public relations techniques

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Use Public Relations Techniques to Grow Your Brand This Year with Michelle Garrett

Is public relations necessary for your brand, even if you’re a small business?

If so, how should you be incorporating public relations techniques into your overall strategy? And what changes can we expect to see in the year ahead?

We answered all those questions and more in the latest #ContentWritingChat! If you’re ready to start taking PR seriously for your business, you’ll want to read all the amazing tips our community shared!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Use Public Relations Techniques to Grow Your Brand This Year with Michelle Garrett

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Michelle Garrett. She’s a freelance writer, content creator, and a public relations consultant. When it comes to using PR within your business, Michelle had a lot of great tips to share with us. So, let’s go ahead and dive into the recap!

Q1: Should brands be utilizing public relations in 2018? If so, why is it important?

While some may argue that public relations isn’t necessary, it’s actually essential for businesses both big and small. If you aren’t sold that it’s worth investing in, here’s why it’s so crucial to have a PR pro by your side:

As Michelle said, public relations is more relevant than ever. She feels PR is important for reputation management, boosting SEO, and more. Plus, she knows just how useful those public relations skills can be in other areas, like building relationships and influencer marketing.

Jason knows how important it is for a brand to stay true to their mission and make sure their audience sees them in a positive light. Public relations can help with that.

As Dave mentioned, the public can easily interact with your brand now more than ever, which is really thanks to social media. That means managing your reputation online is more important than ever.

Shawn is spot-on when he says that every brand has a story to tell. By investing in public relations, it’s easy for brands to craft and share their story with the world.

Mike also agrees that public relations is essential to strategic storytelling. He also mentioned that it’s important PR coordinates with marketing, community, and other efforts. It’s important that everything works together and that everyone representing your brand is on the same page.

Q2: Do companies need to hire someone or can they manage their public relations efforts themselves?

Is it worth investing in an outside source to handle your company’s public relations or can you hire from within? Here’s some great advice to help you make the decision:

As Michelle said, brands can absolutely manage public relations on their own. However, having an experienced professional by your side can be incredibly beneficial. The important thing here is that you don’t ignore public relations. Make sure someone has a handle on it.

Whether it’s someone in-house or an outside agency, having someone to manage your public relations tasks is a must. Narmadhaa knows this isn’t a waste of money, but something that’s going to be valuable for the long run.

Whether or not you have someone within your company handle PR or you outsource it will depend on a few things. For instance, how big is your organization? Bigger companies are more likely to have the budget to outsource PR to an agency, while smaller businesses will probably have to handle it in-house.

Jason feels the same. If your company is on the larger size, you definitely want a PR manager by your side.

One great thing about hiring someone externally to handle the job is that it gives you outside perspective and fresh ideas. That’s a huge bonus!

Plus, hiring a PR professional is also helpful because they’re going to have the knowledge you and your team might not have otherwise. At the very least, take Lexie’s advice and consult with a pro in the field before moving forward.

If you have someone on your team that is skilled and can take on the work, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll want to outsource it!

Kathryn shared a great tip as well. You want to make sure you hire someone who is actually excited about the work. Passion for the job goes a long way!

Q3: What can go wrong if a brand doesn’t hire a public relations professional?

If you aren’t sold on investing in someone who knows their stuff when it comes to public relations, these responses from the chat just might change your mind:

As Michelle pointed out, brands are always tripping up. They rely on their PR team to have their back and remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

It’s pretty easy to offend the general public today. One wrong email or social media post can spell disaster for your brand. That’s why you need someone who has your back in these times just in case something does go wrong.

Not having a public relations team on your side could cause more problems for your staff. And no one wants to deal with that!

As Maria pointed out, silence can definitely reflect poorly on a brand when something goes wrong. With a PR professional to help, you can craft a message to help resolve a negative situation you might be in.

Without a public relations team, you could miss out on a lot of great opportunities for your company.

And hey, if you need a little more convincing, Googling PR disasters should be all the convincing you need.

And as Kathryn said, everything can go wrong if the wrong person (or no one) is driving the bus. It’s better to be safe the sorry, so hire someone who knows their stuff.

Q4: Share some major public relations nightmares and what can be learned from them.

We’ve all seen public relations disasters happen, but what are some of the biggest ones that will stick with us forever? Learn from the mistakes these companies made:

Michelle shared a fairly recent incident regarding the Red Hen restaurant. Unfortunately, a totally innocent restaurant was attacked after the whole debacle. Even though they were actually involved, they still needed to handle the situation the right way, otherwise it could reflect poorly on them.

Julia shared some great examples of PR nightmares. For instance, there was a ridiculous typo from a presidential candidate, a failed trend jacking incident, and an offensive commercial. Yikes!

Accidentally posting a personal message to the company Twitter account? Not good!

Even large companies like Facebook and Uber aren’t immune to public relations fiascos.

Q5: How can brands use public relations to their advantage in the year ahead?

To help you make the most of your PR efforts, you’ll want to keep this advice in mind:

Michelle’s mission is to get clients to better integrate public relations, social media, and content marketing. When everything works together, you’re going to see much better results!

We love this tidbit from Gene: start building goodwill wherever you go. That’s such a good reminder! Don’t forget to educate your employees on maintaining a great brand image because they’re out there representing you. And of course, have a plan for when things go up in flames!

Get your PR and marketing team together to discuss campaigns before publishing them. It helps to have an extra set of eyes on your content to avoid any potential disasters.

A world where marketing, PR, and social media all worked together? We agree with Shawn that it would be amazing!

Q6: What role does social media play when it comes to public relations? What should brands know to build a thriving presence?

When you make smart choices with the public relations techniques you use, you can really stand out in social media. Here’s some advice to keep in mind for the year ahead:

Michelle feels that public relations and social media really need to be under the same roof or at the very least, coordinating with one another. It helps to craft a consistent message and keeps everyone on the same page. Plus, your PR team may often use paid social ads to gain exposure.

The two are really synonymous and you want to make sure they’re working together.

Michael mentioned that social media plays a big role in your PR efforts. Through social, you can get instant feedback from your audience, which is essential.

Q7: What do you predict for the future of public relations, from the rest of 2018 and beyond? How is it changing?

What’s ahead in the world of public relations? Here are some predictions you should know about:

AI is one thing Michelle says you should keep an eye on. She also thinks the use of visuals, such as video, will continue to be huge for brands.

Jason feels PR is taking on a more social component. All the content you produce needs to portray your brand in a positive light.

Julia feels it’s important to pay attention to how social media evolves because that will impact public relations overall. She said to stay on top of the trends and incorporate them into your strategy.

As Zala said, PR pros aren’t just one-way communicators. They’re active in the content creation process, so you should absolutely embrace that moving forward.

Automation continues to be more popular, but it is limiting since there’s no human touch. You don’t want to go overboard. Like Michelle, Michael also mentioned virtual reality playing a role in PR in the future.

Want to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? Our Twitter party happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

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