Creativity is the key to success in public relations. Innovative events can better influence public opinion and raise awareness for the client. One effective and creative tactic is the flash mob. In flash mobs, a group of people suddenly assembles in a large public place to perform an act. As part of a PR campaign, professionals manage at least one part of the event - from creation to scheduling to production to promotion - if not all of it.
Dance flash mobs are the most common type of flash mob, as they often create the biggest buzz. My personal favorite is T-Mobile’s Liverpool flash mob. In 2009, T-Mobile organized hundreds of dancers to promote its brand name and “Life’s For Sharing” campaign. Videos of the event went viral, and the event was so successful that the company held at least three more.
Hosting a flash mob is a great public relations strategy for store openings, new product releases, raising brand awareness, creating buzz around social issues and other events in which the client needs a lot of coverage quickly. For steps on how to start organize a flash mob, check out these tips.
Experts in business branding say that logos help with three things:
- Visual representation
In public relations, we believe that creating an effective logo can be one of the more important parts of a campaign. A good logo can give a campaign an image, help people remember the campaign better through visual association and differentiate a client from its competitors. Since logos graphically display a company’s identity, good design principles are important for the brand.
People often do not even realize how many logos they can distinguish. Test out your logo knowledge here!
Once you have figured out whom you want to target, you can begin putting the list together. Personally, I use Cision, which is an online media database where you can search for media contacts in any region that you want. Cision can be really hard to use, and to be honest, I’m still learning a lot about it, but it is extremely useful and I highly suggest it.
When searching the directory, you should be targeting by media outlet and type. For every person you find that fits your criteria, you should collect their name, title, and contact information. Cision allows you to export your lists into Excel documents as well, which ends up making them relatively easy to navigate through at the end. To make your job easier, focus on finding the people who are going to be directly related to your story. For example, if your story is about a fire, look for the public safety or community reporters, not the agriculture or sports desks. You don’t want to spend precious time trying to contact people who you know the story does not pertain to.
When contacting television stations, look for the assignment desk editors. You should always get in touch with the four or five main stations in a region, which are ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and the CW. Some markets will not have a CW outlet that does news, but should have ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS. When contacting people in radio, aim towards the news directors and for wire services go to the bureau chief or a reporter. When it comes to weekly/community newspapers it is best to find the editor, but when dealing with a daily newspaper you should always go to the reporter that covers the topic of the story.
We have published an article in the past specifically meant to help others master Cision. You can check it out here.
Once you have the most thorough list you can get, it’s time to start pitching! The most effective pitches are the ones that are personalized, so make sure either your calls or emails are unique to each outlet. It’s important to be upbeat and enthusiastic so they will want to pick up your story. You have to make them feel like they need it.
Also, don’t forget to track your interactions. It will be important in the future if you need to use the same lists. You will know who to call and who to take off the list. You will be refreshed on how each conversation went and it will help you be able to talk to them again. Last but not least, follow up! You must follow up with people you don’t get in touch with right away or someone you don’t get a straight answer from.
Media lists are intense and crazy. Don’t expect to get it right on the first try. It takes a while, but if you are careful and thorough it will become easier.
“Wait! Let me take a picture!” “Hold on, I need to Vine this!” The number of times I’ve uttered these sentences is countless. Pictures have a way of expressing much more than words ever could. Given my generation’s obsession with social media, we rarely take pictures or say something interesting without instantly posting to some sort of social media outlet. Being someone that is constantly glued to my phone I am guilty of overly posting and constantly tweeting (Sorry world!).
Social media posting isn’t my only bad habit, I’m also guilty of shopping like it’s a career path. However, bad habits aside, while I’m stimulating the economy (at least, that’s how I justify it) social media posting has been seen to be a powerful and successful tactic by many companies.
If a company is trying to engage in various outlets of social media, Instagram and Vine are a great place to start! Instagram is an app that allows viewers to post pictures and 3-15 second videos. Vine is a 6 second, looping video. Similar to Twitter, users are able to hash tag (#) key words in the videos description that allows the post to be easily accessible if the hash-tagged word is searched. Instagram also allows users to post photos that can be hash-tagged.
Here are some tricks of the trade for engaging on Instagram and Vine:
1. Make your posts interesting and fun!
When posting things to your business Instagram or Vine pages, it’s important to make them interesting and fun. You only have a brief second until someone scrolls past your post. Make sure you have something interesting enough that will make the viewer want to pause their scrolling and take a moment to look at your post.
2. Follow your followers!
One of the most important tactics is to follow your followers back. Everyone loves having followers regardless of the social media outlet. If a user follows you and your company follows them back, the user will notice and will pay attention to the fact that you cared enough to take an interest in them.
3. Make your posts inspiring and action-worthy!
If your posts can get someone’s attention, you’re half way there. For example, if you were running a restaurant, you would want to post pictures of the food you are serving or even a video of how the chef prepares the guests’ meals. Showing the finished product and the steps to get there will spike your audience’s interest and ultimately bring them into your establishment.
4. Share your content elsewhere on the web!
Another key to using social media is to share your content. When you make a video on Vine or post a photo on Instagram, share it! Post your creations to Facebook and Twitter. Send them out in e-mails. The possibilities are endless.
I am more inclined to follow, tweet, post, share or even wear clothing items by a company that I follow on social media. Promotional e-mails aside, when a company posts a Vine or Instagram video of a behind the scene photo shoot, I am hooked. I want to know more about the products they are trying to sell. I want to know the price, the quality and how to buy it for myself. The viewer has the ability to see the process it takes to get an item or an idea to the public.
As easy as social media can be to use, it can also be very easy to neglect and to have others make a fake account about your company. If your company does decide to use any form of social media, it would be a good idea to constantly search for your company on each site. Every outlet has a “search bar,” make it a habit to type in your company’s name and see what else is out there. If a fake account does exist or comes along later on, make sure to follow the steps on reporting a user through that social media outlet.
Society is much more fast-paced then it used to be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay ahead of the game and use the culture to our advantage.