Going Beyond the Mentions: What Social Media Means to the PR Pro

December 5, 2017 Lacey Miller

If you ask most people to describe the job of a PR practitioner, they will most likely focus on the PR Pro’s role in interacting with the press and getting reporters to say good things about the brand. That’s an undoubtedly important part of our jobs, but smart and effective PR practitioners know that is only the beginning. Positive mentions are great, but they signify the transition to the next phase of your work, not the end of it.

Why? News has a short shelf life, and even the best mention from a well-ranking publication will slip down the page quickly. That’s a shame because 85% of people say that articles, blogs, reviews and other third-party content are the most influential when deciding what to buy, according to Forbes.  That means you can’t afford to let your hard-earned media mention wither on the vine. You need an evergreen strategy for keeping it front and center. You need to be an expert at leveraging, and measuring social media amplification. Although marketing teams leverage (or should leverage) social media, PR needs to be an integrated part of the social strategy. Here’s how.

Dig into the Data

Most brands share their positive mentions on social media a time or two, but news comes at people fast, and they most likely don’t notice every story that hits their feed. That’s why social amplification is not a one and done event. To know how you should use your resources to really push a particular story and keep it popping up over time, you need to understand what works for your audience. Can you point to data that shows which social channels are the most popular with the people you are trying to reach? What types of content get the most engagement? Where do industry influencers hang out? You should look not only at the past results of your own content and earned media mentions, but dig into those of your competitors as well. Is there a particular article or owned content asset that outperformed the typical post? All of these questions will lead you in the best direction to get a big bang out of your mention and amplification efforts.

Elevate Interest

An essential tactic for keeping content evergreen is changing it up a bit. You don’t just want to post the same tweet over and over. Instead, change it up a bit to see if you can increase the number of people who click or share. Try a different headline or come out the story from a new angle. Maybe you pull out a quote from the piece or drop the name of an expert. Changing up the image in the post is also a good idea. (Fun fact: tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without.) Finally, is there something going on in the news that is fresh and relevant to your brand or mention? Newsjacking can be incredibly useful.

Measure and Analyze Results

As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” We don’t see PR that way. An effective PR strategy has well-defined, measurable goals with an eye to proving a positive ROI for the investment in PR. That’s why it is important to measure the impact of your social amplification on goals such as website traffic, lead generation, audience engagement, reach, and ideally revenue. Too often we see PR folks measuring social media by outputs (number of tweets, etc.), rather than by what matters, which is outcomes. This is the difference between measuring quantity and quality. Be clear at the outset that your goal is to keep a mention that performed well initially paying dividends for as long as possible. 

Begin Again

This whole discussion has been about leveraging an earned media mention, but we would be remiss not to note that your results on social media should inform which journalists and publications you target for future stories as well. If you find that a particular piece of content really sparked interest and engagement, then you know right where to send your next pitch. It may be worth offering an exclusive or a preview if you can predict high-quality engagement based on past results.

Social media amplification of favorable brand mentions doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many social publishing tools available and PR analytics software to help you understand your results and how you stack up against your competitors. Whatever tools you use, be sure to capitalize on each opportunity to get your story shared far and wide.

About the Author

Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.

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