With the advent of the internet and the death of traditional mass media came a shift in reaching our audiences. Now we can tell our own story and connect with influencers, bloggers and journalists who can make a big impact on our businesses and with our online reputations. That's exciting, right? We recently had the pleasure of learning how to influence customers with some pretty simple modern PR strategies from 2 of the best in the ever elusive world of PR -- Toni Smith, Communications Manager for Tempe Tourism and Christine Bailey, Author and Business Strategist. So let's get down to it...
1. Tell Your Story
Think for a second...most of us like to do business with people we like and trust, right? For me personally, I sometimes finding myself settling for something I'm not entirely thrilled about or even paying a little bit more than I'm comfortable with for something simply because I know a business owner or a little about their business' story. So how can our customers get to know us better? By telling our stories! It sounds so simple, yet a lot of businesses don't give their customers the opportunity to get to know them in these ways -- by telling them who you are, what your history is, who you serve, WHY you do what you do and how you're different. We don't need to rely on traditional media outlets to tell these stories anymore. With as little as a website, we're able to connect directly with our customers for story time.
2. Put Yourself Out There
Let's take a step back and consider how we get to know and like someone or a business -- we get to know them! Before diving into the who, what, how and why...there are essential things we generally need to know up front, and these are things that your customers should be able to find out about your business online: Hours, Address, Map, Menu, Products, Pictures, Reviews, etc. There's nothing worse than standing on the corner and searching "restaurants near me" on your smartphone and NOT being able to get these details for the businesses in the area. So go ahead...put it all out there!
3. Make Things Easy to Find
This is simple -- make it easy for people to find information about your business on your website. Toni and Christine shared a great example of simple navigation and a FAQ section on Twigs & Twine's website -- check it out! Making information easy for others to find can result in some earned PR for your business as your website is a go-to source for bloggers and other media publications.
4. Leverage Social Media
On average, 92% of us trust recommendations and word of mouth over all other forms of advertising. How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook news feed to find your network of friends searching for answers -- best dog food, baby products, brunch recommendations and so on. And what do you do? Weigh in of course! Social media is word of mouth gone viral...so take advantage of that in order to reach your customers, engage with them, get their feedback, etc.
5. Tap into Influencers
While "influencers" aren't a traditional media source, they have become just as much of a trusted source of information as any other form of media. Not only are influencers trusted, but they speak to very specific audiences, which allows us to really drill down on who exactly we're trying to reach with our marketing efforts. And this is where the more modern approach comes in -- reach out to these people! It begins with a simple search of who these people are, what their writing style is like and getting a good feel for their interests as a writer. Once you determine who might be an appropriate fit for your business, a simple email instead of a traditional press release is all you need. It's more personal and can be customized to make it more relevant to them.
These 5 ways to revive your PR strategy is just a peak at the information we learned during the last Marketing Symposium. With just 6 classes left, we hope you take advantage of these learning opportunities, or just use the class as a chance to meet some of your neighbors in Downtown Tempe. Check the remainder of the schedule HERE and we hope to see you soon!
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