Effective PR in 2016

When I left my role as a print, TV and radio journalist in 2005, PR was all about getting as much positive airplay and column inches about your client into the media as possible.

As a BBC Radio producer, I would receive around 300 press releases per day and use around two, so I knew how difficult that would be. However I reckoned I had a nose for a good story and hundreds of published press releases later, I can say (with a little relief!) that I was probably right.

Back then, PR success was measured in Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE). As it suggests, this calculated the success of a press release by measuring the cost of an advert of similar size to the editorial coverage achieved.

At the time I suspected there might be slightly more to it and in 2006 embarked on a Chartered Institute of PR Diploma at Sunderland University whilst working for a PR Agency as an Account Manager.

This gave me insight into the much wider role that professional PR could play in the running of an organisation or business – from stakeholder relations and internal communications to crisis and issues management, political lobbying, public affairs and corporate communication.

Of the 473 different definitions I heard – apart from “free advertising” (which is a huge over-simplification) the most accessible was “PR is about “reputation” and fostering good relations to earn understanding and support externally as well as internally”.

But back in 2005, traditional media coverage and face-to-face meetings were still the tried and tested PR tools to convey an organisation’s key messages to the outside world.

Organisations used paid-for advertising, too but this was rarely as effective as media “coverage” as it didn’t carry editorial endorsement (still true!). Surprisingly back then, advertising was rarely considered part of a PR’s remit and vice-versa.

What’s changed since, is that although coverage in traditional media is still highly effective (Daily Mail still has 23.5 million print and online readers over a month, regional Manchester Evening news has 66,000 per day), PR which operates solely in print and broadcast media is no longer enough.

In today’s converged media world, to best serve brands and get results, we have to embrace different channels and a variety of technologies.

Even though the world of PR may have changed dramatically since 2005, two fundamentals still remain: the best PR is about great story-telling and influence. It’s all to do with content – ensuring you grab your audience’s attention with the best tales and making sure all your messages are aligned.

And who better to bring this all together than the professional story-teller PR –and even better if they’ve actually worked as a story-telling journalist for 10 years.

Here at Kate Slater PR in 2016, we manage an array of social media for different clients, whilst writing straplines, advertising and website copy, drafting and designing newsletters, and pitching news stories to the press. We gather data from Google Analytics, evaluate results of paid-for advertising, set up events, deliver media training, manage media crises, and monitor Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds – ensuring everything is aligned to your key messages (which we’ve already discussed with you).

As a former journalist, I constantly think like an editor. Before creating any campaign I think: Is this new? Is this interesting? Is it worth talking about?  Is this image remarkable?  Who would be interested? This is crucial for all PR and Marketing.  The trick is to be able to story-tell (well) – not just story-sell.

100% publication rate for all KSPR press releases over the last three years and effective, aligned campaigns which have brought success to clients tells its own story.