PR Niblets

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Strategic Intersection of Business, PR and Marketing

By Henry Feintuch

Click here to listen to Henry’s appearance on Food for Thought: Lunchbreak with Steve Bookbinder.

A few months ago, my phone rang. On the other end was Steve Bookbinder, a long-time business friend and CEO/lead trainer at DM Training, a professional sales training and coaching business. Steve had recently started a podcast series, Food for Thought: Lunchbreak with Steve Bookbinder, as a vehicle to share his expertise and attract prospective clients.

Now, Steve is a salesman’s salesman. As a former actor, salesperson, entrepreneur, business owner and more, Steve has an uncanny ability to be able to sell any product, service or concept. And I mean that in the most flattering sense – he’s that good. Companies from around the world pay top dollar to fly Steve to meet with their sales teams to teach, motivate and expand their ability to grow and sell better in order to achieve their boldest sales objectives.

But back to the call. Steve was looking to broaden his podcast’s content by bringing in external subject matter experts. He wanted to know if PR had a direct impact on the sales process and – if so – could I join him for an episode to provide practical and actionable information for his listeners? I had no choice but to accept.

You see, his request hit me dead-on in my philosophical viewpoint regarding strategic public relations. Nearly every time I meet with a prospective client, after they express their want/desire/need for PR support, I ask, “why are you here?”

Now that’s not a glib question. I’m an entrepreneur and business owner, and my company’s income fluctuates based on the number and size of the PR programs I sell. But, as an ethical PR practitioner who really cares about his career and industry’s reputation, I always want to understand the motivation behind the need for PR – not just the perceived need. After all, how can my team design an actionable campaign to achieve each company’s business objectives unless we comprehend each organization’s needs and business challenges?
  • Is the prospective client losing business (or not growing as much) as a competitor?
  • Are there misperceptions about the company in the market?
  • Is there a business challenge in building distribution?
  • Are competitors quoted more frequently and prominently in the media?
  • Is there a long-term M&A or IPO strategy in the works and can PR help familiarize the market with a company?
…. Or any one of a hundred different underlying business reasons motivating the need for PR.
PR is far more than generating press releases and publicity; it’s about helping companies to build their thought leadership, generate more sales leads, improve their reputation, find more and better distribution channels, influence the thinking of their target audiences and more.
So, I recorded that podcast episode with Steve. The 15-minute segment turned into 34 minutes of airtime. I suspect I could have gone on all afternoon if Steve didn’t put an end to our “shop talk” segment. And you can listen to the episode here – perhaps during your lunch break.

Stop me sometime, whether you have 34 minutes or a couple of hours, to discuss strategic PR. It’s a critical part of this industry I love.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Developing Creative Social Media Content for “News Challenged” Organizations

By Doug Wright, Senior Account Director

Social media has come into its own as a widely accepted and sought-after PR tool. It’s hard to imagine that any business today that would go without LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as a baseline for promoting themselves and their products and services.
Once you set up your social media platforms of choice, what are you going to say? This may seem particularly challenging for organizations that offer highly technical or niche products or services. So, what do you post when your company hasn’t generated much news recently? 

With a little creativity, you’ll find there are many opportunities to take the conversation in relevant directions that will connect with your audiences. Here are several opportunities to widen your perspective to new ideas that will keep your company’s or client’s social media content fresh and interesting.

1)  Promote or look back on event
     Is your company sponsoring or attending any upcoming events, such as training sessions, presentations, company off-sites or simply visiting customers? Social media provides a great way to drive traffic to these events. Posting about events after they happen, preferably with photos, also makes for engaging content.

    2) Share executive expertise
     Who at your company is an industry expert? Have they been recognized by a professional organization? Or have they written an article or report that would be of interest to the company’s followers? Even a simple shout-out to an employee who has accomplished something helps put a human face on your organization. 

3)    Leverage case histories
     Here’s the opportunity to share a third-party endorsement of your company’s products or services. Where has your product or service been used to solve a problem in the markets you serve? Posting the story of how your offerings improved performance, efficiency and productivity can forge a powerful sales message.

4)    Post industry-relevant media coverage
     Obviously, positive news stories about your organization and company should be a mainstay of your social media messaging. But as contributors and consumers of media, you should also post stories that are relevant to your industry and product areas. Be sure to vet these stories carefully as you do not want to introduce any unnecessary controversy or share news that promotes a competitor. Reporters also appreciate when you showcase their work and may tend to watch your feed for story ideas. 

5)  Celebrate special occasions
     Is there an upcoming national holiday or a certain awareness day, week or month that is relevant to your market? Holidays and national celebrations provide excellent opportunities to wish your followers well and show a little more personality, perhaps with a GIF or photo. 

     6)    Get a little silly
     While giving your company a means to wisecrack may not be the reason you set up your corporate social media platforms, everyone can appreciate a good joke or meme—particularly if it is good natured and positive. You’ll get extra points for keeping the gags relevant to your industry, products and services. Steer away from controversial subject matter, such as religion, politics, inappropriate language and themes. 

7)    Contribute to conversation
     All too often social media platform administrators are focused on posting their own content, but not reacting to their followers’ content. Social media is a conversation rather than a soap box for broadcasting your company’s messages. By liking, sharing or commenting on others’ posts, you are engaging with others. Also, by doing this you will undoubtedly find additional topics that are of interest to your audiences in real time.

As you hone your profiles and posts, a distinct voice will develop that your followers will be able to identify – smart, arrogant, funny, mean, happy or cynical. These tips will help you veer away from coming off as dull, repetitive and insular. Making your company’s platforms varied, interesting and attractive to your key audiences is well worth the effort and will help to keep your audiences engaged with your company brand for the long term.