In this week’s podcast episode, I wanted to highlight the power of a holistic approach to marketing and share about the rise of contributed pieces for your next power move in PR.
I am seeing that personalized experiences are the key to success for businesses in 2023.
You will learn how to unlock the secrets to PR success this year with three essential elements to incorporate into your PR plan.
I learned about 3 things to build into my PR plan this year: utilizing the rise of contributed pieces, taking a holistic approach to PR and marketing, and creating more personalized experiences. Utilizing contributed pieces can be a great way to be seen as a thought leader and an expert in your field. When it comes to PR and marketing, they should be working together to create a cohesive brand. Finally, personalizing experiences through events or meeting people can have a powerful impact on your brand.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
- The benefits of submitting contributed pieces to outlets for becoming a thought leader and an expert in your field.
- How to unlock the power of a holistic approach to PR and marketing to create the strongest brand.
- Why personalized experiences can help build a local base of fans and ambassadors.
Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
Listen to the episode
Okay, today I want to talk about three things that I think we should all be keeping in mind when it comes to PR for our businesses in 2023. I know we’re already kind of like, well on our way through the year, but I don’t know. I mean, these are just things that I guess I’m seeing, like, as the year is getting started, as we kind of came into the year. I don’t know, it’s not meant to be like a New year’s thing of like, here’s what to do this whole year. But I think it’s things that we’re seeing happening now and being relevant now that we should keep in mind as we plan out the rest of the year.
That’s kind of how I’ll say it. I don’t know, I feel like when I just said that, it sounded like I was trying to say we’re, like, starting off the beginning of the year or something. But anyway, these are things that I think we should all keep in mind from now on, probably until things change again and work into our business, try to build up more in terms of our plans, our PR plans, our marketing plans for the year. And, yeah, it’s just based on what I’ve been seeing with our clients within my own agency, with the media that we’re talking to, the people we’re interacting with, the general trends of what’s going on and what I’m seeing. Number one, and I think this would be pretty quick, I just wanted to kind of recap the kinds of things that I’m seeing going on right now.
So these are the three things that I’m noticing and think we should all keep in mind. First, being the rise of contributed pieces. There’s so much opportunity for writing your own stuff and submitting it now. There are so many outlets that will accept contributed pieces, a lot more, even I think, than there have been in the recent past. And it’s a great opportunity to be seen as a thought leader and an expert in your field by doing that, writing your own article, and then submitting it to an outlet that will publish it with your own byline, which means the name that says, like, buy so and so.
It will be your name. It won’t be written by one of the writers at the publication. And that is what a contributed piece means. It’s written by you. They say it’s written by you.
And when you submit it somewhere like that, you’re seen as a thought leader, you’re seen as an expert. You sort of get to bypass the regular, regular editorial pitching process. It’s a different kind of pitching process. You still pitch it. You still have to pitch them the idea, pitch them the story, and write the story, of course, or write the article.
So there’s a little more work in that sense, but it’s just different. And I probably have a podcast episode about that, actually. I should check. If I don’t, maybe I should do one. The differences between submitting or pitching a contributed piece and pitching like editorial, but it is different.
Again, it can be more work in that you’re writing a whole piece to submit. But also I find that if you find the exact right outlet for it or you know, the exact outlet that you want to be in and you write the piece for them, you can pitch at one place and get it picked up rather than having to maybe pitch several places with your editorial idea. It can sometimes be faster too. Sometimes they’ll publish it faster than editorial. You don’t have to set a poll, interview this and that.
Different. It’s just different. But it is really great in many instances and it can be the right move for certain outlets depending on what kind of outlet you want to be in, depending on what your situation is. But it can be a great option. And it’s something that’s definitely becoming more, I don’t know, more prominent, I guess, lately and something that I’m seeing.
It makes sense to be built into part of your marketing media PR plan. In so many instances. I’m trying to stop myself from saying like almost anybody should be doing this. But yeah, I mean, almost anybody should be doing this. There are a ton of outlets that are taking contributed pieces now.
It can be really a lot of opportunity. There’s less and less staff writers. Some outlets are taking almost all of their content is contributed pieces now. You can tell when it’s like first person articles all over some website that’s all contributed pieces or I mean, sometimes they’ll have editors who write a lot of the pieces themselves in a first person way, but usually that’s a lot of contributed articles and a lot of other places. Even if that’s not the bulk of their content, they do accept them.
They’re maybe accepting more now because, again, less staff writers. So yeah, this kind of coverage is something that’s fantastic for anyone who wants to be anyone who’s building up that reputation as a thought leader or a leader in your industry. If you want to be known as an expert in your field. That’s really something that I think we should all be considering a lot this year. And it’s something that I think should be built into almost all of our plans this year.
When it comes to your marketing and plans, the next thing being just a really holistic look at your marketing strategy and making sure that your PR plans are extremely connected to and really built into the rest of your marketing plan and that it’s all working really well together. And I mean, like working together, building off of each other, working together, really each a part of each other’s process. We cannot approach marketing and prayers two different silos or two different entities or two different teams, two different groups they are one and the same and they need to work together. I mean, one and the same is kind of a weird phrase. Obviously there are differences to what you’re doing, but PR is part of your marketing.
It just is. People really want to see this cohesive brand and that’s what you get when you have PR marketing working together. PR and marketing are two parts of the same whole and way too often in the past. And now, companies are approaching them as two different things. And working with a PR agency and then working with a marketing agency.
Separately or having an in house marketing team and not having them work super closely with the PR agency, or just not even approaching them as part of the same thing. Sometimes people will work with one and just ignore the other completely, which is honestly well, no, I don’t want to say that. I was going to say, which might be better than having both and having them not working together. But I think it’s usually really terrible to have one and not the other. Because again, I don’t know.
We’ve worked with all different combinations in my agency. We’ve worked with small local businesses here in Boston that are working with us and not working with any other marketing at all. We’ve worked with national brands that have another marketing agency that we work with really closely together, like another agency somewhere else, not even local to us, it doesn’t matter. But like national brand that might have an agency here and an agency there and another agency over there. We’ve worked with local nonprofit that needed local Boston PR that had their own in house marketing team that we worked closely with.
That was actually that can be a great situation. We’ve worked with local restaurants that have another marketing agency that we’ve worked closely with and ones that we haven’t worked closely with. Our favorite is when they have an in house marketing person that we can work really closely with but we have full reign over the complete strategy and work on their full marketing picture. All kind of steered by our peer strategy and the media goals because that’s our sweet spot. Like, as you know, we love, we do media, we specialize in media outreach and that’s where we see brands getting the biggest impact from their marketing.
When they have an overall PR strategy, they’re getting major media attention and then using that and working with that to steer the rest of their marketing plans, the rest of their marketing strategy with those big audiences coming in from the PR work that we’re doing. So, I mean, there’s all different ways that brands approach it, but but it’s really frustrating when people or companies choose for PR and marketing to not be working together or to choose two different agencies and not have us working, like connect us or to have two different teams and not have us work together. But especially for small businesses, you need to take this more holistic approach. And it’s something I’m seeing brands really start to understand a lot more lately. So don’t just sound like I’m bashing everybody and their different configurations of this.
I’m really seeing people start to get it a lot more really recently, which is great, and people are understanding more how it all works together and how they can actually create the biggest impact with their marketing, which is great. And it’s something I’m really pushing more for as an agency this year too. I don’t know if we can work with you if you’re going to have a separate marketing agency that’s going to be doing their own thing. If you’re not going to be connecting us and having us work together. We’re happy to work with other marketing agencies if they don’t do PR, but they’re going to be doing marketing that is stuff that we’re not going to do.
But if you’re not going to be doing both or you’re not going to be investing in other marketing as well as PR, that’s tough. Whether we’re the ones doing it or not, there are clients lately that come to me and I’ve told them, like, we’ll only do this, but wait a minute, that didn’t make any sense.
And it’s something I’m really pushing more for as an agency this year too. I don’t know if we can even work with you if you’re not going to I mean, I don’t know if we can even work with you if you’re going to have a separate marketing agency that’s going to be doing their own thing and we’re not going to be really connected with them or working on stuff with them. Or if you’re not going to be investing in other marketing as well as PR, whether we’re the ones doing it or not, There are clients lately that come to me and I’ve told them we’ll only do this if you also let us do X, Y and Z with you. Because if you’re going to have us do your PR and media outreach, but then you’re not going to have any way to capture email addresses or bring your new audience members into your community in some way to be nurtured and draw them in more, what’s the point of getting in front of these big audiences? And yes, some clients really just want to be able to say they were seen in these outlets, and I do get that and that can be fine if that is really their only goal.
But if you’re going to be getting this media attention and then, for example, your social media isn’t polished in a way that matches your brand or matches this public persona that we’re working with on the PR side, that’s confusing for people and you’re not going to reach your overall goals if you have. We like to try to set overall business goals that are larger than just being able to say, I was seen in this publication. There should be something you want to do with those audiences and with that attention. And again, if that reputation is all that you care about, we can work with that. But for the most part, I feel like the people that I’m talking to on this podcast, like the people who are listening to this, we’re small business owners.
You want more out of it. Like you get that we’re doing this for larger returns, right? So all that to say, I just think your PR work should be built into the rest of your marketing. You should be pitching topics that you’re focusing on in your direct marketing work and vice versa, depending on where you want to put your emphasis. Like you can start in either place.
You can start with, okay, what do I want to be seen discussing in the media this year? And then build your other marketing content off of that. Or you can say, okay, here are the topics I want to cover on my social media accounts or in my emails or whatever direct marketing you love and then develop pitches for wider media coverage about those things so you can be seen talking about those topics. But either way, the plans need to be built together around each other in order to be building the strongest brand you can. Otherwise you’re just creating some random articles over there and then talking about something totally different in your other marketing.
And also, I feel like I talked about this in a recent episode, so I’m not going to go into it. But if you’re trying to pitch a topic and the writer or whoever you pitch, they’re going to come check you out, they’re going to come do a little research. And if they don’t see you talking about any of those topics, like on your social media, on your website or your blog or whatever, they’re going to see first, it’s going to be confusing. They’re not going to see you’re not going to look like the experts that they should be quoting because you don’t talk about this stuff. So you need to make sure that those plans aren’t are built around the things that you’re going to be pitching to.
So again, I feel like I talked about that recently. I’ll try to see if I can remember what it was and link to it or something, but this was already way more than I meant to go into for this. That was a lot. I clearly feel strongly about this piece, but I think that you really need to take a holistic approach, look at your marketing and your PR together. Do not consider them two separate things.
And I think that is something that brands are really starting to grasp finally in a stronger way right now than I’ve been seeing before. So that’s good. I feel good about that. But make sure that you are too. Revisit your plans, revisit your marketing plans, revisit your overall visibility strategy and your visibility needs and wants or goals like make sure that it’s all working together because you don’t want to be the one left in the dust.
I guess as people are getting a hold of a hang of this. Okay, number three, being more personalized experiences. I’m talking about on the ground, gettogethers face to face relationship building personalized experiences. I am seeing that being so much the way that people want to connect this year. And people are responding really well to things like this.
And it could be a missed opportunity if you don’t tap into it in some way. Even if your brand is not locally based, having a local base of fans is going to help. And I don’t mean fans, they have to be like raving fans, but it could just be people who like your brand, people who feel like they actually know you, things like that. It’s going to serve as your own little ambassador program. And having people who really like you and who know you and who want to see you succeed is going to help almost anything else that you do personally.
I, as you may know, run an in person networking group for other businesses based here in Boston. And the need and desire for in person networking and getting together has been so huge this year. I’ve seen people building their businesses off of it so much in even the last year, but I feel like it’s only ramping up even more. I’ve seen people go from zero to 60 in a couple of months based on in person meeting and get together and networking. And I think this is something to consider building into your PR work this year if there’s any way for it to make sense for you and your business.
And maybe it’s not like hosting an event on behalf of your business. I’m not saying you have to be holding events or anything like that, but it could just be building in, attending other events as a way to meet new people and to create those real connections and real relationships with the right people as a way to get in front of or connect with people who could move your brand forward as something like that. Keep in mind that reaching three people at an in person event who really have the means to help move your brand forward can be a powerful PR move. Even if it’s not related to media, even if it’s not reaching 10,000 readers of a publication. Sometimes those three people can actually have a huge impact.
It could be one person. Keep in mind, PR is public relations. It’s any public. So it’s not just media. Even though that’s what I usually talk about the most.
That’s what most people mean when they say PR. They’re talking about media relations. But let’s remember that it’s really anytime you’re interacting with the public, building relationship with any publics. And that is worth keeping in mind that sometimes this is in person connections. It might be literally your, I don’t know, some neighborhood group.
Like there might be a person there that is going to move the needle for you. And sometimes we get so caught up in thinking that we need to be, I don’t know, in all these big publications or on these big, shiny, whatever podcasts, talking to thousands of people that will almost, like, forget that we can have one really powerful conversation with someone who is a real needle mover right down the street from us. Or, like, right in person at the coffee shop. So keep that in mind and depending on what your goals are and what kind of growth and what kind of support you need this year, that can be really powerful for your brand too. So see where it makes sense for you.
Again, maybe it’s creating events for your business or on behalf of your brand or being seen somewhere as your brand or just actually connecting with people as a person, as a business owner, but as you. So I just think that people are really coming back to the basics in terms of how to connect with things and people. It’s not like basic, but we went so far to the side of everything being online, like everything email, everything should be online. And it was great that we could connect online so much and that you can reach so many people via email and like the internet. But then it was like we’re forced into it so much in the last couple of years with everything having to be online and having to be virtual.
I feel like people are just really shifting back to the complete opposite direction now even more than before. And now people are like, I want to see someone in person, I want to get off that screen. People are ignoring too many emails, but paying attention to a snail mail note from someone. People are ignoring or canceling, going to virtual events, but showing up super excited for in person events. And I see it even for brands that are not trying to build a local base.
But again, when I work with local brands in Boston that can work with or ship to or have customers in any area, but when they do something locally on the ground here or wherever they happen to be, it’s so powerful. And it’s not like, oh, well, I don’t need to do in person Boston networking because that’s not my like I’m not a local brand. I can ship to anywhere. When it comes down to it, just being a Boston business owner means you are a local brand to a certain extent. Again.
Wherever. If you’re in New York, you are a New York City based brand. It doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter how far you can ship, how wide your customer pool is, that is where you are. You can build up a base in your community and your support system locally that’s going to help you. That’s going to be like a positive force for you.
So wherever you are, that can be super important and take you super far. So see if you can build up some kind of local base where you are. Get some people who have some of that hometown pride. People do love that stuff and I think it can only help. I just think it can only help.
So keep that in mind too. Again, could be on the business side, could be personal networking, but don’t overestimate. Don’t underestimate the power of in real life networking in real life events, personalized experiences, even if it’s you’re hosting an event to make it super personal, like literally personalize, whatever, you can put a name tag on something, the more you can do some personalized follow ups, send everybody a thank you card. Those personal touches too are what are going to make you be remembered and make people feel like they’re a part of your community.
Okay, this is longer than I actually thought it was even going to be. Clearly I got kind of into those topics. But these are the three things that I think you should keep in mind for this year because there are some of the biggest, most important trends I’m seeing with our clients and other brands and that I’m seeing people do well. And yeah, just like according to the current landscape at the moment for how people are gaining visibility and expanding their visibility in powerful ways, that’s really working right now. Right?
So anyway, I’d love to hear is there anything else you were building into your pair of plans this year? Let me know. What are you planning? Tell me, are you going to be hosting or going to any fun events this year? Let me know what you are thinking, what you’re planning, if you’re seeing any other things like this that we should keep in mind trends or strategies that we should be building into our plans this year.
Yeah, if nothing else, revisit this episode with a notebook and pen and make some notes on how you can try to implement these three things into your plans for the year. Thanks so much for listening and I never think to say this, but please share this episode or if you have not ever rated or reviewed the podcast, please do. I’m supposed to re remind you to do that on every episode and I never do, but it really is important, it’s really powerful for the podcast and I hope that we can share this with more people so that they can also expand their visibility this year. So feel free to share this episode with any friends that you think should also be expanding their visibility this year.