Dupont, Comet Chat, & Boutique Undertakers: Promoting Your PR Coup

You’ve just been written up in a magazine or mentioned in a major publication, participated in a major trade show or conference, or won a coveted award, and you want to capitalize on it. But how? Do you copy and paste it to your blog? E-mail the link to your entire mailing list? Just post it to social? People who like you will pat you on the back for the score but, to everyone else, it could seem just self-promotional or desperate. You need a plan that keeps PR in perspective.

Let’s look at some PR hits from the Dupont Linkedin Feed, an even mix of awards and press mentions:


Feedback on PR
And the people all said “good job!”

Now there’s nothing wrong with these, although they do seem a little repetitive in overusing “we’re proud…” as the starting place. But they’re brief, and they feed internal and partner momentum. What they also do is maintain perspective. They toot the hit without looking for a bullhorn bigger than the press itself. Your level of excitement will vary, of course.

They also get some requisite likes and congrats, mostly from existing partner firms and employees. Personally, I like the one creative thinker who said LMAO in response. But when you think of “promoting” your latest PR coup, you’re wondering if there’s more you can do than just post it to a social stream and move on.

The General Tone of These Announcements

The promotional flavor of announcing PR hits doesn’t change much. A little more salt in this one; a sprinkle of sugar in that one. Skim through this wider range of examples:

Some of these are very sweet, but none of them are the tremendously showy resounding splash we might hope they’d be. That’s because 1) no one will ever care as much as we do, 2) there is no science of this—these are the best ideas people have, and 3) the after-promotion isn’t really the point.

Remember, You’ve Achieved the Goal

Getting the press IS the objective. A smaller brand will sometimes go into panic mode rushing to find a way to “capitalize” on the PR hit – as if there MUST be something for us to do about the PR. This is missing the point. Getting the press is the end game – the actual result for PR marketing. What you get from the press is more eyeballs, another means of receiving traffic, and more indexing in search. Congratulate yourself, but operate from a mentality of abundance not scarcity. In other words, put the bulk of your effort into (rinse/repeat) getting more press—leverage new press to get new press, not into trying to make it mean something it doesn’t.

You can extend the benefit some, and should, but avoid the assumption that everyone is hanging around waiting to get excited that you got written about – e.g. we MUST blast this out to our audience immediately! In most cases, you’ll get some pats on the back or some envy, sure – but that e-mail blast is unlikely to trigger a windfall of additional conversions out of e-mail – especially if most of your e-mails are self-promotional (that’s a different topic).

winning press

It’s a matter of ranking priorities. It’s certainly exciting to get new press, and we don’t want to downplay that. But it’s much more important to use the buzz to garner more press than to worry about how to “promote” a PR hit as though it were a one-off.

There are some special situations that require more thought: for brands seeking investor funding or non-profits courting grants and large donors or partnerships with other organizations, a carefully crafted e-mail that situates the PR piece in the context of your overall mission, has a shot at shaking the trees! For those situations and for anyone wanting the automatic or perhaps obvious of things one might do with a PR coup, try these:

Yes, Post it to Social

It doesn’t hurt to post to social just like these other companies have. Go farther, and get the publicist and any interviewee to do the same. Be sure to @ the requisite publication, reporter, sources—like any subject matter expert (SME) that was interviewed, etc. Giving your brand press should equate to at least the organization moving its tail. Consider nudging a few industry peers (partner firms/orgs) with an @ as well.

Use the Feature for Subtle Social Proof

You can accumulate your PR mentions in a “featured in” section of your home page just by using the publication’s logo, and linking back to the piece. You need three or more PR hits, so it might require holding off on your first couple, but there’s no need to tell everyone “look here” anyway. The credibility is in EXPECTING to be written about or featured, not in waving it around all over town! Social proof (validation from a 3rd party) can be perceived by potential clients/customers as support for the sale!

BCD Website
BCD’s website does a good job of this.

Alternately, you can use a whole website page. My favorite, so far, is the press page of an undertaking website.

Funeral home PR
My favorite line is from their coverage in Atlas Obscura: “Plan Your Own Green Death”

Use Your Writeup for Social ‘Cred’

Create some “quote pins”—visual graphics in platform-specific proportions with text overlay of key excerpts from the piece. Quote pins are insanely popular in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sodexo uses “quote pins” consistently in its social stream.

If the quotes are pithy, and not self-promotional, they can travel well, get lots of re-shares and, subject to each platform’s requirements for formatting and content, you can boost them as social ads.

“Co-Brand” Your E-mail Blast

It’s common to OVERLY brand e-mail blasts, with enormous logos taking top billing. Why not shrink your logo and let someone ELSE’s logo sell you a bit? Put the PR venue’s logo at the top – if you win Newsweek press, you might lead with Newsweek’s logo. Add a call to action (if you like) in the form of asking your audience to leave a comment on the article or share it with their social audience, using the article’s built-in share buttons.

Comet Chat took a similar approach to putting the venue name (Inc.) up top, with some slight variation:

Comet Chat

Even if your list is stale and consists now of existing clients, friends, and staff, a little brand advocacy isn’t a high bar to reach. As already mentioned, if you’re courting investor/donor involvement, you might use this opportunity (or a followup e-mail in a week) to ask for money to support your mission. If it’s a separate e-mail, you can allude to the article you already sent. Be sure to position the CTA with a WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”) component.

Encourage Brand Advocacy

Don’t forget your internal audience. Everyone in the company needs to feel the momentum when you have a PR gain. Be sure they get it via whatever internal newsletter or brand advocacy blast you send out routinely. Encourage a select group of these that have active LinkedIn profiles to post the link, share your posting of it, or post the whole text if it feels right or they think their audiences will benefit. If any has a big email audience, you might encourage that person to send it along to their list members. Remember they can’t post everything, so ask selectively.

BravEcho Peach Road Project
The BravEcho employee engagement program for the retail giant Meijer’s PeachRoad Project.

You don’t have a staff/brand-advocate engagement campaign? You need one. But don’t jump to the conclusion of gazillions of HR departments that it’s automatically another newsletter. Don’t we get enough of that stuff? Engagement is more complex. Truly activated people are involved enough that they’re already aware of what’s going on. That’s a different topic, but one that’s hot and heavy at HR conferences with, unfortunately, still very little light on how to make it work if the company itself is kind of boring or otherwise not very fun.

Physical Offices? Put Up PR in Your Place of Business

Whether you’ve got a store/shop or office/factory, PR does as much to encourage staff and buzz from coworkers as it does to support on-site sales. If the cover mentions you, frame it or blow it up extra-large on foam stock and hang it on a wire from the ceiling. If the mention is buried mid-article in a wall of text, you could ‘photoshop’ it slightly (as long as your intention isn’t to misrepresent) by superimposing just the right snippet (in the style of a pullquote) over the magazine cover, or by putting the magazine logo prominently on the page.

press wall
Glassdoor has a shot of Love Monday’s press wall.

Kudos to LM for having such a wall. But remember: you’re modifying the piece for presentation, even by framing it, so you have freedom to do more with it than just frame individual pieces in certificate frames. Don’t forget, if there’s an electronic version, you can probably photoshop it nicely. If you’ve got a monitor/TV display in a walk-in business, that’s prime real estate for your e-poster, especially during events you’re hosting.

Cross-interview the Author of Your PR

Right back at you! If the piece was written by someone you’ve corresponded with, and they write in your industry space, interview them for your *own* media – e.g. Youtube channel (video) or blog (text interview) or podcast (audio). Post it to your blog and share it socially. If they are trying to get more connections, you can offer to write them a recommendation on their Linkedin profile too, in exchange for the interview, since the interview will actually GIVE you more insight on them as a person and a professional. Now you’re partners in a long-term fan/connection/positive relationship with more opportunities.

Turn Ordinary PR into Social PR

Many bloggers are continually looking to get the jump on trending topics. Come up with a list of topics/titles that spin the article in a *different* direction than the original, and reach out to bloggers in your own industry space. Point to the current article, and suggest they cover this as a trending topic from a completely different angle. Offer to be interviewed and help them envision the piece, if they like. You might not be a writer, but you can have a conversation. If someone said “I’d write about you, if you gave me a good idea,” that’s cheap currency. Make it proactive, and lead with your idea.

Use Your Blog Smartly Without Crushing the Search Value

Don’t copy and paste the whole article into your blog, unless you code-in a canonical link that tells search engines not to treat it as duplicate content—which can devalue your blog, defeating the purpose. But remember, posting the full text can also piss off the journalism venue. Besides, what value does it add?

Summary with link? “Can’t we write a brief, original intro and include the link to the piece, for our blog?” Everyone asks that question. Sure, you can do whatever you want. But will that have any value? It’s just more friction between the user and the content. Also, if you do it a LOT, it’s likely to be get regarded by search engines as “thin” content that mostly links out to better content—again devaluing the blog and defeating the purpose.

One off? Sure, if you’re not routinely posting thin content or content that is mostly “here’s an article elsewhere”, then a one-off or two is fine if you must. I think most of us who actually read things online feel it’s fluff content for a blog, though. Google certainly takes that attitude. It wants to be the index to discoverable links—not have your website assume that role.

Part two approach: If you’ve got writers on your marketing team, why not take an aspect of the article that didn’t get covered in depth, and write a “part two”? That takes more work than you may want, but we assume the question is not “what can we do that has little value and requires little effort?” If it is, then you’re on your own. So if your blog has a significant readership, or you’re really looking for a way to pull in your blog for another reason, consider your ‘part two’ as a way to extend and add value to a PR hit.

Part two approach
There’s the suggestion of a possible Part Two with this AppDynamics post. Spinning off the Gartner Report could be a part two.

This post originally appeared October 21, 2015 and is making its reappearance with newly added case studies.

A Similar Issue: You just made a video and you’re wondering what to do with it. See this post from November 16, 2015.

Look at you—mastering the art of PR promotion the MadPipe way. Just remember when you’re in over your head or want someone to think outside the box for your business’s marketing strategy, contact MadPipe. It doesn’t stop here. You’re going to need this kind of help on an ongoing basis, so get it now, and don’t look back.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.
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