contests

Include Online Influencers in Your Media Relations Strategy

Growing an army of online influencers is an important part of your media relations strategy. 

Growing an army of online influencers is an important part of your media relations strategy. 

You’ve built your media list, filling it with great contacts from local and national media. You’ve included television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Is something missing? Yes. You’ve forgotten online influencers. 

Online influencers are an essential part of any robust media relations strategy. Online influencers include bloggers. Some may not have an official blog, but they have significant followings on social media. 

Online influencers are often more topic-specific than traditional media. In these days of shrinking newsrooms, most reporters cover a wide range of issues. Most bloggers and online influencers tend to focus on specific interests. They have followers, often in large numbers, interested in the same topics. If your business is related to these interests, partnering with an online influencer can create a direct line to your target audience. 

After you’ve decided to connect with online influencers, the question becomes how. Here are a few suggestions for how to connect with online influencers. 

1. Check your media database. Most media databases include prominent bloggers with significant followings. This is a great way to identify some of the most famous bloggers who write about businesses similar to yours. However, if you want to partner with one of these bloggers, be prepared to pay. Most popular bloggers are willing to partner with businesses, but they expect to be paid for the privilege. Their blog is a business. Don't rule this out. A great sponsored post by a top blogger may be more valuable than an advertisement. 

2. Check your social media followings. If you’re active on Twitter and Facebook, take a look at your followers who you interact with the most. Twitter is usually a better platform for this than Facebook, given its one-on-one nature. It’s also very easy to look at Twitter follower profiles to check out their number and quality of followers. If they are blogging, most will link to their blogs on their profiles. 

Instagram is another great platform for finding online influencers. If one of your followers has a large following on Instagram that could be enough to consider them an online influencer. Note that Instagram followings may be smaller than other social media, but the level of engagement on this platform is often higher. If your business has a physical location, be sure to look to see if anyone has checked in to your business. Many people might have checked into your business without finding your account so be sure to follow them. 

3. Hold a social media contest. Having a Instagram contest is a great way to grow your social media following and find great online influencers. Ask people to use a particular hashtag to tag their Instagram photos. Have a physical location? You have even more options. Consider setting up a selfie station. Make sure to follow and engage with everyone who participates in the contest. 

After you’ve grown your list of online influencers you can start offering special promotions and opportunities to keep them engaged. These influencers can be powerful brand ambassadors.

Count on Marketing PR for Creativity

You count on your PR team to deliver your key messages. Give them a shot at coming up with a creative, out-of-the-box idea that wows your customers or solves a vexing business problem.Count on your marketing PR team for creativity, not just hod-carrying your key messages.

An article titled "The Creativity Crisis" in the spring edition of the Public Relations Strategist urges company managers and clients to lean more heavily on PR professionals for fresh ideas. Authors Douglas McKinley and Susan Balcom Walton, both professors at Brigham Young University, say part of the problem is that many top-level officials fail to recognize that PR is a creative discipline.

"Actually, PR people are — and must be — more creative than people in advertising and marketing because we have to persuade the media and others of the merits of our ideas to secure their participation in communicating messages to our target audiences," explains Patrice Tanaka, co-chair and creative director for New York-based CRT Tanaka.

Making Your Facebook Page a Fan Magnet

Much effort is exerted to get someone to "like" your Facebook page. Equal or greater effort is needed to earn a return visit.

Businesses and organizations spend a lot of time and money to accumulate a large number of followers. But if you don't give them any reason to follow you closely, it is a paper army.

People, even your most devoted fans, are busy. They will only return to your Facebook page when there is a reason. Giving them a good reason is your challenge.

Contests and events attract interest. So does quality content that informs or inspires. Best of all is some type of engagement, in which you ask for their ideas or involvement. Blogs routinely trot out lists of things to do to bolster your Facebook ranks and keep them excited. In truth, there isn't a formula for success. Each brand, organization or cause needs to find its own sweet spot.

A contest may be inappropriate to raise awareness and recruit financial donors for a cause. Events may be impractical for certain kinds of products or services.

What brings people back, including fans, is engaging content of interest to them. If you are in sync with your target audience, that may seem like a natural expression to you. If not, you need to talk to your fan base or potential fan base to find out what they like about you and what they want to know more about.