PushON’s online marketers were given some schooling by PR Agency One’s James Crawford yesterday when he delivered a really useful presentation on his craft. Although there are obvious similarities and overlaps between public relations and digital marketing, most of our people emerged through digital channels, whereas James has been pushing his clients to national, trade and local news sources for years. Still, our ends are the same – helping brands to maintain position and reputation within their markets.
Outside the overlaps are the areas where “traditional” PR and the purely digital mindset reside. PR Agency One has benefited from PushON’s online expertise, and today it was James’ chance to return the favour.
To kick off, he guided us through the process of getting press for our clients. He started with the story-led approach (having a story and identifying potential outlets for it), then covered the target-led approach (working backwards from outlets’ typical material and proposing fresh insights that they might publish).
Both methodologies are familiar to the search marketing community, but by showing us how to target a wider range of media than exclusively online sources of news and comment, we gained valuable insight into the best ways of grabbing the attention of, I suppose, more seasoned media operators. And because most print news is now reproduced verbatim online, it’s an effective way of delivering authoritative links to our clients’ sites.
James also reminded us of the lost art of the press release. Despite being declared dead in some quarters, he argued that it remains an effective way of piquing the interest of journalists and editors if done correctly. A clever heading, a grabby opening paragraph and some disciplined spelling and grammar can be enough to save it from the recycle bin – old news for the pre-internet generation but an overlooked fact for today’s wide-eyed digitalistas.
… or so he assumed. James gave us half an hour’s homework – to produce a press release on an imaginary in-house development. And much to his surprise, we more or less nailed it. Either he’s the world’s best PR instructor or PushON’s grasp of traditional media has been retrospectively inherited from our industry’s ancestral writings. Let’s go with the former; James gave a brilliant talk and we’re all grateful for his generosity.
As digital marketing reaches ever more offline and PR continues to extend its roots ever deeper online, sharing knowledge like this is going to grow in importance.