D’oh! The PR wisdom of Homer Simpson
It’s not easy devising a PR and marketing strategy when all your competitors are bigger and have larger budgets.
But effective PR needn’t cost the earth, and can simply rest on being able to tell the better story.
Take Homer Simpson. His wisdom suggests that, once he retires from cartoons, a career in PR beckons.
Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.
Having a PR strategy to underpin commercial or marketing objectives isn’t an add-on option. In today’s inter-connected world, it’s fundamental. However, even with the rise of social media, traditional media remains influential. While the ink-based media is in decline, it still holds sway.
The simple fact is that if you have a good story to tell, there are media outlets willing to listen – whether through media interviews, press releases and articles, or thought leadership strategies.
If something is hard to do, then it's not worth doing.
PR is not that hard. It’s about utilising a broad range of promotional techniques that generate
both favorable publicity and, using social media channels, create a higher level of constructive
two-way engagement. But those platforms have to be integrated into one cohesive marketing
and PR programme.
It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
Actually, PR is all about transparency. Tell your story, without embellishment. In a buyer-led world, content is king. You need to attract the right customers and lead them through each stage of the sales cycle. Creating that great content and placing it where buyers are looking doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a good content strategy, research and expertise – but no spin and flannel.
You don't win friends with salad.
It may be healthier but it doesn’t grab attention. In PR terms, decide what makes your company or its products and services stand out – in other words, what are the benefits for customers. What are your differentiating factors? The new PR is no longer just about press releases and media contacts (although those are still important). It’s about engaging with stakeholders and consumers in new ways, with an immediacy that was unthinkable even a handful of years ago.
Most individuals searching for products or suppliers first turn to the internet. It means that companies have to have a good SEO strategy and populate Bing and Google etc with compelling content. (Most searches start and finish on the first page of Google). That means talking to bloggers as well as the media, and integrating pictures and links – providing target audiences with a rich mix of useful information.
The intelligent man wins his battles with pointed words. I'm sorry - I meant sticks.
Words and images are better PR tools. But why stop at those? Why not populate your website with videos? Or send out a regular e-newsletter? It’s a simple and effective way of regularly updating customers and prospects on company news. They can carry embedded video and infographics to engage constructively. Not only that but you can see detailed metrics of who has opened what page and how long they have visited a website – invaluable marketing data.
They have the Internet on computers, now?
In the new world of PR, everybody and every company is also a publisher – whether that’s your
website, a regular blog or social media.
What’s changed is the speed in which a press release or article can be posted, found by news
aggregators, and spread worldwide. As an agency promoting clients internationally, I’m still
surprised by the speed and reach that a well-crafted press release or article can achieve.
What’s important, however, is to always hyperlink back to specific pages on a website, giving
readers every opportunity to engage with your brand. Important also to use analytics to
understand the search terms that are being used to find your company, and to incorporate
those terms into future activity.
You may think it's easier to de-ice your windshield with a flamethrower, but there are repercussions.
A good bit of PR advice is to know when to shout from the rooftops (“new mousetrap invented”) and when to tread more carefully (“slightly better mousetrap developed.”) One of the biggest journalist bugbears is to receive press releases loaded with hyperbole, full of bull***t words such as revolutionary, or unique or fantastic. Use words like those, and your fine words will be heading towards the bin. And if you use them on social media, you’ll undermine your credibility with customers, who are wise to the ways of the internet…and no longer fooled.
They didn't have any aspirin, so I got you some cigarettes.
Modern PR is about interaction. It’s about listening to customers, and engaging with them. It’s no longer just about selling, because the internet and social media has changed the relationship between companies and customers. Now, it’s about being helpful, willing to respond to comment – good and bad – not forever pushing a sales message. Remember, the marketing buzz phrase is now “pull marketing” – attract potential customers to you, rather than just push out sales-speak. In other words, if they want aspirin, give them aspirin.
People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.
Okay, then how are these. For example, nearly £6 billion in UK sales annually is now
attributed to social media. Also, visitors to a website are some ten times more likely
to make a purchase if they have come from social media. And it’s not just the likes of
Facebook. For example, 40% of brands now use Instagram for marketing.
Commercially, nearly 80% of B2C companies and over 40% of B2B companies found
customers from Facebook. Indeed, a majority of social media users now prefer to
connect with brands through Facebook, and over 50% of Twitter users recommend
companies or products via Tweets.
A fool and his money are soon parted. I would pay anyone a lot of money to explain
that to me.
The good news is that using a good agency to handle all or part of your PR and media strategy is usually money well spent!