How To “Do” PR: The Beginner’s Guide
By Sabrina DorronsoroMar 24
We analyzed 100m posts so you don’t have to
Public relations is not for the faint of heart.
If you’re in the industry, you know the adrenaline rush that comes with securing a top media spot.
Whether you’re racing to nab the headline of a premier industry publication or securing an interview for your CEO before your competition takes the slot - there’s a sense of excitement in everything you do as part of a PR team.
Let’s take a look at some of the most fundamental PR tips that will stand the test of time.
You know you need to do something, so how do you get started?
It may seem counterintuitive, but you need to start by picturing the end goal.
That means determining what you are aiming to achieve.
Whatever your intention, make sure to get specific. Name the product you want to feature, narrow down the adjectives you want associated with your brand, or even determine your goal number for new followers.
In his definitive guide to BuzzSumo, Brian Dean from Backlinko had a goal to measure awareness surrounding an entirely new marketing method he discovered and coined, called the “Skyscraper technique”.
He used BuzzSumo’s Monitoring tool to set up keyword alerts around this term, crawl up to 3m articles a day, and subsequently assess the industry’s uptake of his theory.
Remember to take into account how big your budget is and whether there should be a deadline.
By laying out a clear roadmap you’re giving yourself a focused metric to measure your success.
We’re not quite done yet with the definition stage. If you’re unsure of your audience at this point, it’s time to pinpoint exactly who you want to be on the receiving end of this campaign.
Whether you’re choosing from a pre-existing deck of customer personas, or you’re fleshing that out on-the-fly, make sure you have a solid understanding of your target audience’s interests and demographics.
For example, if you're targeting new mothers, you might want to create a campaign that expresses a family-first message, or demonstrates why the brand cares about kids and improving their lives for the better.
To build out your understanding of your customers pain points and personas, you can do one of a few things.
Use BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer to explore the questions your customers want answering, and aim to provide those solutions in your campaign
Discover the content your audience finds most engaging in BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer shows – just enter a topic or a website for a list of headlines.
Pro PR tip: Sort by "Evergreen score" to find the content that has remained engaging for the longest amount of time.
Your target persona should give you a pretty good idea of what platform is right for your campaign.
For instance, consumers aged 50-65 probably aren’t scrolling on social media quite as much as ages 18-35.
Yet, data shows us that Gen X (40-55) is on Facebook more than Millennials (24-39).
Just like the real world, public relations is full of contradictions – think more art, less science. The key here is to do your research before making a final decision on the platform.
BuzzSumo’s Content Analysis reports can show you exactly where your audience is showing up online, in relation to your campaign focus.
Just search your topics, hit the analysis tab and take a look at which platform your audience is most engaged on.
For example, if you were running a campaign geared towards audiences that deal in NFT’s (non-fungible tokens are unique digital assets. They’re becoming increasingly popular as a new type of collectors item) then, based on the data, you may look to promote your campaign primarily on Facebook, followed by Twitter and Reddit – but should potentially sidestep Pinterest, as no audience engagement exists here (see below).
There’s no reason you can’t run a strong campaign on smaller news stories. The secret to success is finding an angle that will interest the public.
The good news is, you’re a creative. You can find an angle for anything, just put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never heard of your company. What kind of angle would make you read past the headline?
Say your small Italian restaurant just won best Italian food in the city. While it’s an ok story on it’s own, a real page turner would be:
“Italian Restaurant Unseats City Favorite for Best Italian Restaurant After Only 6 Months Open”
Get thousands of headline ideas and story angles with a simple search in the BuzzSumo Content Analyzer. This will show you the stories that cause people to share, react and link, so you know which headlines work.
Hint: If a secondary topic appears small in the word cloud, but shows high search volume, that’s an awesome content opportunity! Check out this video to see what I mean:
Honesty is a commodity in today's oversaturated media landscape. That’s why transparency is queen.
There are few things that can discredit a brand as fast as getting caught in a half-truth.
And if you’re planning on aligning yourself with an important cause to raise the profile of your brand and reach a new audience, you just pay lip-service to it. You have to be proactive and sincere in your support of said cause.
If you’re constantly owning the narrative of your own company, and are authentic in your claims, then you’ll swiftly sidestep cancel culture, and be a lot more favourable in the eyes of your customers.
This is of course down to branding as much as it is PR, so work closely with your in-house or client brand team to make sure the message of your campaign is bulletproof. This all comes back to knowing your customers.
If you have nothing to hide, your clients will have little reason not to trust you.
When it comes to public relations, data should be your best friend.
Today, we’re lucky enough to cut out some of the guest work associated with public relations. With the help of social data, you can pinpoint:
This data helps you find quick-win media opportunities, avert brand crises and get ahead of your market. But always remember that just because you have more precise data, doesn’t mean you’re talking to robots.
Public relations professionals need to prioritize learning how to understand and humanize data. Keep all communication human, bonus points for tugging on the heart strings of readers!
You can analyze emotions and sentiment towards a topic before you even begin writing.
Try BuzzSumo’s Content Analysis report to see Facebook reactions surrounding a topic.
Once you’ve created a campaign worth shouting from the rooftops about, it’s time to distribute the story.
You’ll want to reach out to media publications that are relevant to your industry, you can even send the story to local TV or radio stations.
The most important thing here is research (again!). It’s imperative you’ve done your research on journalists and publications, to see how much your story could influence their news stream.
BuzzSumo has a database of 500k journalists, and counting. You simply have to search your campaign or story focus in the Content Analyzer, and you’ll be met with a list of Journalist Profiles, beneath each returning headline.
Just click on the profile to get information on their publication resume, main interests, contact details and their top performing articles.
This PR outreach tool can help you decide exactly which journalists to approach to help you push your story out to the right audience.
It’s no secret that public relations is always changing. These PR tips are some of the stalwarts of the PR world - they stand the test of time.
Keep an eye out for our next post on PR trends in 2021!
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