Monday Marketing Q&A: Social media's role in public relations

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We’re focusing on public relations for this week’s Monday Marketing Q&A. If you’ve ever wondered about the relationship between public relations and social media, and whether traditional methods of PR, like press releases, are still relevant in 2018, this video was made for you.

Illumine8 Founder and CMO, Christina May, answers questions about PR tactics and the role social media plays in them. Catch the full video on Facebook Live:

Question 1: What is social media’s role in public relations in 2018?

CMay: Social media amplifies your PR efforts.

Most people think of public relations as writing press releases and sending hundreds of emails to journalists in the hopes that your news piece is published. Social media has changed this. We hate to break it to you, but your post likely won’t end up it the Washington Post or The New York Times. Now, it's more difficult to get your company news actually placed in traditional publications.

Today, you’re much more likely to get your story shared or featured by a social media influencer, blogger, or vlogger. Luckily, this has just as much, or even more, influence than traditional PR Methods, especially if their audience is made up of your company personas.

Traditional methods still have a place in the marketing world, but social media opens your content up to a wider audience. Taking the time to reach out over social media helps your content reach the right people.

The social media world is also a great place to develop relationships with media writers and influencers. Pitching stories is much different than sending out your story to journalists, but as we stated before, it could be even more effective.

Question 2: What news is “press release worthy,” and what is best left to social posts?

CMay: It comes down to newsworthiness.

Most people think that anything that happens with their brand is news, when this is really not the case. You should be very selective when it comes to your press releases, what you publish, and who you send them out to. The bottom line is that these should be individual, unique, newsworthy, and factual.

Editorial content, like a press release, should be newsworthy to more than just to you. Another thing to note is that anything that has to do with ads shouldn't be in a press release, as this isn't newsworthy.

When pitching traditional press releases to news publications or sources, think about the audience of the publication. Is there a wide range of ages and demographics? The broader the audience is, the more newsworthy your content has to be for it to be published.

Look into pitching your news to industry magazines and websites. You’re more likely to get something published in a niche industry publication. You’ll also be able to get more technical in your press release.

Everything else falls into social media. Content that's a bit self-promotional, educational, and fun facts works very well on social media. Things that you wouldn’t necessarily write a press release about serve as a great tweet or Facebook post.

Question 3: How does social media help amplify my public relations efforts?

CMay: Reach and engagement play a role.

Once you figure out what's truly news and what's best left for social media, take your traditional press release and media list and personally pitch it to the right contacts. Start with sending your news out via services like PR Newswire or HARO.

On the social media side of PR, monitor for opportunities and identify influencers. Social listening is a huge part of public relations. If your influencers have a large audience, and they share your content, that's a kind of press release tactic for social media. Use Twitter to pitch directly to writers or the right publication.

Social media is a great place to research the right contacts, and cultivate your list. It’s also an easy place to contact them directly.

Being reciprocal over social media is a way to nurture your contacts. Start by following appropriate social media etiquette. If your news is shared or placed by a publication or influencer, like, retweet or share the post to nurture that relationship. This also helps you develop a group of influencers for future public relations opportunities.

Do you have other business or entrepreneurship questions on your mind? Send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and follow us for more marketing insights.

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