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Eight Signs Your PR is Worn Out


Cathelijne van den Bosch
Published on June 23, 2017
By Cathelijne van den Bosch

How often do great ideas to generate free publicity get locked inside your organization? How often are bylined articles reviewed and rewritten to the point of becoming plain advertisement?  How often does your PR agency issue yet another press release, while knowing it will probably not be picked up by the media? 

Worn pages

These are just some examples of where modern PR agencies and traditional organizations are not on the same page. The big question is: how can we convince our customers who have “always done things this way” to try modern PR techniques?

Sometimes companies are not aware that they have a traditional point of view when it comes to PR. In my opinion, there are eight criteria to show that organizations have an overly conservative perspective on public relations.

1. It's only what’s inside that counts

PR is not just about sending your message, without having to open up to the world outside. The world is much more connected than it once was. Communication lines cross each other and consumers play a bigger part in the whole media show. It's about time that companies take off their blinders and welcome the world: don't send the message you want to tell, but tell the story the consumer wants to hear. 

2. The organization only thinks in resources or assets

The traditional press release was seen as the objective, not as the means to reach an objective. Things have changed. Nowadays we see a bigger picture with shifting and various ways to reach objectives. As a result, agreements with fixed numbers of press releases and blog posts are outdated. A PR campaign is much more flexible, depending on the situation, which means that (for example) a press release may be swapped by social advertising during the campaign. 

3. Success is measured with AVE

Many companies want to know how the media budget is accounted for, by adding media value together to determine the ROI. But there are many more methods to measure success. If the analytics have been set up properly, it's fairly simple to determine the path of the visitors to find out if they came thanks to your media efforts. There are more KPI's than just advertising value equivalent (AVE). 

4. The company has a static website without visual content

A modern website is dynamic, responsive so it is available on any device and contains strong visuals. A appealing website means more visitors who spend more time on-page. As well as looking good, it must be fit-for-purpose and contain all the information a user needs. A website is more than a comprehensive business card of the company; it has to fully meet the needs of the visitors. 

5. Content is only used once

Some companies put a lot of effort into producing a beautiful piece of content and trying to get it placed in the media. But the story really doesn't end there. The content can also be shared on social media, rewritten into a blog post or to used as the base of an infographic. The content marketing team needs broader perspective on content, a content calendar and a strategy for sharing the content on multiple channels. 

6. The organization is slowed down by silos

A large company is sometimes divided into small islands, each with its own budgets, targets and responsibilities. Those islands tend to develop tunnel vision, trying to maximize their own efforts without collaborating with each other. This is unfortunate because if content and expertise is valuable to one team, it’s likely valuable for other departments in the organization as well. 

7. The workflow feels like pushing water uphill

Getting a piece of work out the door is quite challenging when a lot of people have to give feedback on the content. Everybody has their own perspective and has something to say about the text. The more people interfere, the bigger the chance that the finished piece is a meaningless advertisement. If a change is made, it must be approved by everyone else in the workflow and this takes a lot of time (and resources). It doesn’t have to be that way. Workflow can be faster and more efficient – something which is essential in the digital age where news is outdated after a few minutes. 

8. The company sees PR as an isolated element

In the good old days, PR was often perceived as a black hole where money disappeared. But those days are over: PR is now seen as an essential part of the entire marketing mix. If you want the maximum ROI, you will need to spread your investment. PR is one part of a bigger picture, together with marketing, content creation and digital marketing. Only when those efforts are seamlessly integrated will you get the most from your spend. 

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