Authority in PR has never been more important
Libby Windle of agency Connective3 shares her tips for good PR in an era of ‘fake news’.
PR has a responsibility to tell the truth. And if you don’t have all the answers, there’s always collaboration / Ilyass Seddoug
Authority is the power to give orders to people and, while the aim of PR isn’t to give orders, it is to influence action, opinion, or belief through our messaging.
Below, I share tips on the measures you can put in place when planning your strategy to ensure you stay authoritative throughout by creating content that’s true to your brand, industry, and target audience.
Speak your truth
With the rise of fake news post-pandemic, audiences want authentic content more than ever, and we as PRs have a duty to provide content that’s the truth. The facts stated within your content need to be correct, and the topic of the concept overall needs to be true to you as a brand, your industry, and your audience’s interests.
Authority is an influential mechanic. The more authoritative you are, the more you can remove doubt from journalists receiving your content – and the audience digesting it. By distributing content whereby, the facts are incorrect, or the topic isn’t true to your brand, industry or audience, journalists and audiences may doubt you and your messaging.
Ask yourself: are we the right brand to be focusing on this topic?
Digital PR is all about finding new and engaging ways to get in front of your target audience, no matter what industry you operate in. However, when it comes to ideation and picking the right concept to distribute to the media, relevancy is key. Relevancy to your brand, industry, and audience.
You need to ask yourself the following questions: are we the right brand to be focusing on this topic? Are we the right experts to provide commentary on this topic? Will your audience be interested in this topic? Will we be able to target the publications that our audience reads on this topic?
If ‘no’ answers all the above, you might want to go back to the drawing board. However, if the topic is relevant to your brand, industry and audience but you don’t feel as though you are ‘expert’ enough to provide commentary, there is a way around this: collaboration.
So, you’ve got your topic. You know it’s going to secure your placements on the right publications, and you know it’s relevant to your brand and your audience, however, you need someone with more expertise than you to provide some clarity or additional commentary.
There are many ways to source experts to collaborate with, depending on the expert you want.
Let’s say you’re a retailer, and your topics are around consumer shopping habits, and you’re wanting to reveal why consumers think the way they do and how their impulsive mind works – you might want to work with a psychologist. A way to find a psychologist would be to look at university professors. You can locate these by simply looking at the faculty or staff section on the university website and, in most cases, emails will be available.
Or let’s say you’re a travel operator and you’re wanting to work on the concept of packing and how to make use of small spaces. You’ll be able to provide commentary on the must-visit destinations, luggage allowance, etc however you’re probably going to want to work with a professional organizer to provide in-depth packing tips. One way to find this expert is by using ResponseSource, a journalist enquiry tool where you can put a call out for experts.
Don’t just stop at media placements. Make your content work harder by spreading the concept and messaging across your channels including social media. This way, you’re continuing to add value and strengthen your voice as an authority.
The above strategy works for all clients and concepts – whether bigger-scale campaigns or smaller pro-actives. Before presenting any concept to a client, challenge your team on the following questions: are we the right brand to be focussing on this topic? Will our audience be interested? Will we be able to target our desired publications? Do this, and see the positive impact on your clients' organic KPIs.
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