Craft public relations material that fits the brand, the consumer and especially the medium
Content is key, now more than ever. Creating viral-worthy articles and videos is the first and most important step towards reaching a global audience. Still, competition is fierce in the global stage. In a way, everyone in our digital age shares the same tools and vies for the same audience, from the casual YouTuber to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. This can make things tricky for any public relations executive. How is he or she supposed to make his or her client stand out on such a level playing field?
Edward De Valle II has a clue. As CEO of @linksworldgroup.com LINKS World Group, he knows what it takes to work on a global scale. “Our independent marketing communication agency spans more than 50 countries,” he explains. “The challenge isn’t getting a message around the globe and adapting it to different markets. That’s what we do for all our customers. The real feat is to make the message stick in the mind of your target audience.” And the secret to making that happen, according to De Valle, is to know both your brand and your audience. To that end, De Valle gives us some PR tips on how to craft content that fits the brand, the consumer and even the medium on which both meet.
- Open your ears
Every brand has specific needs, which are determined by your existing base of loyal consumers. “What works for one brand won’t necessarily fit another,” Edward explains. “You have to check how sturdy a foundation your brand is standing on before you shake things loose.” Your first step, therefore, is to listen to the community built around it. “The audience wants to tell you what works and what doesn’t, so learn from it.”
This community may gather in official channels, but it’s also good practice to go outside these. Search for your brand on independent blogs or Twitter mentions and see what you find. “Not everyone with a useful opinion is going to leave it at your doorstep with the proper hashtag,” De Valle quips. “Keep your ears to the ground at all times.” Also feel free to contact and audit them directly. Software like Simply Measured or Meltwater Buzz is great for this.
- Stay true to your message
“Once you settle on what your brand’s core message should be, stick to it,” says Edward. A consistent message builds trust, so its basic meaning must always come across even when adapted to different channels. “Both brands and consumers change to keep up with the times, but at their core they must remain intact,” De Valle explains. “The consumer will stick to a specific brand so long as it remains consistent to what makes it unique.”
This goes far beyond qualities like flavor or reliability and onto the brand’s voice itself. Having creative content your desired demographic wants to consume and share is good, and if you can make it convince the minds of new consumers, even better. But, as De Valle warns, “if the message isn’t consistent, or it strays from the core values of the brand itself, the audience will know it and it will abandon you.”
- Watch the numbers
Diverse audiences may have different needs and still respond to similar methods. Once you’re clear of what your core message is and how to communicate it creatively, it’s up to you to find out what methods will work best to get it across. That’s what analytics are for. “Things like tutorials and numbered lists come up time and time again because the numbers show they work,” Edward assures. “Always monitor the stats in all your communication channels,” he recommends.
Google Analytics, Sprinklr, WordPress Jetpack Site Stats, and Syncapse are but a few of the countless tools available for the PR executive. They all help him or her measure performance and adjust their content to what achieves the most likes, shares, comments, and retweets. “What’s important isn’t how you read the numbers, but that you do,” Edward assures. “You’re not expected to reinvent the wheel, but to make the wheel carry your message as far as possible.”
- Learn and apply keywords
Web trends, tastes and best practices seem to come and go, yet a constant element prevails: we all still use search engines. It was probably Yahoo! before, it’s certainly Google now and in the future it might be something more akin to Siri. The fact is, we all still use some way to guide ourselves around the web and find what we want. Search providers like Google also offer free Webmaster Tools to help you hone your content to reach the masses. They can show you which keywords are the most searched for and how often these are being used.
Once you learn this and apply it to your message, you increase the odds of it being discovered and shared. “Keep your content’s SEO tight. Knowing what your target consumer wants helps you tailor your content so that it reaches them,” says De Valle. “There’s nothing wrong with following a trend, just remember to keep your message consistent.”
Edward De Valle II