So what's your PR team up to these days?
If you don't know, it's time to ask. The public relations field moves fast and while some old-school teams (agencies and in-house) are struggling to adapt to the ever-evolving digital world, others are expanding their skill sets to get the best results for their clients and brands. (Hint: you want your team to be in the second category.)
Forward-thinking brands have learned that PR, when managed and measured correctly, is a path to new opportunities for lead generation, revenue, and brand elevation - opportunities that call for three top skills.
1. Influencer Relations
Reality time: emotion outweighs logic when it comes to business decisions. 65 percent of B2B executives admitted this in one survey, and it explains why influencer relations is now a dominant PR strategy. Even cynical buyers that tune out ads will listen to their favorite bloggers, website editors, authors and social media "celebrities" when they're looking for trusted recommendations and credible information.
PR teams capitalize on this by developing relationships with the right influencers on behalf of your brand and finding opportunities for them to endorse you. And no, it doesn't have to be pay-for-play. Proper relationship building goes beyond getting a one-time promotional mention and gets you to long-term value with the influencers. Think in terms of guest blog posts with backlinks to your website, ongoing social media engagement, and even reviews of your products. The point is that by harnessing an influencer's prestige and credibility and connecting it to your brand, your PR team can drive new fans and customers your way.
2. Long Shelf-Life Content
According to The Holmes Report, content creation ranks as the top PR skill needed in the U.S. over the coming decade, and ranks as the 3rd most needed skill internationally. Why? Because the explosion of content marketing is driving incredible benefits for brands and it draws on the PR pro's gift for storytelling and brand messaging.
Natural longform writers, PR teams understand how to write the kind of content readers want - brand-agnostic byline articles, case studies, blog posts and other materials that convey expertise, authority and relevance. Marketers are great at writing promotional ads and copy, but they don't know how to weave a compelling brand story or serve up journalistic thought leadership. PR pros do.
Not only are PR teams writing content that makes their clients and brands look like titans in their industries, they also excel in cross-promoting it. By building brand friendships and the aforementioned influencer relationships, these teams know how to get their content pumped out through a multitude of channels.
3. Intelligent Measurement
PR has always been about relationships, not math, right? Newsflash: in today's public relations world, data is the key that unlocks the door to relationships. By establishing measureable objectives and evaluating campaign performance, your team can collect data that improves their own operational efficiency, and helps them invest in the right relationships that move the needle on business objectives.
For example, instead of wasting your budget and resources on PR campaigns that aren't likely to deliver, the progressive PR team can consult existing benchmarks and other data, and make recommendations from there. Data should be the driver of PR decision-making, not gut instinct. We're past that as an industry, so don't be afraid to hold your team accountable to the standard of accurate measurement.
The best PR pros are naturally inquisitive and stay connected to not just industry developments, but the latest and most innovative practices for telling their clients' stories. If your team isn't up to speed in the above three areas, their performance will begin to lag if it hasn't already.
So go ahead and ask your PR team if they're sharpening the skills required to stay successful in today's world. That level of expertise is what you deserve and it's the only true definition of PR excellence there is.