Thanks to the Internet, the world of PR is continuosly evolving. But with this evolution, there seems to be even more questions as to exactly what public relations is and what it can do for a company.
Many publicists may run social media accounts, manage SEO, send out newsletters or write blog content, but PR isn't just one thing.
The bottom line is if your publicist is not generating media stories and creating proactive tactics to engage your audience and drive them to your website it’s not PR.
When the PR industry was first pioneered, it was created as a way to communicate proactively with media rather than always being in crisis mode when the media got hold of a story. Over time it has become a powerful marketing tool, creating awareness and connecting audiences with brands through credible third-party endorsements (i.e. the media).
Thanks to social media and other tools, today PR is truly about relating to your audiences and engaging with them indirectly and directly. While traditional, proactive media pitching is still considered by a majority of professionals to be the foundation of a campaign, companies now implement other strategies using social media to further a campaign reach.
Separately, SEO, social media and blogging work to accomplish different goals. Together, they can have a powerful return for your business. The real key to success is knowing how all of these elements work separately, knowing and understanding your audience and how to find them, and creating a strategy to develop compelling stories that will invoke an emotional response from customers to click the “buy” button or pick up the phone.
Where the traditional PR approach has more power is that an abundance of positive media stories on your company create links back to your site that can increase your SEO automatically, and when customers see links to these stories on your website or social networks, it instantly builds credibility. Because, at the end of the day anyone can pay to be on Page 1 of a search engine, but nothing is as powerful as a referral from a trusted source.
Jennifer Fortney is President of Cascade Communications, a boutique virtual PR and marketing communications company in Chicago for small business and startups. In her 17- year career she has worked with some of the top Fortune 500 companies and a wide variety of small businesses and startups across the country. A Journalism major from The University of Kansas, she has written broadcast news, worked in sports and broadcast marketing, is the PR Instructor at SCORE Chicago and Founder of @MyStorySource live media pitch feed on Twitter and Facebook. @SmallBizPRXpert