts.
YouTube was first launched in 2005 and podcasts launched a year earlier in 2004, but they’ve only really exploded as a business tool in the past few years, giving entrepreneurs and startups the opportunity to create content that is easy to share and use. digest content that their ideal customers will love — content that can then be reused on social media channels.
Related: Want to do a PR campaign? Focus on social media first.
In 2004, when I started my career in public relations, there were really only three types of media to offer to: print, television and radio. Online titles were considered the poor cousin of print, so we rarely bothered to feature them because customers didn’t see the value in them. — Oh, how times have changed!
However, since there were fewer choices, it was easier to build relationships with journalists and work with them on features and content ideas. Over time, the media landscape changed, and online started to have a huge impact and podcasts and YouTube channels became prime real estate.
Now there are a lot more choices when it comes to getting your name out there, so even though you might not consider social media, YouTube or podcasts as your typical media, they are still consumed by your customers. ideal, always covering topics that complement what you do, and they always have a ready-made audience of loyal fans that you could (and should) tap into. How? ‘Or’ What? Quite simply, by pitching.
A content item can be shared and re-shared
The way you introduce yourself to a podcast host is exactly the same as you introduce yourself to a journalist. It’s a public relations tactic and skill that publicists have been honing for decades. Now, one of the utterly brilliant, yet often overlooked, powers of public relations is that you can take a piece of content and broadcast it to millions of people at once. No other form of communication allows you to do this.
Developing and executing your public relations plan can take time. You might not see anything published or streamed for three to four months, but when it does land, it’s worth it because your content has the potential to be seen or heard by hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of potential ideal customers and customers. Just think of the reach of a print publication, then triple that for medium reach.
Think about the audience size of a podcast, then think about how many more people you can reach by sharing it on your social media channels. And then think about how many more people you’ll reach when the host shares it on their social media. Suddenly, a piece of content can be shared and re-shared, leaving behind a digital footprint and breadcrumb trail that can drive even more people to your business.
Related: How to Use PR Without Sacrificing Your Own Narrative
This is another reason why public relations is such a powerful and influential tool. — because what you do now is searchable forever. PR isn’t always easy to measure, which potentially adds to its downfall in the ROI stakes, but it’s still a tactic that needs to be employed and a muscle that needs to be flexed as part of your strategy. Communication.
Public relations is another way to convey your business and expertise to a wider audience, an audience that has been building and cultivating for decades, that already knows, loves and trusts the point of sale and the content that he produces.
So the next time you decide to put all your eggs in one basket and focus all of your attention on a particular marketing tool or a particular platform, ask if there’s a more effective way to share your message to attract hundreds of thousands of people. , even millions, of new customers for your business. The answer, in case you missed it, is PR.