By Bontle Tsikwe (Senior Account Director: TheGrind PR, a subsidiary of Group Africa Marketing)
The past two years have tested most industries and organisations have had to re-imagine how they operate. In some cases, whittling down their service offerings while others found opportunities to expand their businesses, introducing new revenue-making streams such as putting more focus on digitally led initiatives to compensate for lack of physical contact.
As the world is gradually going back to normality, the road to reclaiming all we previously had continues to be uphill. Companies need to work closely with their Public Relations (PR) partners during this time to unearth the nuggets that could provide great opportunities to profile and leverage marketing spend.
There are a few low hanging tasks that can yield great results. These include:
Story Telling – As much as content is still king and will remain king for many years still to come, it is equally important to note that time has become quite an expensive commodity. PR professionals have previously focused on writing long press releases to announce or share any company news, but the current times we live in require shorter, punchier content that can live digitally and only focuses on the 5 Ws and H without the waffle.
Hybrid Executions – The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent different levels of lockdown have opened up endless possibilities that can be made possible by combining physical and digital executions for any marketing work. We have seen how physical events are streamed live on various digital platforms. Even with the possibility of the world opening up completely, hybrid executions will continue to rise and remain trendy.
Deep Captioned Photos – This is one of the most under-utilised PR tools. “A picture is worth a thousand words" - an adage that means that pictures can break any language barriers ensuring what cannot be fully explained by words can easily be conveyed by a single still image. Publishing a captioned photo gives better results as people interact with the content more than long articles. The continued rise of platforms such as Instagram and how pictorial stories tend to do well on Twitter are proof of that.
Podcasts – This is one area that has the potential to boom. Creating a series of bite-sized stories that live on digital platforms is another way of making sure content is consumed even by those pressed for time. These also do well where the voice used to share the content is a trusted source in the field. E.g. using a medical doctor to talk about health issues while a fashion icon would be more suited to discuss fashion trends. It is, however, important to not force-fit brands and people for clout as consumers are savvy in picking up on content and relationships that are not authentic.
Media Partnerships – brands need to see media as partners and not only the means to an end. Taking the media into your confidence and walking the journey with them will ensure that they listen to you when you need them the most. Although PR generates “free publicity”, the investment in time and research still needs to be made to cement those relations. This includes getting to know your media partners; their likes and dislikes, do they prefer to source their content through interviews or to receive content from you? The results of getting this right are far-reaching. These media are likely to reach out to you for commentary related to your products and services rather than you having to do the chase all the time.
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