Earlier this week the RingCentral Social Media and PR teams attended the San Francisco PR Summit. Dozens of professionals in public relations, content creation and marketing spoke, gave advice, and shared their insights. Many were CEOs who had started their own companies, others were business journalists with expertise in tech and start-ups, and others were self-made content creators and digital media specialists. Here are the five of the key points we learned from this year’s PR Summit:
1. Find Newsworthy Topics
Jason Miller (@JasonMillerCA), the Senior Manager of Content and Social at LinkedIn, talked about a term he called “news jacking” as a means of finding relevant content for your website. News jacking is taking a secondary portion of a news article and writing about that as a topic.
Miller gave the example of when Paris Hilton got kicked out of a Wynn hotel. The news article about it focused on Hilton, but secondary in the article was the fact that the Wynn hotel chain gave Hilton a lifetime ban from staying in any of their hotels. This secondary piece of information can be turned into a completely unique article that is just as newsworthy and will gain media attention for companies. “Reframe it in a way that it relevant to the media and general public,” Miller says.
2. Build a Compelling Story
Rebekah Iliff (@rebekahiliff), the Chief Strategy Officer at AirPR, a company specializing in the humanization of data to increase PR’s performance, urged the audience to build a compelling story in order to gain an online following and receive media attention. Her advice was to “stop telling stories or building narratives in a vacuum.” Instead, she recommends becoming an expert in a particular field, or area, so that people want to hear the stories that you are building.
She suggests using data to drive a newsworthy articles and tell a story. Data is information that can be used to make better decisions and therefore tell a more compelling story.
3. Statistics and Numbers are Your Friends
John Rampton (@johnrampton) is an entrepreneur as well as writer for Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and many other websites and publications (including the RingCentral Blog!). He says that newsworthy articles and content need to be backed with impressive statistics and numbers in order to gain readers trust. Companies should strive to put out their own statistics based on surveys and research. Reporters can then use those statistics to appeal to a larger audience.
When discussing how content can lead to sales at the SF PR Summit he said, “Don’t find customers, lead conversations.” Conversations backed by statistics bring validity and authority to the writer.
4. Reframe Preconceptions
Ben Parr (@benparr) is a former writer for Mashable, the CEO of DominateFund, and has a book, Captivology, on the science of capturing people’s attention coming out next year. He started his SF PR Summit speech by dropping deodorant on the floor and explaining the history of bringing deodorant into the public eye. The main struggle was refashioning preconceptions of women’s hygiene and the safety of deodorant ingredients.
Parr explains PR companies must re-label preconceptions in order to get the attention of the public nowadays. “Reframe the conversation around your idea or your brand,” Parr says. If a company caters to the senior population, and is trying to break into the millennial market, then unexpected online campaigns and repeated sloganing is the best way to capture the attention of the public and media.
And most importantly he says, “if you want to cut through the clutter follow these 3 expert tips: leverage experts, reframe the conversation, and violate expectations”, that’s the key to success.
5. Your Network is Your Net Worth
Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley), a Social Selling Evangelist, knows a thing or two about social media connections; after all, she does have over 11,000 connections on LinkedIn alone! Rowley talked about the importance of social media networking, saying that every business card you collect should be used as a new LinkedIn connection and Twitter follower.
Rowley says that her network is her net worth, meaning that developing a connection on social media is way more likely to get companies and reps sales than simple cold calls. She backed this up with statistics at her SF PR Summit presentation saying, “78% of sales using social media outperform their peers—cold calling and unsolicited emails are not working anymore”. Rowley says that customers expect companies and sales reps to feel personal and authentic.
Ultimately, PR is still very much about creating stories and news content that people can relate to on a personal level, but the way this content gets shared and consumed is drastically changing. What additional pointers can you share to help build strong PR campaigns?
Originally published Jun 20, 2014, updated Sep 20, 2021