On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, OLC attended New York Tech Council’s Generating PR In An Interactive Age. Michael Schein was the moderator and the speakers at the event were: Richard Laermer, an authority on media culture and hype, who is also the author of five books. He is a frequent guest on CNN, CNBC, Fox News, NPR’s Marketplace, CNN Money.com and more; Ellie Becker, the founder and President of ER Becker Company INC., an inbound marketing consultancy serving B2B clients worldwide; and Jeff Rutherford, a senior strategist at Wise Public Relations.
Traditional marketing has been flipped on its head thanks to digital marketing. However, digital marketing is the savior of today. Digital marketers are changing the landscape and paving the way for future marketers.
Ellie Becker: I started in PR as a young person in a small New York agency. They did some work with Fortune 100 companies. I did freelance work in Philadelphia, but moved to Connecticut just before the 1987 Stock Market Crash. I started a small consulting firm, then a marketing firm. I worked with a lot of startups and small companies. I only worked with companies that were interesting and got some of them to be featured on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist and more.
In 2007, we found that our results were down. But around that time, we heard about social media and I went to seminars, workshops and met some influential people. Today, we do very little traditional PR and pitching, but that doesn’t mean I’m not in PR. The PR approach integrates performance with online aesthetics. PR is story telling, just like the internet. The internet is about authenticity and originality, just like PR.
I realized that media isn’t just simply media anymore. You can now go to audiences directly with authenticity and with confidence. Inbound marketing is different now. You push out media to the audience and they choose what they want to watch. Cold calling and snail mail doesn’t work anymore. Outbound marketing doesn’t work. People avoid it too easily. It’s the same thing for press releases. The way people disseminate news has changed. Newspapers are no longer a platform—the social sphere is. You need to reinvent how you market yourself. The marketing world is evolving every day.
Jeff Rutherford: I’ve never heard a reporter say that they’re excited to read press releases. Reporters are not writing stories generated from press releases, they’re from conversations between each other and with companies. There are ways to market yourself without hiring a marketing firm to write press releases for you.
Anyone can be a publisher. Don’t wait for the press. Content and Inbound Marketing is providing content that people search for, so what do you write about? Don’t be that annoying person you meet that only talks about themselves. Write about your industry and the business problems that you solved.
Use data within your own company for data-driven PR. You need to think about data from day one.
Richard Laermer: People forget that every single person in their company does PR. If you want to get your company out there, you need to be informed. It’s about understanding what trend you’re on. The way to get your company talking about you is through good trends. People are more interested in people, not things. If you’re a source, you need to attach yourself to topics that are most relevant to you. The objective is to distill all the topics down and disseminate it to your audience.
Every year, there’s a new thing, a new gimmick. If you’re not attaching yourself to things that you’re passionate about, you’re wasting your time! Remember that it all starts out as a local story, but you are in the archive and it will be national news.
Internal PR is one thing that people forget the most. It’s a very important aspect of your company that you need to get down to start to get your company out into the public.
Michael Schein: How do you find breaking News?
Richard Laermer: You need to be informed. About 70% of all information comes to you with you even trying. The rest—you need to learn about those topics. It’s a process. The way you connect with it is through content.
Jeff Rutherford: At some point, you have to see where you fit in with the burgeoning space. It’s being aware.
Ellie Becker: If I found myself being interested in something, there was already a trend. A lot of times, you have to give up your belief about how special you are. If you’re there, so are other people. You need to act faster than other people.