The PR Sundae: Content and Relationships With a Press Hit on Top

For many marketing agencies, PR (profile raising) is perceived to be pitching stories to the mainstream media and feels a lot like playing the slots; the odds of pickup about the same as scoring three cherries. It needs to be more like an ice cream sundae: a scoop of content and a scoop of relationship building with a press mention on top.

The quest for media coverage is still very much a part of the modern marketing business promotion strategy. But now that we can create and publish our own content, chasing press is no longer the biggest — or most important — element of the modern PR program.

Agencies looking to get the sweetest return on their promo dollars are driving their resources into content creation and relationship building because 1. those activities give them control, and 2. they actually drive business.

Think: The prospect that signs up for the e-newsletter as a result of an insightful blog post – and forwards it to her colleagues. The acquaintance made via Twitter that results in a panel seat at a top conference. Or an influencer who picks up your email address off a bylined article and makes a referral that leads to meeting with a top prospect.

In fact, 75 percent (or more) of profile raising efforts should be devoted to creating content and to nurturing and slowly building the audience you already have.

Peter Shankman nails this in his Aug. 8 post, “How Many Inches of Twitter Followers Do You Have?” From the article (slightly out context but still fitting):

Your new job is simply thus: Create such amazing experiences for your current customers and audience, with stellar customer service, amazing response to them, and spectacular content tailor-made for the audience you already have, and your current audience will take over your job AND DO YOUR PR FOR YOU!”

Caveat: Yes, the goal is ultimately for your audience to do your PR for you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still need help. Au contraire. Creating a constant stream of content is a lot of work, as is nurturing existing relationships and carefully initiating new ones.  Also requiring work: Figuring out what needs to be done internally — and constantly training people to do it correctly.

Help now looks like someone who not only can pitch but also understands business and is equal parts psychologist, writer, marketer, educator, technologist and networker. We’re out here. The question is: Are you ready?

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