Taking Control of the Online Narrative: Blogging 101

Blogger outreach is now a mainstay in the life of PR professionals and is increasingly valued as an important area of influence for brands. So, what are the insights of bloggers regarding working with PRs and how can we create a sustainable working relationship for the future?

Join us at an exclusive PRIA breakfast to hear from Felicity Grey, Managing Director of Australia’s largest blogging community, Nuffnang with veteran vintage blogger Candice Deville. Discuss the differences between journalists and bloggers, balancing editorial and advertorial and how to create authentic narrative through shared experiences.

PRIA Emerging Leader Forum

You are invited to join The PRIA WA as we launch the Emerging Leaders Forum. The first of its kind for PRIA, this one-day event is designed for budding public relations, marketing and communications leaders looking to develop in their workplace by improving their leadership skills, diversifying their communication skills and learning how to take control of their careers.

The Forum will address what it takes to be an ethical, effective and influential leader, and identify some practical self-management tools to empower and activate you to achieve your professional and personal potential.

You will learn from and be inspired by several highly successful and respected professionals from a variety of backgrounds and take part in a career-building workshop.

If you or your employees are dealing with greater responsibilities and working in more challenging workplace scenarios, then this Forum aims to support success.

PRINKS Melbourne at Bond

The next PRINKS Melbourne event will be on Friday 17 July, and we would love to see some new and familiar faces joining us for a drink and a chat, to talk shop (or not) at beautiful Bond Melbourne, just off Flinders Street. Kick off your weekend with a complimentary drink and canapés on arrival, courtesy of Bond Melbourne via Soda Communications, exclusively for PRINKS.

For those newly initiated, PRINKS is an industry networking group for communications professionals (whether you’re in PR, advertising, media, marketing, social, or digital) and graduates, designed to build connections and opportunities over a drink or two. All are welcome – feel free to come on your own or invite a friend/colleague. Supported by the PRIA.

Great Expectations – What CEO’s want from their PR investment

While few CEO’s directly manage communications, PR is one of the most scrutinised budget lines in Australian businesses. In the age of global brands, the proliferation of media channels and shifting goal posts of modern business communications have elevated PR to a boardroom concern.

CEO’s today demand greater transparency, accountability and return on investment on their PR investment than ever before.

Former Age business journalist and founder of icon.pr, Joanne Painter, shares her insights and strategies for engaging c-suite executives in the PR journey – and offers some tactics for building engagement in PR from the top down.

In this interactive workshop we will also explore:

  • What CEO’s really think about PR (and why are so many afraid of it)
  • Why PR should matter to CEO’s
  • How to convince your CEO to invest in PR
  • When to engage your c-suite in the PR journey

PRIA Summer Master Class

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) is proud to offer this 3 day intensive PRIA Summer Master Class to guide the PR leaders of the future.

Why?

  1. Gain a competitive edge over others in the industry
  2. Learn from industry leaders
  3. Become the next industry leader
  4. Upgrade your status, and move up in the PR world. 24 CPD points are on offer.

Upon completion, graduates will also receive a certificate.

Who? Whether you are an emerging practitioner and PR professional, you will get fast insights, strategies and tools to jump to the next level.

How? Prices from $1,399 will give you a three-day investment which includes:

  • 7 facilitators
  • All work materials;
  • Three full days of refreshments; and
  • A chance to mingle with PR professionals.

Numbers are limited to 25, so you will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore issues of particular interest to your career and organisation.

What is Public Relations?

What is Public Relations?

Today, for your reading pleasure, we are going back to basics. We are going to take an in-depth look at a question that has puzzled people for generations: What is Public Relations?

According to all the textbooks, public relations is defined as long-term, deliberate efforts to maintain (and foster) a mutual understanding between a company (or organisation, or not-for-profit, or individual) and its audiences.

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) goes even further in their definition. The PRIA states that public relations is actually a management function. A management function designed to: evaluate public opinion and perception; align the policies, procedures, products and services of a company with that public opinion; and then execute a communication program that earns public acceptance and understanding.

While extremely detailed, and very specific, this definition can seem a little complicated and a little daunting.

Philip Lesly  had a much simpler definition. Lesly was an award-winning American public relations practitioner (who operated the largest PR firm in world for over 20 years) and author of the Handbook of Public Relations and Communication. He described public relations as all tasks associated with helping an organisation and its public adapt mutually to each other. Lesly’s definition is quite different to some of the more complicated textbook definitions: it describes a mutual adaptation. It highlights the importance of an open dialogue, of two-way communication between audiences and organisations.

But it was not always so.

A Short History of Public Relations

Public relations arrived alongside the rise of mass media in the early 1900s. The exact origins of public relations are difficult to pinpoint; the discipline developed over time and through a series of events.

Some academics have claimed that PR began with the establishment of the Publicity Bureau in Boston in the mid 1900s. Others have claimed that early public relations began as ‘damage control’ efforts. At the turn of the 20th century, newspapers and journalists were prone to stirring up public outcry directed against powerful monopolies and wealthy industrialists. Early PR practitioners attempted to combat this negative press by placing positive stories about their clients.

It is thought that Ivy Lee (a former journalist) was the first person to use press releases. In 1914, he was retained by John D. Rockefeller to represent his company, Standard Oil. Lee fed newspapers media releases (often full of lies and misinformation) explaining away the sins of his apparently misunderstood clients. Lee became so adept at whitewashing even the worst corporate sins that he earnt the nickname ‘Poison Ivy’, helping PR professionals earn the reputation of being ‘spin doctors’.

Public relations has undergone a process of continued evolution since the turn of the century, and the antics of Poison Ivy. At its inception, public relations was quite simple. It began as a more one-sided love affair, focused on securing favourable publicity for one’s client. It then evolved into Lesly’s two-way process: advising clients on how to bolster their public image, garner public support, and engaging in carefully-crafted conversations with the public.

As the sophistication of the discipline grew, so did the realisation that there were many more audiences than just the general public. There were employees, company investors, shareholders, government departments and local communities. PR practitioners quickly realised that each of these audiences could have equally as much impact on the success of an organisation as the general public. So, separate skills and methodologies were developed to more effectively and efficiently communicate with each audience type.

Public relations practitioners pinpointed which communication skills and methodologies worked with each audience type. They called upon other disciplines and other factors to influence public relations campaigns. Psychological factors such as self-interest, third-party impact, cognitive dissonance and credibility played a big part in early public relations campaigns.

Public Relations Today

Rapid changes in society, combined with huge leaps and bounds in technology and media consumption, have resulted in paradigm-shifting audience segmentation and PR practices.

Only ten or fifteen years ago, PR professionals were mailing media kits and faxing pitches. Today, media kits are online and pitches are tweeted. It’s no longer all about journalists and editors on month-long deadlines. It’s about reaching out to bloggers with unlimited, hour-by-hour deadlines. Press conferences have evolved into Twitter chats, product shots are downloaded from Pinterest, focus groups have been replaced by Facebook friends, and Twitter breaks news stories rather than the six o’clock news.

With the rise of content marketing and the veritable landslide of online media, PR professionals are under pressure. PR professionals can no longer send out a media release or three, make a couple of phone calls and watch the editorial roll in. Increasingly, clients are looking for blog posts and bylines, viral social media campaigns, likes and follows and shares by the thousands. With the familiar cry of ‘Content is King!’ echoing through the communications industry, the traditional custodians of content (PR professionals) must adapt to our new world of technology.

In today’s multi-platform, social-media dominated landscape, content marketing is definitely here to stay. The PR industry needs to ensure that they are not sidelined and retain their content custodian status by taking advantage of the technology that is now available. Content is the bread and butter of the PR professional. Embracing this new technology simply stands the PR profession in good stead. At the end of the day, using earned media, in conjunction with owned media outlets, better supports the attainment of a company’s business objectives.

Media Connections Kicks Off A Media Madness Membership Drive

Our friends at Media Connections got in touch with a special membership offer they are running this week that we wanted to share with our Marketing.com.au readers.

Media Connections is the place where story ideas, media and publicity meet. As a Media Directory, they offer business, PR and marketing companies a channel to submit releases to their growing database of journalists. Journalists are alerted of that “next story” with their Journalist Alerts putting your news, new releases and new profiles right into their inboxes.

There have over 350 journalists subscribed to the alerts and Media Connections are committed to getting your news out for you.

This week, the Media Connections Team have kicked off a week long Membership Drive after the success of their $1 Membership offer when they launched quarterly memberships on the 2nd of July.

The Media Madness Membership Options are:

  • Quarterly Press Room Membership $20 (Save $55)
  • Annual Press Room Membership $50 (Save $225)
  • Annual Marketing Membership $150 (Save 425)

What is the catch? There is no catch and even better these rates stay in place over the life of your subscription!

The Media Madness Membership Drive will close at Midnight Friday 19th of July.

Registration is simple:

  1. Visit: http://mediaconnections.com.au/register/
  2. Choose the membership option that best suits you
  3. Register and enter the corresponding code to save:
  4. Press Room Quarterly – MEDIAMAD
  5. Press Room Annual – MEDIAMADPR
  6. Marketing Annual – MEDIAMADM

If you would like more information or have any questions for Media Connections, please contact the team at info@mediaconnections.com.au

The Real Cost of Marketing

How much marketing costs, or how much to spend on marketing can be a very tricky question for a lot of companies to their collective head around. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg scenario. You need to undertake marketing to attract clients but unless you have clients (and therefore a bit of cashflow), you can’t afford to undertake marketing. Sound about right? And when it comes to working out a marketing budget, how much to spend can be impossible to work out. How long is a piece of string? While we can’t answer that for you, we can give you some elements to consider when putting together a marketing budget.

First of all, do you know what marketing actually is? What is marketing in a nutshell? In case you aren’t sure here you are: marketing is everything that your company does in order to reach your target audience and convince them to buy your product and service. Don’t forget about the second step in that definition. It is no good to just ‘reach’ your audience. You must motivate them to take action, to buy your product, to log on to your website, to phone your service number. This is the only way you are going to convert your marketing spend into profit. Otherwise, what’s the point of spending the cash at all?

The next thing to remember is that marketing is a process, comprised of many elements, steps and phases. A good marketing campaign is not a two day TV ad placement. It is an integrated program which may include (but in way should be limited to): television, radio, social media, print, PR and mobile marketing elements. As such, you will probably need to purchase a few resources and bring in an expert consultant to help you out with all these elements.

How much you need to spend on these resources and experts is up to you and will differ greatly, depending on the industry you might be in and the scale of the business. There are a few ways that you might like to work out your marketing spend: a percentage of your total revenue; a percentage of profits; or a specific amount each year.

Regardless of how much you actually spend on marketing, the most important thing to keep in mind is return on investment. There is no point in spending big bucks and getting nothing back in return. Marketing should increase revenue and profit. Maybe not immediately, but definitely over time.

Just remember that free marketing does not exist. Unfortunately, to grow your business, you will need to invest in it. You will either have to pay with your time or with cold hard cash for results in the world of marketing. In today’s fast-paced, consumer driven marketplace, there just isn’t any other option.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for sharing these insights with us.

 

 

Ad Spend or Editorial Placement – Advertising Versus Public Relations

Consumers are often unaware of product placement, of the use of integrated marketing campaigns, and celebrity and media endorsements to ensure a product’s success. These tactics are increasing due to difficulties capturing the attention of Y gen.

No matter how much public relations consultants want to believe it – there is no research to support the claim that PR-generated media coverage is worth two or three times more than paid advertising.

In 2005, David Michaelson and Don W. Stacks, professors at the University of Miami, tried to establish whether readers attributed greater credibility to news columns compared to advertisements. They looked at differences in credibility, message recall and interest levels.

In a nutshell, the researchers discovered that there were negligible differences between editorial and advertising. PR-generated media coverage and print advertising enjoyed equal credibility and both marketing mechanisms scored higher on the credibility and interest rating levels than online or radio advertising campaigns.

The professors’ results suggested that there is an enormous benefit to delivering marketing messages through a variety of communication channels. And (good news for PR professionals) with PR-generated media coverage obviously on par with paid advertising, it bolsters the argument for reallocating budgets into the public relations coffers (PR has always operated with considerably less cash than advertising).

There are some experts like Al Ries, author of The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR, that believe that most companies shouldn’t waste money on advertising until they have established some level of brand recognition and credibility through PR.

Al Ries states that all the recent brand successes have been due to public relations, not advertising; Red Bull, Starbucks, Harry Potter, The Body Shop, Google, e-Bay. Starbucks spent less than $10 million in advertising its first 10 years. That’s less than $1 million a year; a trivial amount for a national brand.

Some brand managers contend that an integrated approach is the best model; an integrated marketing plan delivers on PR, advertising and promotions. It considers all elements of the marketing mix. When only one element of the marketing mix is used in isolation; the message can be weaker. If you bombard your audience at every possible turn, eventually they will remember what you have been trying to tell them.

According to Advertising Age Magazine, the number one advertisement of the 20th century was produced by Rolls Royce: ‘At 60 miles per hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock’. David Ogilvy took this catch phrase directly from the first paragraph of a road test in a motoring magazine; he reinforced the ideas already put into the consumers mind via public relations.

This need is increasingly poignant when the elusive Gen Y is marketed to (or at, as the case may be). Traditional marketing seems to have little or no effect on members of Gen Y which is unfortunate because, according to research from Lifelounge Urban Market Research, Gen Y spends $48 billion a year on entertainment, fashion, sport, travel and music.

In our ever increasingly fast paced society, marketers and public relations consultants will continue to bombard the consumer with product placement, celebrity endorsements via any tool plausible. After all, every company wants a slice of the $48 billion pie.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for sharing this with us.

 

 

How to Get the Best Results from Your PR Agency

So, you’ve decided that your brand needs a helping hand to get cut-through in today’s cut-throat consumer driven market. You’re set with the advertising campaign but a bit unsure on what PR even is, let alone what its benefits are. Isn’t it all just spin? Don’t today’s marketing savvy consumers see through PR fluff these days?

This is exactly the attitude that a switched on PR agency will dispel immediately. Good PR can boost your sales, increase your own profile (or that of your company’s) within the industry and enhance consumer brand awareness. If you approach PR with the right attitude (and know a little about it), it will become an essential element of your brand’s marketing mix.

When it comes to PR, and getting the most out of those monthly retainer fees, the most important thing to remember is: stories do not write themselves. Your PR agency should be able to come up with a few story angles and even organise a few promo events to generate coverage in the social pages. But, if you have nothing interesting to say about your brand, then what do you expect journalists to pen stories about? Unfortunately, PR agencies cannot manufacture stories from thin air. Newspaper column inches are highly sort after (and highly expensive if you are paying for them in advertising dollars); journalists will not give them away for fluff.

The key is to brief your PR agency thoroughly. Make sure they know what’s going on in your business. Make sure they understand your products. Make sure they know who your target audience is. Make sure they meet all your key staff. And, most importantly, make sure they know what is on the horizon for your business. Believe it or not, magazines often work up to three months in advance. So, if you want coverage in Cosmo for that new line of lipstick you are releasing in November, you had better have your PR agency hounding the journos in August.

If you are the face of the business, get media trained. There is nothing more frustrating for a journalist than going to the trouble of setting up an interview, doing background research and organising a photographer only to find that the subject is a dud. A dud doesn’t know what their key messages are, what they are trying to sell or what attitude they want to get across. If this is the case, chances are your interview will be boring (and go unpublished) or, even worse, you will do more harm than good to your brand.

Make sure you help give your PR agency the tools they need to do a good job. One of the most important tools for a PR agency is high resolution, print ready images. If a journalist is interested in running a story (based on one of your PR agency’s media releases), one of the first requests will be for an image to accompany it. So, if your PR agency wants to set up a product photo shoot or even a photo shoot to get some headshots of your key employees, this is not to create extra work for you. This is to ensure bigger, better exposure for your brand.

Be prepared to invest some of your time in the PR exercise. While your PR agency will be able to work autonomously for the majority of time, they will need your input. They will need approvals on media releases. They might need you to give an interview to a journalist. They might even need you to attend a photo shoot. Most of all, they will want to meet face-to-face on a regular basis; it’s the easiest way to find out what’s happening in your business.

Make sure you don’t set unreasonable (or simply unattainable) goals for your PR agency. PR is a long-term investment. It won’t happen overnight. You won’t be on television tomorrow. Journalists received hundreds of media releases every day. It will take time for them to get to yours. But a good PR agency will make sure that they do get to yours. If PR is used as a long-term marketing tool, journalists will inevitably start to approach you for stories and information. You might become their preferred industry expert to quote in stories. They might start asking you for product information (rather than receiving it unsolicited from your PR agency).

Employing a PR agency to raise the profile your brand should be one of the most beneficial marketing strategies you employee. If you follow the tips above, your relationship with your PR agency should flourish, alongside consumer awareness of your brand.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for taking the time to share this great advice.