Public Relations


By Jessica Wong

By combining PR with branding, content creation, advertising campaigns and social media outreach, companies can generate marketing results and boost their business growth.

Public relations (PR) is essential to any successful strategic marketing plan, but is your business making the most of its PR efforts? An effective PR campaign not only delivers media coverage in your target publications. In addition, optimized PR feeds into all other analog and digital marketing efforts to help your business connect with its audiences, wherever they are.

Why PR is so powerful

Even in the age of digital marketing, public relations campaigns are based on pitching to the media. When just a few years ago, PR professionals focused on print and broadcast media only; they are now extending their efforts to include online-only publications and leading bloggers.

The goal is simple: PR professionals are working with journalists and other content creators to add credibility to the brand they are representing. Media coverage not only creates exposure for the brand. It also adds a layer of credibility and trust that exceeds what other elements of a brand’s marketing strategy can provide.

According to the Institute for PR, audiences consider so-called earned media to be more credible than other sources of information. This credibility is critical to brand development, whether you want to build brand awareness or establish thought leadership in your field. Earned media is the result of effective PR.

The importance of PR is reflected in the industry’s continued growth. PR revenue is expected to grow worldwide from $88 billion in 2020 to $129 billion in 2025. PR agencies in the United States generated $14.5 billion in revenue in 2020. PR grew during the pandemic when advertising and the marketing industry as a whole contracted.

How to optimize the outcome of PR campaigns

To optimize the results of PR campaigns and maximize the benefits of public relations for a brand, marketing and PR professionals need to recognize the strengths of PR. Although online and offline news coverage can support a brand in the short and the long term, PR thrives over time. In addition, PR campaigns have more impact when connected to other elements of a company’s marketing strategy.

Focusing on the long term

Establishing successful media relationships takes time. PR experts understand which publications are interested in covering which brands and consistently pitch relevant stories to their media contacts. They understand that not every journalist will pick up every press release or feature suggestion. Rather than blanket-emailing press releases, PR pros get to know the interests of the most relevant journalist and pitch stories that are likely to make the cut.

The effort of relationship-building and consistency pays off when a brand receives attention in local and regional media outlets, eventually even getting the attention of national media. Industry-specific publications can also offer a great starting point for PR campaigns.

PR is best used as a mid to long term component of a brand’s marketing strategy. Allowing time to establish and nurture media relationships plays to the strengths of PR. Of course, there may be situations when immediate crisis communications are critical to protecting a brand’s reputation. But in most cases, PR excels as part of a long-term strategy.

Combining the strengths of PR with other marketing activities

Despite its undoubted strengths, PR alone is not enough to achieve all of a company’s business goals. Expecting a single PR campaign to increase credibility, drive web traffic, establish thought leadership within an industry and drive foot traffic to local branches is unrealistic.

Saying that, once marketing teams combine PR efforts with other strategic marketing activities, they will soon see the desired results. Combined with consistent brand messaging, for example, PR can improve brand perception among audiences.

While public relations does not necessarily result in immediate sales, stories pitched to the media can effectively educate the public about specific products and services. Many online publications are happy to link to a company’s website, thus helping search engine optimization (SEO) and local search rankings.

How PR, paid advertising and social media work together

Where PR is ideal for improving a brand’s image in the long term and connecting with audiences through a third party, paid advertising offers short-term, data-driven opportunities.

A strategically planned program of paid adverts can immediately increase brand or product exposure. Since the advent of digital marketing channels, it has become easier to reach highly targeted audiences, increasing the effectiveness of campaigns. Real-time campaign performance data allows marketers to iterate messaging and campaign design on the spot, further improving the effectiveness of their approach.

High-quality visual content, including images and videos, can be compelling in local newspapers, broadcast outlets and online channels. By streamlining advertising and PR messages, paid and earned media start working hand in hand to reach users of publications they already enjoy and, more importantly, trust.

Social media has been another fairly recent addition to a marketing team’s choice of channels where they connect with their audiences. Like traditional media, social media offers a range of opportunities, including paid, earned and owned coverage.

While earned coverage continues to come with the highest level of credibility even on social media, a company’s owned media channels offer another opportunity to share the results of PR efforts. By sharing stories that have been published about the brand, marketers are allowing the third-party credibility of those stories to reflect on the brand.

Existing followers will feel reassured in their choice of brand followership, and sharing stories from credible sources may catch the interest of new potential audiences.

Bringing it all together

Successful marketing relies on a solid strategy that joins the strengths of PR and other marketing activities. Combining PR with the power of branding, content creation, advertising campaigns, and social media outreach allows companies to generate the marketing results and overall business growth they are looking for. On its own, PR is powerful, but in combination with other marketing activities, public relations become unbeatable.

By Jessica Wong

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder & CEO of both Valux Digital and uPro Digital. Jessica Wong is the Founder and CEO of both Valux Digital and uPro Digital. She is a digital marketing and PR expert with more than 20 years of success driving bottom-line results for clients through innovative marketing programs aligned with emerging strategies.

Sourced from Entrepreneur 

By Kaloyan Gospodinov

These strategies will help you win and position yourself and your company in the best way this year.

A marketing strategy is the “plan identifying what marketing goals and objectives will be pursued to sell a particular product or product line and how these objectives will be achieved in the time available.” Keep in mind that you need to consider the following three pillars in your marketing strategy plan before execution:

  1. Core audience demographics
  2. Pricing and marketing budget
  3. Business goals

The following seven marketing strategies are vital for connecting with your target audience, achieving your marketing goals by promoting products and services, increasing brand awareness and engaging with your target audience through various channels.

1. Email marketing

Email marketing is an old concept that will be very relevant in 2023. Having lists of targeted audiences with a differentiated email structure for each can provide you with a great and “cheap” way to showcase the developments in your company and sell your products.

Here are three examples that you can implement in your email marketing. The first one is to increase your email interactivity. People are used to social media and the engagement they can give when reading or viewing content. Add videos, sliders, games and carousels of images that people can swipe.

The second one is the use of storytelling in your email copy. People are looking to connect to a brand’s values, and one of the best ways to do that is to tell your brand’s story. Tell them your origin story, show your personality, the company’s culture and team. Use videos, quotes and memes to build a relationship with your subscribers.

The last one is personalization. Personalization in the email body can improve your open rate by 13% and can increase the clickthrough rate by 28% while reducing the bounce rate by 18%.

Email is still thriving as you control how you approach your audience based on your marketing objectives without the need to comply with rules imposed by the platform you use.

2. Social media marketing

Social media marketing is here to stay, and we need to find the right platform for us to create content, connect with our audience and show our expertise or products. This will be dictated by your target demographics and where they spend the most time at.

It is also important to note that Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies will have specific platforms that can be used for their business model. For example, LinkedIn for B2B and TikTok for B2C. Remember that your audience can move to a different platform down the line.

One thing that you can integrate into your social media marketing strategy is to think of ways to incorporate user-generated content. This can be in the form of reviews, unboxing, tutorials, and product reviews. According to Stackla, 88% of consumers specify authenticity and relatability as crucial decision drivers to complete in-app purchases and increase their brand engagement.

The most important thing is to use your authentic voice and showcase the people in your company and their expertise, values and personalities.

3. Public relations (PR)

Another old-fashioned concept that still has a place in your marketing toolbox, especially in 2023. PR is relevant and can help you increase awareness around a milestone you’ve achieved or a product/ initiative you are launching. Media mentions will also help you with the SEO of your website/ brand name and how you rank in searches as you get authoritative websites mentioning your company.

According to Statista, the PR industry is expected to be worth $129 billion by 2025 or an increase of 68% from 2020, worth $88 billion.

4. SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must-do strategy in 2023. SEO aims to increase the searchability of your brand name and specific keywords relating to your offers while helping you grow traffic and sales.

Organic SEO can help you rank your content for specific keywords. I recommend learning how to do the basics of SEO in your content and focusing initially on long-tail keywords, as it will be easier for you to rank.

The main pillar in your SEO strategy should be creating high-quality content and targeting your customers’ needs and questions engagingly while targeting keyword phrases. Create evergreen content that will help customers understand your company and products better.

SEO can be integrated with paid ads so your articles can show on top of the search results.

5. Influencer marketing

Collaboration with influencers can help you scale your business in a short period by increasing your brand awareness and reputation. The key here is to research and get numerous quotes from different influencers so you can decide on the best deal.

I’d say that it’s not always beneficial to go for the biggest names in a particular niche, as your business might not be prepared for that growth. A better strategy will be to find smaller accounts with a more engaged audience so both parties can grow simultaneously and be more sustainable.

One growing trend in influencer marketing is live stream shopping, which means that potential customers can buy products through a live video. Influencers can showcase products, give opinions and answer questions from their followers about the product they are presenting. Instagram introduced Live Shopping in September 2022, which allows users to purchase products from Instagram Live directly, so expect this to be prioritized on the platform in 2023.

6. Virtual events

Virtual events are here to stay, especially after the last couple of years when travel was almost non-existent. Showing your expertise and value through online events can help you increase your brand awareness and reach. The list of attendees can be reused and segmented in your email communication, which will benefit your company in the long run.

Another strategy is to attract experts in the industry you are operating in and create an event where they talk about various subjects related to your company. The event videos can also be reused on social media in long and short-form videos.

7. Video marketing

The most important strategy in the last few years is video marketing. Closely related to hosting virtual events, video marketing can help you present your company from various perspectives.

People from your company can have topics they are working on and record video presentations for the world to see. Behind-the-scenes and company events can showcase the human side of your team, and the sky is the limit regarding creative ways to create video content.

Authenticity here is key as your willingness to open up in front of the camera so people can connect with who you are and what your company stands for.

Short vertical video content will be one of the biggest trends in video marketing in 2023. According to Zippia, 85% of U.S. adults own a smartphone as of 2022, and on average, Americans spend 5 hours and 24 minutes on their mobile devices daily. As vertical video content can take more real estate on a device and people are using TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, you need to focus your time and creativity to investigate that type of video content.

The world is moving towards personal branding, and video is one, if not the best, way to open up to your audience.

Win with marketing in 2023

To summarise, test and see what works for you and your company. Do not focus and do all the strategies mentioned here simultaneously — experiment with what resonates with you as a personality and your business niche. Adapt and develop the best marketing mix for your desired outcome that will help you win in 2023.

By Kaloyan Gospodinov

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor. CEO and Founder at Aezir. Kaloyan is an entrepreneur with global experience. Past successes include 1m+ app downloads, six figures from Amazon FBA, and managing a million-dollar crypto project. Currently, he advises Swiss biotech and runs a London marketing agency. His motivation is helping people pursue their dreams.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Lis Anderson

Public relations is changing. The media landscape looks very different than it did just two years ago, and savvy PR leaders should be adapting to the modern world.

PR professionals know how to generate interest in a brand and develop trust. Part of this is achieved through writing excellent content that resonates with an audience and placing it on relevant websites.

Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals understand how good content helps a website shoot up the SERPs (search engine results pages) by using carefully planned keywords. Good research means good content that can secure quality backlinks from external outlets.

Combining PR and SEO achieves great and, most importantly, measurable results. Even Google’s John Mueller backs the power of digital PR.

We’ve seen the results for ourselves. We boosted our PR with SEO and have seen the change in the quality of sales leads coming through. So, how did we do it? Here are some of our lessons learned:

First, look at your website. While this is your shop window, it’s also so much more than that. It’s how you attract people to find out more about you, how to establish yourself as a thought leader and how to create trust.

It’s also what Google analyses and decides to place you in search results for keywords. This is where combining PR and SEO can really work. Content is one of the main links between PR and SEO. It is an essential part of SEO to ensure you are found on Google. The higher up the search results you are, the more likely you are to get in front of your target audience.

Well-written content is highly valued by Google. And so are backlinks to your website.

Deliver what your audience wants.

Find out what works for your target audiences by tracking their behavior. Then, create more of the content that is doing well. Some of our metrics include:

• Number of visits to a blog post or service page.

• Bounce rate.

• Time on page.

• Next page that visitors go.

Use Google Analytics to understand how your content is performing as well as the behaviors of your audiences. This is where your SEO team can help. The PR team can take the information and rework the content on-site to ensure it appeals to the audience.

Create copy that resonates.

Boosting the amount of content on-site will help bring in traffic. Google wants to see plenty of fresh content and defined fresh content as:

• Recent events or hot topics.

• Regularly recurring events.

• Frequent updates.

New blog posts are helpful but so are updates to previous blog posts. SEO professionals can review blog posts, analyze backlinks and make suggestions for updating keywords. Savvy PR writers can ensure blog posts are high-quality written content.

This can be done for clients’ websites and also with media outlets. Identify the keywords that drive traffic, review articles to see their traction, and then work with your PR team to create even stronger content.

Turn your website into an important source.

This is another area where the SEO and PR combination can make a real difference. Backlinks are a crucial part of improving the domain authority of a website and, therefore, increasing visibility in search results.

Backlinks come in two forms: dofollow and nofollow. SEO values dofollow links, as these tell Google that the website is happy to share its domain authority with the origin of the link. Nofollow links tell Google that the websites aren’t sharing domain authority. It doesn’t mean that websites with nofollow links should be ignored, however, as they often come from high DA media outlets. Use them to build brand awareness and trust in the brand and website.

Together, they are powerful. Your PR team can be strategic in securing backlinks in the right places for the right audiences.

Research effective content.

PR professionals have close relationships with journalists and editors and know what their contacts are looking for. Many outlets have their own engagement and reach/view targets to hit. PR professionals work with them to produce content that resonates with their audiences.

SEO teams can help research keywords and topics that have value to target audiences. The crossover between the two is the sweet spot and can enhance relationships with media outlets. Your content will bring them the hits and reach they need.

Get techy with your content.

PR can support SEO work on the wider website as well. Meta descriptions are such an important part of SEO. These are the descriptions under the URLs that appear on search engine results pages. They’re important because they can sway someone to click on your link over another one.

Getting the tone of voice right and choosing the right language to communicate key messages is where your PR professionals will excel.

Choosing the right image to illustrate the blog post is also something that PR professionals can help with. PR people are well versed in sourcing images, arranging photoshoots and more. Journalists and editors often expect images, videos, links, etc. from PR professionals as part of a pitch.

Choose a powerful combination that gets you results.

A combined PR and SEO strategy is a long-term strategy that can increase brand awareness and improve the number and quality of leads as a result. They complement each other perfectly and help boost the quality and success of each other’s work. While there is crossover in skills—used in different ways for different ends— they can absolutely support each other.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By Lis Anderson

Lis Anderson is founder and director at PR consultancy AMBITIOUS and an agency MD with over 20 years in the communications industry. Read Lis Anderson’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

Sourced from Katy Times

(NewsUSA) – It wasn’t that long ago that Infographics were the “It” tool for public relations and marketing – until they weren’t.

To understand why infographics should still be a viable campaign strategy for clients, we need to understand the history behind them.

In 2012, everyone was producing infographics — usually of low-quality design, although as agencies became more versed in how effective these could be as a sales to market a client’s product, more high-design infographics began emerging. In fact, according to one experienced UK-based SEO and content provider says he was creating 200 to 300 infographics per year in 2014.

In 2016, the industry became flooded, and journalists began rejecting pitches that included, to date, these time-tested marketing strategies.

Fast forward four years, and there remains an argument for keeping infographics as a viable marketing tool in your stable of resources that you pitch to clients. Here’s why:

  • They have a visual appeal. It’s no surprise that visually presented information is more appealing to the eye than a mountain of text, which means that a graphically-told story will usually pique a reader’s interest before any information is processed.
  • They are easy to comprehend. The brain is wired in such a way that visual are able to be processed much faster than language. In fact, according to studies, people can follow visual instructions more than 323 percent better than written instructions.
  • They are easily recalled. If you’re trying to make an impression on a would-be customer, know this: according to studies people can recall only about 10 percent of written content three days after reading it versus 65 percent of information presented in visual form.
  • They are shareable. Infographics can break down potentially complex information into the bite-size pieces that we have become accustomed to in a visually-appealing format that has the ability to be recalled. In this way, people are more likely to share the content of the infographic.
  • They can help to increase sales. Go back to the bullet point on recall because it’s worth repeating: the human brain is better at retaining visuals more than text. This means that if you have a complex product or service (think an IT company such as Oracle), it would stand to reason that presenting processes and benefits of using a company’s product might be better presented visually in an infographic, rather than a block of text. This in turn, will help you to stand out from your competition.
  • They aren’t being promoted as heavily today. There’s no better time than today to start using a tool that has, for many been shelved at worst, and been put on the back burner at best. Think of it this way: if your competitors aren’t using this sales tool, why wouldn’t you? As long as you use a format that is visually appealing to tell your client’s story or present a product or service, it remains a great way to not only attract attention, but for potential customers to remember you.

The bottom line is that infographics continue to be a solid tool when used correctly and can potentially add fantastic benefits as part of a wider content marketing strategy.

Sourced from Katy Times

By Laura Perkes

The often overlooked tactic enhances reach, raises brand awareness and drives new customers and clients to your business.

Picture the scene: It’s 2021, and the enormity and popularity of  is providing entrepreneurs with a plethora of opportunities and the ability to tap into an audience of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential customers, all at the push of a button.

When Facebook first launched back in 2004, it really was the first of its kind. Before that, we had MySpace and a few other platforms I’ve never heard of (Friendster or Hi5, anyone?), but none of them had managed to make the impact that Facebook did, and still does.

Since Facebook, we’ve seen the launch of Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016, plus the addition of Instagram Reels in 2020. Not to mention other platforms such as Snapchat and Clubhouse, all giving us access to a wider audience.

In the past 19 years, we’ve all had the luxury of being able to communicate directly with our fans, customers and potential customers in a way that has never been possible before. But before the advent of social media, businesses and brands were built the “old fashioned” way, using more traditional marketing techniques, such as advertising and face-to-face networking.

Social media seems like the Holy Grail

When the world became more digitized, tools such as online advertising, pay-per-click and email marketing grew in popularity and gave entrepreneurs and brands alike the chance to reach an even wider audience. Data was easier to track and metrics and insights enabled you to calculate your return on investment.

For many entrepreneurs and startup businesses, social media seems like the Holy Grail. Not only do you get to build an audience and interact and engage with your followers, but it’s also completely free at the point of entry. Of course, you can now invest in adverts across all social-media channels, but for someone completely new to the  world, social media is a sensible place to start.

Yet there’s a missing piece of the puzzle here. A modality that’s as old as time, but a powerful force when it comes to sharing messages, raising brand awareness and building on the know-like-trust factor. And that’s .

Everything you say and do is PR

Public relations exists so that you can communicate with your audience. If you Google “public relations,” you will find Wikipedia’s definition: “Public Relations is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or organisation and the public, in order to affect the public perception.”

So, essentially, everything you say and do is PR, but the platform in which you share your message changes. The tools you use to share your message changes. But the message remains the same. Your audience, generally, stays the same, yet where they hang out may change, based on the launch of new platforms, or the increased popularity of existing platforms, such as YouTube and podcasts.

YouTube first launched back in 2005 and podcasts launched a year earlier in 2004, yet they’ve only really exploded as a business tool over the past few years, giving entrepreneurs and startups the chance to create easy-to-share and easy-to-digest content that their ideal clients will love  content that can then be repurposed across social-media channels.

Back in 2004, when I first started my career in PR, there were really only three types of media outlets to pitch to: print titles, TV and radio. Online titles were seen as the poor relation to print, so we rarely bothered pitching to them as clients didn’t see the value in them  oh how times have changed!

However, because there was less choice, it made it easier to build relationships with journalists and work on features and content ideas with them. Over time, the media landscape has changed, and online started to make a huge impact and podcasts and YouTube channels became prime real estate.

Now, there is way more choice when it comes to gaining exposure, so while you may not consider social media, YouTube or podcasts your typical media outlets, they’re still consumed by your ideal clients, still covering topics that complement what you do, and they still have a ready-made audience of loyal fans that you could (and should) be tapping into. How? Quite simply, by pitching.

One piece of content can be shared and shared again

The way you’d pitch yourself to a podcast host is the exact same way that you’d pitch yourself to a journalist. That is a PR tactic and a skill that publicists have been honing for decades. Now, one of the utterly brilliant, yet often overlooked, powers of PR is that you can take one piece of content and deliver it to millions of people in one go. No other form of  enables you to do that.

It may take time to build and execute your PR plan. You may not see anything published or broadcast for three to four months, but when it lands, it’s well worth the wait, as your content has the potential to be seen or heard by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential ideal clients and customers. Just think about the circulation of a print publication, then triple it to get an average reach.

Think about the audience size of a podcast, then think how many extra people you can reach by sharing it across your social-media channels. And then think about how many extra people you will reach when the host shares it across their social-media channels. All of a sudden, one piece of content can be shared and shared again, leaving behind a digital footprint and breadcrumbs that can lead even more people to your business.

This is another reason why PR is such a powerful and influential tool  because what you do now is searchable forever. PR isn’t always easy to measure, which potentially adds to its downfall in the ROI stakes, but it’s still a tactic that should be employed, and a muscle that should be flexed, as part of your communications strategy.

PR is yet another way of transporting your business and your expertise to a wider audience, an audience that has been built up and cultivated for decades, that already knows, likes and trusts the outlet and the content they produce.

So, next time you decide to put all your eggs in one basket and focus all of your attention on one particular marketing tool, or one particular platform, ask if there’s a more efficient, more effective way of sharing your message to drive hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new customers to your business. The answer, in case you missed it, is PR.

By Laura Perkes

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

Not a single day goes by without my speaking to an early-stage entrepreneur who wants to discuss marketing and how to get quick results. So let’s just get this out of the way from the beginning: Marketing takes time.

There are some tactics you can use that will generate a return on investment (ROI) in the relatively short term, but achieving real long-lasting results takes time. Put simply, anything you achieve in the short term will go down as fast as it went up. You want to play the long game. This is true even if you’re tempted to try some things that are less organic but might look good on the surface, such as buying likes or followers. Don’t do that.

Instead, here are five reasons you should start generating content on your own company blog as soon as you can:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is very much a thing

I know that social media gets all the hype nowadays and no one is talking about search anymore, but they’re wrong not to. A quick glance at the numbers will show you that search drives just as much traffic as social does, at least for the time being.

Once you’re sold on the importance of search, now the question is how to leverage it. I am obviously oversimplifying here, but the more incoming links to your site, the better. How do you get people to link to you? Well, some SEO experts would tell you to buy links. I say listen to Google and produce good content people want to talk about and link to.

Getting social on social media

Let’s break down what social media means. The “media” part is obvious, but what about the “social” part? Are you engaging with people like you do offline or are you using Twitter as a glorified RSS feed or sales platform?

I once heard a speech from the guy who invented the “Like” button at Facebook. He explained that he wanted to give people the ability to express appreciation for someone else’s content. What did it do? We ruined it by begging for likes.

How about instead of asking me to follow you, giving me a reason to click “Like” or “Follow”? What’s the best reason to get someone to do that? Fill your feed with quality content, yours or someone else’s, and that’s how you increase your numbers across social media.

Public relations is not the same as content marketing

Let’s clear one thing up: When you or someone on your team writes an article about the industry on the company blog, that’s called content marketing. When a journalist writes about the company, that’s called public relations (PR).

So why does content help with PR? When you pitch a journalist, the first thing he or she is going to do is Google your name or the company’s name. When there is no footprint on the internet, that raises a red flag.

However, when he or she encounters all of your content, all of a sudden you are now a colleague, and not just a company pitching that journalist. Just like he or she produces content, you produce content.

Content changes the whole dynamic between you and journalists.

Your user acquisition can be much more frictionless

Whether you are running ads or acquiring users in another way, content makes the whole process that much easier.

It’s fairly straightforward. If I come across an ad for a company I’ve never heard of, I might click, I might not, but even if I do, it’s a very cold click, and converting me will be quite the challenge.

If, however, I see that ad and think to myself, “Oh, I know that company. I read their blog, listen to their podcast, or follow them on Twitter,” the chances of engaging me are significantly higher. Simply put, content elevates your brand.

Business development with a stranger is not as fun as with someone who trusts you

Finally, last but not least, content marketing helps with business development. Imagine going out to dinner with a potential customer and the person sits across from you with a look on his face that says, “What are you selling this time?”

Now contrast that with the look on his face that says, “I am loving your content. You clearly know your stuff, and I want to work with professionals. So how do we get started?”

That right there is the difference between cold business development and warm business development. That’s the difference between a company that produces valuable industry content and a company that only focuses on promoting itself.

So, the bottom line, in case it wasn’t clear? Stop reading this and start producing content of your own.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images


Sourced from Inc.


Public relations and journalism exist in an uneasy balancing act, a relationship where they both rely on each other as part of a communication ecosystem.

It used to be that journalism was the stronger player in the relationship, but now as a result of cuts to newsrooms, PR is becoming more dominant. And this relationship could undermine already limited trust in news.

Public relations and journalism

Public relations is defined as the practice of using communication strategies to build relationships between organizations (such as corporations, institutions and government) and the public.

Traditionally, one of the most important connections for PR practitioners has been those with journalism. PR professionals rely on their journalistic connections to help get their messages out, and journalists draw from PR to help find interesting stories, fill quotas and meet deadlines. In fact, according to the Canadian Public Relations Society, PR professionals tend to interact more with journalists than with any other professional group.

This relationship worked for many years because journalists had the upper hand. Journalists had a culture that made them wary of PR professionals, which helped to keep the PR industry in check. When interacting with PR practitioners, journalists would choose whether to pursue a story, and how much of the story suggested by the PR professional is actually worthy of column space or broadcast time. Journalists were likely to seek out different sides of an issue suggested by a PR professional, rather than just publishing a news release verbatim.

In return, the PR professionals could be reasonably confident the coverage would be trusted by the public. By choosing what to cover and how to cover it, journalism keeps PR accountable. If PR practitioners do anything to threaten their relationship with news outlets, they will not be able to work effectively.

However, in recent years, as a result of media consolidation and the rise of social media, the relationship between PR and journalism has shifted. While this shift seems to favour PR, in reality it has resulted in declining trust in news, and that’s bad for everyone. When the delicate balance between journalism and PR is upset, we end up with an information ecosystem that is less trustworthy because it is driven by organizational goals rather than the public interest.

A shifting balance

Now journalism is increasingly relying on PR to survive. As my previous work has shown, local news is facing unprecedented pressure from media consolidation and the social media business. As journalism jobs have dried up across North America, many talented and trained journalism graduates and successful journalists are accepting jobs in PR in order to make ends meet.

At the same time, many cash-strapped newsrooms are turning to advertorials or sponsored content to make up for shrinking revenues. As a result, more of the news media is implicated in spreading PR content that is often one-sided, incomplete information that favours corporate PR clients.

For example, when important information like COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is presented to the public directly from news releases, important scientific facts can be minimized or left out of the portrayal of the issue. That can contribute to eroding public trust in both the news story and the organization covered by it. While PR plays a role in ensuring the trust between organizations and the publics, some PR practices can lead to the decline in trust in news.

A group of journalists holding microphones during a media scrum.

Cash-strapped newsrooms are increasingly turning to PR to make up for falling revenues. (Shutterstock)

Other grey area PR tactics, like astroturfing, direct media attention to stories that journalists might not otherwise consider very newsworthy. Astroturfing entails using social media to create fake online grassroots support for an organization or issue. News outlets often cover a story that seems to be getting a lot of attention on social media. Unethical PR firms will often exploit this fact by buying likes, shares and engagements, creating fake hype for a specific product, person or organization that would otherwise not be covered at all.

Rethinking the relationship

Journalism isn’t perfect, but striking the balance between PR and journalism is beneficial for both parties. As this balance shifts in favour of public relations, it becomes harder for the public to trust news. That leads to more aggressive PR tactics, further eroding the public trust. Everyone loses.

Steps can be taken to rebalance the relationship between journalism and PR. Journalism must be strengthened, including local news, so that journalists have the resources to refuse sponsored content and push back against PR pitches. This means we all have a role to play in paying for the journalism we value, and new funding models should be developed to help provide resources to smaller and independent journalism in Canada and elsewhere.

To that end, entrepreneurship networks like indiegraf and other opportunities for independent journalism need to be supported by offering business training to journalism students, providing government resources to support journalism entrepreneurs and through our own habits.

Journalists who are brave enough to also become entrepreneurs by starting their own publications need us to pay for their content through Substack, Patreon or other subscription services. This will have a cascading impact as these journalist entrepreneurs create small businesses that can provide new job opportunities for other journalists and journalism students.

Finally, professional associations for PR practitioners like the Canadian Public Relations Society or the Public Relations Society of America need to do more to punish disreputable firms that use tactics like astroturfing to create fake influence. By strengthening journalism and putting limits on PR, we can reset the balance and create a healthier media ecosystem for everyone.


Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University

Sourced from The Conversation

By Josh Weiss

What exactly is public relations? I think every PR pro has been asked this question a hundred times.

However, it’s sometimes worse when people think they know what public relations is and start referring to a TV show like Scandal or a movie where the public relations professional is “the fixer” for a celebrity trying to hide the truth from the mass public. This scenario is amusing at first until you realize that the person truly has no idea what you do for a living.

When I’m asked what I do, I occasionally explain with a smile that I’m a perception engineer.

After a long pregnant pause, a fellow PR flack who overhears my description usually audibly chuckles or gives me a knowing glare. But think about it. The term perception engineer is actually an appropriate description of public relations. Our ultimate goal in PR is to influence what others think about a company, product, person or topic.

While the target audience may be unique depending on the situation, the overarching goal to influence what people think remains the same regardless of the tools we use (e.g., social media, pitching reporters, op-eds). The effort to influence also remains the same regardless of the communication need (e.g., crisis, pro-active, reactive, internal).

Being a perception engineer is significantly different than being an “influence peddler.” Our job is to engineer strategies that will actually influence our target audience to change the way they think about or perceive something. Forget about thinking outside the box; we, as perception engineers, reshape the box. In contrast, an influence peddler pushes the same wallpaper messaging from the box to everyone in sight. For PR pros, it’s that personalization of the message and risk of failure that keeps public relations fun, challenging and vital.

There are different examples of how to engineer perception. Sometimes an entire business can be built around selling a perception. Other times, the strategy can be cantered on breaking a long-held practice, demonstrating and highlighting something uncommon.

Let me share some business examples:

Open rates for email or mass mailings are statistically very small, so if you want 1,000 people to see what you’ve sent them, you need to send several thousand more, knowing that most of your efforts will be ignored. Yet an actual, handwritten (not computer printed) first-class stamped letter sent to your home has an extremely high open rate because the person the letter is addressed to believes it is a personalized letter just for them. Simply Noted is an automated handwritten letter company that helps businesses communicate and build relationships through real, pen-written letters. Companies send in addresses and messages, and the company’s proprietary technology writes out the personalized cards and envelopes with real pens at scale. The perception is that it’s truly handwritten, and the goal is for this to increase open rates.

Another example would be a local Phoenix-area company called Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning. The family-owned business is now in its third generation but has one glaring difference compared to nearly 90% of plumbing and HVAC companies–it’s led by a woman. The company doesn’t spend a lot of money on paid advertising but has done a great job sharing its story as a women-led business. Its leader, Audrey Monell, has been featured on the cover of national industry magazines and has won numerous local and national awards as a female owner in a heavily male-dominated industry. By breaking a long-held perception and highlighting how the company is different, the company has engineered its own perception, which has helped the company grow and expand.

Now, when you think of public relations, think of “perception engineering.” Companies that excel at this or implement strategic public relations plans can generate impressive results to benefit the company’s overall goals, ranging from selling products, landing clients, employee retention, and more.

By Josh Weiss

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe


Google and Facebook colluded to undermine competition in advertising, according to documents uncovered by the New York Times. Obtained during an antitrust lawsuit in Texas, the documents lift the lid on ‘Jedi Blue’ – a cloak and dagger sweetheart deal between two tech giants that monopolize online advertising.

So what’s the deal?

  • Google and Facebook are accused of abusing their market position to strike a backroom deal to further their business interests.
  • The agreement is said to have seen Facebook win more favorable terms when bidding for advertising in return for its support for Google’s Open Bidding platform for selling adverts over header bidding – where advertising space is auctioned across multiple ad exchanges.
  • Google has long agitated against this method of buying advertising, maintaining that it slows down web pages and causes batteries to drain faster, as well as elevating the risk for fraud and billing errors.
  • As a result, Facebook gained more time to bid for adverts and was able to strike direct billing deals with sites hosting the ads. The underhand arrangement is also said to have seen Google furnish its rival with its data to enable Facebook to better target audiences.
  • In a quid pro quo, Facebook consented to bid on a minimum of 90% of ad auctions when it could identify users, with a pledge to spend at least $500m a year.
  • Such terms handed Facebook an unfair advantage over Google’s other advertising partners according to the New York Times, which spoke with six of these to help build its case. This meant Facebook was almost guaranteed to win a consistent number of adverts.
  • Evidence of collusion was first obtained from documents filed as part of an antitrust complaint lodged by the Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, amid suspicion the tech pair were getting too cozy.
  • This relationship even included a clause that committed both companies to ’cooperate and assist’ in the event of any investigation into their business practices.

Why it matters

  • Should apparent collusion be corroborated it would further undermine confidence in digital advertising – particularly if a guaranteed win rate is confirmed.
  • In response to the allegations, Google contends that its agreement has been misrepresented, while Facebook maintains that such deals serve to enhance competition.
  • Irrespective of the truth of the matter, the lack of transparency shown by both parties will do little to instill confidence in competitors or legislators.
  • Addressing the claims directly, Google director of economic policy Adam Cohen wrote: “Our agreement with Facebook Audience Network (FAN) simply enables them (and the advertisers they represent) to participate in Open Bidding.
  • “Of course we want FAN to participate because the whole goal of Open Bidding is to work with a range of ad networks and exchanges to increase demand for publishers’ ad space, which helps those publishers earn more revenue.
  • “AG Paxton inaccurately claims that we manipulate the Open Bidding auction in FAN’s favor. We absolutely don’t. FAN must make the highest bid to win a given impression. If another eligible network or exchange bids higher, they win the auction.
  • “FAN’s participation in Open Bidding doesn’t prevent Facebook from participating in header bidding or any other similar system. In fact, FAN participates in several similar auctions on rival platforms.”
  • Both Google and Facebook have been in the eye of an antitrust storm, with Google fending off multiple lawsuits from the Department of Justice and three dozen states centered on its near-monopoly of search and search advertising, as well non-search advertising.
  • Facebook, meanwhile, has been embroiled in lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission as well as attorney generals from dozens of states that accuse the company of abusing its command of the digital marketplace and engaging in anti-competitive behavior.


Sourced from The Drum


Marketers must stop prioritising strategies built around cookie data if they’re to succeed in the 2020s. Speaking on a panel at The Drum’s Predictions 2020 event at Sea Containers this week, Andy Chandler, Adjust’s VP for UK and Ireland, called for brands to evolve in the post-cookie world and start to work out whether they’re truly adding value to their customers’ lives.

“With Google Chrome getting rid of third party cookies, brands need to start looking at data differently or they’re going to very quickly get left behind,” he explained. “We are moving into a cookie-less world, where consumers are interacting more with apps than browsers, so the way we measure data needs to truly reflect that. We need to keep evolving and keep up with where people are, ensuring we add real value to their lives.”

A recent feature by The Drum explored the impact of Google’s plans to “render third-party cookies obsolete” and how brands must now respond. According to Ed Preedy, chief revenue office at Cavai, one solution could be for brands to use online messenger apps to speak directly to their consumers. He says messenger apps can ensure more tailored advertising and better conversion rates when it comes to making a purchase.

He added: “In 2019, there were 73 trillion posts across all messaging apps. And in markets like APAC and Latin America, something like 63% of consumers purchased over a messaging app or spoke directly to a business. These are becoming hotbeds for commercial opportunity and it will only grow in the decade ahead in the UK too.

“Messaging apps allow for a genuine two-way interaction. They qualify what users want and who they are almost instantly, so therefore the advertising that runs is contextually relevant. They will become so much more important as cookies start to dissipate. I think there will be a wider move to more personalised platforms, where advertising is less random.”

It was a frank assessment that Tanzil Bukhari, managing director for EMEA at DoubleVerify, very much agreed with. He insisted consumers now want to see more relevant advertising and that getting rid of cookies will ensure this happens more consistently. “The Google Chrome announcement will mean publishers have to offer much richer and directional content, and that’s only a good thing.”

Using data in the right way

But there was also a message of caution in the air, with Vodafone’s brand director Maria Koutsoudakis warning that brands and agencies who prioritise data too heavily risk becoming irrelevant, on a panel earlier that morning alongside Ogilvy CEO UK, Michael Frolich. Koutsoudakis asked the audience: “When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If you stood back from click attributions and A/V testing then what do you really know about your customers now?

“By only really focusing on data, there’s a risk we create a generation of marketers who don’t understand brand, consumers or behavioural change and aren’t agile enough to cope with it. There needs to be more of a blend of people being on the ground, really speaking to their customers, as well as having a good data strategy. If marketers only care about digital metrics then there’s a risk they become irrelevant in marketing in the 2020s.”

With consumer data obviously so important to the UK mobile network’s business, she admitted it has taken a back step to ensure it’s precious about protecting it. “We don’t sell this data as we can’t afford to lose our consumers’ trust,” she admitted. “Being so cautious might mean we get left behind, but I think it’s worth it as we can’t take any chances.”

Frolich agreed with Koutsoudakis’ sentiment. In the 2020s, he said ad agencies shouldn’t be using client and third party data unless they can absolutely prove it has a positive impact on creativity and this in turn enriches the lives of their customers.

“We aren’t a data company, we are a creative agency,” he insisted. “We use client data and third party data to feed our creativity and build better work that consumers then enjoy. If you’re using this data and it isn’t creating better human insights then you’re using it incorrectly.

“Agencies have bought big data companies and it isn’t working because they’re not using the information to create better marketing. If we can work with a client like Vodafone and use their data to feed better creativity then we’re winning.”

The sentiments around trust were picked on another panel, where Courtney Wylie, VP of product & marketing, Mention Me had a word of caution: “We’re going to continue to see this evolving trend of lack of trust. A declining trust in influencers, brands, marketing channels.”

However, the way the relationship between agencies and brands works will become a lot more adaptable over the coming years, with a one-size-fits-all approach now completely redundant. John Readman, CEO & Founder, Modo25, explained: “In past there were only two options: work with an agency or do something in-house, but we will see these lines blurring more and more. There’s no reason why a combination of both won’t be the best way forward.”

Talking about the way forward, Andrew Challier, chief client officer, Ebiquity predicted that the industry will finally see “the rebirth of creativity and the importance of creativity in engaging people and reaching people in a meaningful way.”

A more ethical way of thinking could impact Facebook and Amazon

As we move further into the 2020s, some of the event’s panellists warned that established retailers and social media brands could start to fall short, as consumers switch to a more ethical way of thinking.

“Yes, lot’s of people still buy off Amazon, but the fact Brits also want to become more engaged with their local community means independent retailers should be confident heading into this new decade,” predicted Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos.

She explained further: “We’ve noticed a real shift in our readers wanting to support the high street more and more, and there’s this ethical thinking coming through, which could be detrimental to an Amazon. Shoppers want real-life experiences, even from online brands. They’re starting to get tired of faceless fast transactions and want to see brands brought to life in a more physical way. This trend will only intensify in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Darren Savage, chief strategy officer at Tribal, would like to see Facebook’s dominancy recede in the social media space. “I think major firms who consistently lie will come unstuck in the 2020s as people won’t put up with it anymore,” he said. “An immoral toxic cess-pit like Facebook will come tumbling down.

“The blatant lies they tell around consumer data will mean people will leave the platform in much bigger numbers. Truth is more important than ever before and just being a big business isn’t going to protect you if you mislead consumers.”

Proving you’re making a difference

This ethical way of thinking also extends to a brand’s commitment to sustainability, and Misha Sokolov, co-founder of MNFST, believes this will only rise in importance over the coming years.

“I spoke recently to someone at the Volkswagen Group and he was telling me how they calculated they were responsible for 1% of all global emissions, and that’s why they now want to be carbon neutral within 10 years,” he said. “The smartest brands won’t just put a nice message on their packaging, but do something that has a provable positive impact on the environment and helping reduce climate change. It must happen automatically as brands will lose market share if consumers don’t think their being ethical enough. There’s no excuse in the 2020s.”

And businesses shouldn’t just think of sustainability in environmental terms either, with it also being just as wrapped up in how a brand and business treats its employees. Stéphanie Genin, global VP of enterprise marketing at Hootsuite, says employee advocacy will be a huge trend moving forward, as consumer want to ensure their favourite brands treat their staff good before supporting them with a purchase.

She added: “Employee advocacy and employee generated content will become so so important. When you empower employees to be the communicator of what your business stands for it really adds to brand value and boosts sales. I think marketers are missing a trick by not prioritising this more heavily.”

However, Readman, added none of this will work unless it’s part of a global governance policy. “It’s all good being sustainable and doing good things for employees in one market, but if it’s not something you’re doing consistently across the board then consumers will work it out and there will be a backlash.”

Meanwhile, for John Young, executive creative director and co-founder, M-is, as brands start to really understand the consumers through personal engagagement, “the advertising budgets will transfer into experiential budgets.”

Be as safe as possible

Another topic of conversation that came up throughout the day was brands ensuring the data they keep on consumers remains safe, especially as more and more of their ads are traded programmatically.

Francesco Petruzzelli, chief technology officer at Bidstack, said that 13% of global ads are currently fraudulent and that while major brands know it’s a “big issue”, they’re not necessarily doing enough to prevent it. “We acquired a publishing guard to protect publishers, but I find a lot of people aren’t thinking seriously enough about this issue. It won’t go away!”

Dan Lowden, chief strategy officer at Whiteops, added how he recently worked with a major brand who believed bots were accounting for up to 5% of fake views of its £10m campaign, but says his team worked out they were actually accounting for 36% of traffic.

Looking ahead, he concluded: “The bad guys aren’t going to let up and will keep on persisting with cyber crime in the 2020s. We all need to be serious about tackling this problem and do more to collaborate as an industry to ensure that marketing dollars are genuinely being spent on human engagement and not just robots.”


Sourced from The Drum