Despite the fact that PR is the essential pillar of company growth and widespread success, it remains a little-understood and often misused aspect of running a business. Much too often, attempts to save money or time on PR lead to ineffective – and sometimes downright damaging – approaches.
1. Lack of focus
Haphazardly throwing out content in hopes at least some of it will stick is a waste of time and resources. Efficient, successful PR starts with a solid strategy and a unified front.
All too many businesses don’t take PR seriously enough, remembering about it only during an important milestone or when something goes wrong, and the company’s reputation needs fixing. Instead, it’s important to approach PR with a strategic mindset, setting achievable and measurable goals, implementing them and adapting as necessary, and evaluating the results at regular intervals.
Equally important is the attention and focus given to branding. Every company needs to have a media presence that’s consistent across the board. A solid message and set of company ethics, complete with keywords and vocabulary to be associated with the brand, are marks of professionalism and authority. Similarly, visual branding should be consistent across all platforms, with instructions contained within brand guidelines available to all relevant staff.
2. No analytics
Another major PR mistake is the next step in the planning process: result measurement. Even when businesses and influencers get the planning part right, they often miss the trick where it comes to analysing the results of the campaign.
This is why it’s important for PR goals to be measurable in themselves, and for measuring tools and strategies to be put into place at the start of the campaign. Once the time, energy, and money has been put into creating a PR strategy and implementing it, the results need to be measured in order to determine how successful the campaign was.
Regular analytics can be an indicator of when a change of direction is needed, meaning the PR strategy will be all the more efficient. They will also provide insights that will be helpful to future campaigns, such as how well a particular platform or approach works with different demographics and for different purposes.
3. No media contacts
We all think that our businesses are important and innovative, but that’s not always the case from other people’s point of view (especially if we don’t effectively market the brand as such). For this reason, many companies rely on cold pitching to get mentions and features in the media – a “strategy” that, unfortunately, rarely works.
For efficient and reliable PR, it’s crucial for the company to have tried-and-tested media contacts in appropriate outlets. For instance, a relationship with a columnist for a local paper or the editor of a website in the right niche can streamline the process of obtaining media features. These relationships are also beneficial because the person will become familiar with the brand, making the process even more efficient.
Building appropriate connections can be a challenging and time-consuming process, which is why many companies opt for working with a PR agency. Essentially, by hiring PR experts, you’re obtaining access to the agency’s contacts in the media – something that would otherwise take years to achieve.
4. Press release overload
This may appear counter-intuitive, but too many press releases are not a good move where PR is concerned. While it might seem that the more often the brand appears in media, the better, a focus on quantity rather than quality is the better route.
By sending out a press release to all available outlets every time something minor happens, you will cause your brand to become a nuisance – both to editors and to readers. Furthermore, if you publish a press release about every small development, you create a sense of lack of serious achievement.
Instead, best practice dictates sharing press releases only when something truly exciting happens. This way, all of your press releases are interesting, relevant, and worth the readers’ attention.
5. Embarrassing social media posts
Neglecting to establish rules of external communication – including social media – or tasking inappropriate personnel with managing the branded accounts is a disaster waiting to happen.
One Tweet or Facebook post that is offensive (even unintentionally) can destroy a brand’s reputation. Of course, part of the magic of expert PR is that in the vast majority of cases, a damaged reputation can be salvaged with enough time and concentrated effort. However, it’s much easier to avoid making social media mistakes in the first place than to manage the fallout when something goes wrong.
To this end, it’s important to ensure social media communication is on-brand, relevant, appropriate, and closely monitored. Social media posts should be used to the company’s advantage, in a way that highlights the message and maintains a unique voice. Correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation are just as crucial to projecting a fully professional image.
Every month, nearly half (49%) of all Americans aged 12-34 listen to podcasts. The podcast industry is going through a major boom, growing at a rapid pace: over the past three years, the number of monthly podcast listeners in America alone has increased by 54%. Unsurprisingly given their growing popularity, the podcast industry is expected to reach $1 billion in annual revenue by next year.
With such an enticing opportunity to get in on the increasing success of podcasts as a form of content that can be monetized, it’s not surprising that so many people want to get involved and start recording. But, as with any type of Internet activity that – at least theoretically – anyone can do, there’s a formidable amount of competition. In 2020, there are 850,000 active podcasts. So, how do you make sure that your podcast stands out among such vast amounts of other content and reaches your audience?
The following guide will help you get started on crafting an effective PR strategy for promoting your podcast. For more advanced podcast promotion techniques, such as a Wikipedia page or features in traditional media outlets, you’ll need to enlist the help of an expert PR agency – but you can certainly work on expanding your following in the meantime.
1. Define your niche and target audience
This piece of advice is true for every kind of online activity intended to create a following and eventually bring in a profit. It’s particularly important for podcasts, however, because unlike general influencer activity on social media, for example, podcasts are regular and topical. Listeners tune in to hear about specific issues, and they need to know what to expect from you each time.
If you haven’t already, spend some time on defining the main niche as a podcaster – are your podcasts political commentary, book reviews, or gaming content? Once you have a niche pinned down, define your target audience: people who’d be most interested in following you. If you already have a podcast and some listeners, use the insights from your current followers to get an idea of the age, gender, location, and listening preferences of your audience.
2. Pay attention to quality and use the right platforms
Perfect audio quality, great content, and smooth delivery are the essential components of well-crafted podcasts. You’ll need to invest into good recording equipment (professional microphones are easily available these days, after all) and editing software, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. You want your podcasts to be as professional as possible, and they won’t be if they’re recorded using a built-in laptop or smartphone microphone.
Once you have some great, high-quality content, make sure you post it on a platform that matters. In this case, iTunes is definitely a must – according to statistics, that’s where around 70% of podcast-listening takes place!
Posting samples and clips of your podcasts on YouTube is also recommended. While not really a podcast-friendly platform, YouTube draws much larger audiences, so make sure they can find you and your content.
3. Leverage the power of social media
Social media is definitely the number one tool for podcast promotion. Make sure that you have professional profiles on at least two different social media platforms, and use these regularly to promote your podcast content. These profiles should ideally be verified (the blue checkmark badge of official accounts) to add credibility and authority.
Connect with people in your niche, engage with your target audience, and get your name in front of people who are likely to take an interest in your podcast. By creating a cohesive and unified online presence, you’ll build up your brand.
The choice of social media platforms will depend on both your niche and your target audience. For example, a photography or fashion podcast should have an Instagram account, while a podcast aimed at young teens would best be promoted on platforms that are most popular among this demographic – like Snapchat and TikTok.
4. Reach out to publications in your niche
While the target audience is the primary guiding factor for social media promotion, having a well-defined niche is key to connecting with other publications.
Contact influencers and the people in charge of websites, social media profiles, and other online publications (for example, on Medium) in your niche, with a large following. If you convince them to mention, share, or feature your podcast, you’ll reach a much broader audience.
5. Invite guests to your podcasts
Connect with other podcasters, influencers, and people who are experts in your niche with something to offer your audience. Even if you have a co-host for your podcast, it’s always interesting to introduce a new perspective. Most importantly, if that person has an online presence of their own, you’ll draw their audience to your podcasts.
A professional blog filled with high quality content can go a long way towards establishing you as an expert in your field. Regardless of your niche, you can build your reputation as an entrepreneur and make valuable connections by creating high-quality, relevant blog content.
Whether you’re considering starting a professional blog or you’ve already posted some content, these five tips are bound to come in useful for improving your posts and maximizing efficiency.
1. Use the right platform for your content
Before you start posting all of your ideas to Blogger or another generic site, spend some time researching your niche and figuring out where most of your target audience is likely to find content. If you prefer to focus on creating and posting content, with little to no engagement and an SEO-based traffic strategy, setting up your own website might work just fine. If you want to reach a community quickly, however, you need to go where your audience is.
The specific platform choice will largely depend on your niche. In general, LinkedIn and Medium are two of the most popular blogging sites for entrepreneurs. LinkedIn is geared more toward corporate success and business professionals, with a tougher crowd in many ways – it’s the way to go particularly if you’re looking to impress your peers and potential business partners or customers.
Medium, meanwhile, has a much broader community, with online publications helping to cater to specific niches. By pitching to publications and posting your content, you can reach a wide audience who are already interested in your niche. Medium articles also tend to rank higher on Google than LinkedIn long-form content and – as a small bonus – Medium articles that gather a lot of interest can be monetized.
2. Find a good middle ground for SEO
SEO-friendly content is a must if you want to draw in any traffic at all. It’s fairly easy to find and follow best-practice SEO guidelines. However, you might want to find a balance between search engine optimization and letting your style and personality shine.
Unfortunately, SEO is skewed towards largely simplistic content. Keywords and heading formatting are easy enough to implement, but short sentences, tiny paragraphs, and avoidance of “difficult words” also count towards good SEO and readability scores. For many bloggers, this is something of a limiting factor. If you feel your content is prevented from reaching its full potential by an imperfect SEO score, you may want to compromise on the stylistic elements of SEO and readability. Quality content with a strong personal feel will ensure readers keep coming back, with or without excellent SEO.
3. Develop a content calendar
Contrary to popular opinion, running a professional blog as an entrepreneur isn’t as simple as spending an hour a week writing a post on any topic in the niche.
Rather than making it up as you go, spend some time first developing a content calendar, at least for the next month. Research possible topics, find keywords, plan your approach to each post, and decide when to publish. In addition to helping you organize your work, this will help to ensure you post regularly – something your readers will definitely appreciate.
4. Provide solutions to common problems
The current gold standard for written content that hopes to bring in traffic is that it should solve a common problem within a specific niche. The reasoning behind this is simple: Google is most commonly used to find answers and explanations to something we don’t understand. If you can answer these questions on your blog, you’ll get plenty of visitors – always assuming your posts are SEO friendly.
A good way to come up with topics that fit this theme is to consider your area of expertise from an outsider’s perspective. It’s not easy to “disable” all of your knowledge and experience for a moment, but try to think of some areas in your niche that most people wouldn’t intrinsically know or understand.
Talk to people who aren’t familiar with your niche but have an interest in it. Review long-tail keyword search stats for topics related to your expertise, focusing on phrases starting with “how”, “what”, and “why”.
Quora is a veritable mine of ideas, too. Browsing the platform for just an hour will give you a long list of answers that people are searching for. Of course, not all of your content needs to fall into the “explainer” category, but these types of posts do help to bring in traffic, as well as enabling you to showcase your expertise and unique perspective.
5. Take advantage of tools and apps to improve your content
As you may expect, there are hundreds of apps and tools available for bloggers, many of which will be useful for entrepreneur blogs, too.
For instance, although the Google Keyword Planner is a highly useful tool, there are plenty other keyword generators out there with more specific functionality. SEMRush, for example, returns long-tail keywords to queries, while Answer the Public will help you figure out what questions people are asking online about a particular topic.
For the content itself, consider apps that automatically correct your grammar and spelling, and make suggestions on streamlining the content – such as Grammarly. The Hemingway App is another great tool for making your writing more concise and to the point. Check these out and take advantage of how much more efficient your blogging can become.