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Create a wave of communication

A practical guide for effective PR in the 21st century

Dropping the occasional press release can cause a big, noticeable splash. Which is great, but a waste if you let the ripples just fade away. It takes most people less than a week to forget about you, so don’t pat yourself on the back for your 15 minutes of fame too quickly.

To stay top of mind, you need to make sure people keep hearing about your company. You want to create an ongoing wave of earned, paid and owned media.

PR is all about being conscious of your communication efforts in order to create a stable yet flexible media presence.

Compare it to your pulse: it usually has a steady, steady rhythm, sometimes it speeds up, and sometimes its pace is really, really slow.

Your PR war room is the beating heart of your communication efforts. It reacts to expectations and needs, yet can be relied on to keep your public image alive and breathing. It adapts to the situation, does crisis management when needed and can even slow down at times.

Strong but steady

The steady beat of your campaigns ensures that your audience knows what to expect, and when to expect it. Whether it’s a daily tweet, a weekly newsletter, a monthly investor update or company blogpost – you need to keep your followers up to date on a regular basis.

It may sound boring, but it’s actually one of the most fun parts of the job. If you want to maintain a steady pace of interesting content that resonates, you need to be smart about it. Get into the nitty-gritty of your business. Make the boring shit interesting, and watch your fan base slowly grow.

Speeding up

Sometimes you have to up your game and put in some extra effort in addition to your regular messages, like during a seasonal occasion or a big news event. You see brands compete during something massively flashy like the Super Bowl, but it matters how you handle every company event.

During crises or big events, your timing and responses matter. It’s when you need to crack down and either rock the Twitter-sphere or do damage control. Man a control room with your colleagues and make sure you get the best out of the situation.

Slowing down

After all that steady going and speeding up, sometimes the world seems to go into slumber mode. Taking it slow can be useful during these times; it’s kind of useless to continue sending information into a world that’s not even listening.

This doesn’t mean you should stop communicating altogether, like the European newspaper Metro, which takes a break during the summer holidays. It might work for them, but unless you’re a newspaper, you may want to steer clear from such radical tactics. You can take a step back and give yourself a break every once in a while, but don’t go dark for too long.

How to keep it up

If you’re stumped for what to do, you only have to look around for help. There are tons of blogs and tools that will give you the inspiration you need. Just resolve to send that newsletter every week, do everything you can to get that biweekly podcast online or write that quarterly trend report for journalists.

Don’t allow the heart to stop beating, because you’ll sink into the dark recesses of people’s memories in no time. The expectation pattern you worked so hard to build will disappear in an instant.

So whatever you do, don’t limit your communication to the occasional press release. Instead, look to create campaigns that consistently put your message out there so that your target audiences can start to ride the rhythm of your communication wave.

 

Conclusion

Creating a PR campaign that matters isn’t easy. It requires concentrated effort and work. If you stick to your guns and to our principles, though, you’ll be able to give it your very best shot.

Stop selling a product, sell your point of view: Your communication and PR strategy start with purpose. Your purpose is both the beginning and the end of the product or company you’re trying to push. So first define it, and then…

Create a grand master plan: Once you’ve defined your purpose and separate audiences, finding the right channels of communication and tone of voice becomes a breeze. Just make sure to write everything down in your grand master plan.

Focus on resonance: It’s all about creating relevant content your audience didn’t know they were looking for. If you offer the right content at the right time, you’ll see a boost in engagement.

Use your story as your strategy: Good storytelling can make the difference between getting attention every once in a while and keeping the attention. Figure out which type of story fits which audience and cater to it accordingly.

Speak like a human being: People enjoy being talked to like they’re people. You’ll engage your audience by using actual conversation and a conversational tone of voice.

Spread your changes across platforms: Make sure you cover your bases and create rich content. In other words, reinforce your message with images and other types of content.

Create a content calendar: If you want your campaign to have the biggest possible impact, you need to plan where to post what and when. So create a content calendar to give keep your overview.

Do PR in half the time

We started this company to scratch our own itch, as publishers. It’s now grown to a full PR toolkit with killer features we couldn’t dream of. It makes everyone’s work shorter, easier, and hell, better.

Patrick de Laive
Co-founder, The Next Web

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