February 23, 2012
Five PR Strategies for Building Cost-Effective Public Relations and Social Media Campaigns
By Laura Borgstede, CEO, Calysto Communications
Calysto Communications, a global public relations, media relations and social media marketing firm focused on the communications industry, just became the only PR, media relations and social media agency to ever be recognized with two Stevie Awards for its expertise in creating and executing cost-effective, low-budget public relations campaigns. To help companies with their 2012 budget planning, Calysto today is sharing five budget-conscious PR and social media strategies:
Cost-cutting Tip #1: Consider launching a focused, "project-based" PR campaign.
For instance, say your company is launching a new product in conjunction with a major trade show. You can hire an agency a few months prior to the show to help you create and distribute your announcement via a press release, pitches and social media outlets. The agency can also help you set up one-on-one briefings with media and analysts at the show.
These activities not only help your company maximize its existing investment in a trade show, they can also be an extremely cost-effective way to get your news "heard" at a show instead of spending a fortune to exhibit. In fact, depending on its scope, the cost of a project-based PR campaign like the one just described can be less than $10,000.
Cost-Cutting Tip #2: Leverage your content in multiple ways.
A few years ago, your message delivery options were limited. So if you wrote a press release, you might find a way to leverage that content in a bylined article or in your marketing materials. But that was about it. Today, thanks to the rise of social media, the same message can be delivered many different ways to multiple audiences – not only in traditional PR and marketing materials but also in a wide variety of social media communications outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs.
And sharing content in multiple ways can dramatically expand the audience you reach. According to a recent analysis by PR Newswire and Crowd Factory, each time you share a press release, it generates an average of nearly 2 click-backs to the original release, and sharing across social networks can increase your total audience by 70 percent. According to the analysis, sharing on Twitter is most effective, driving about 30 percent more press release views than sharing on Facebook.
So if you write an article that is published or send out a press release, pick the most interesting point you made and tweet it with a link to the article or release. Get permission to post the article on your Facebook page. Find a relevant blog and use the information to post a response. Or consider using some of the information to answer a question on LinkedIn Answers. Of course, these are just a few of the various ways you can distribute your content using social media.
Cost-cutting Tip #3: Don't overspend to reach a global audience.
We're living in an increasingly global world, but that does not mean that in order to support a global campaign, you must pay a bundle to hire a large agency – or hire three different smaller agencies and spend your valuable time managing them all. Today, boutique firms are increasingly offering one-stop shopping to support your global PR needs – and managing it all for you for a fraction of what it might cost to hire a large agency with fancy, expensive offices scattered across the globe.
So before you hire a large agency with global offices or hire local agencies in each region you target, ask a boutique agency if they handle in-region PR support on a country-by-country basis. Ask them if they have the flexibility to allow you to target a particular country on a project basis and others on a recurring basis. For instance, are you launching a new product or making a customer announcement in Brazil? Can you rely on your agency to manage this Latin American project AND charge you only for that project? The alternative is hiring and managing multiple agencies on your own and paying a minimum fee that might equal three months' worth of work – or paying higher fees at a larger agency.
Cost-cutting Tip #4: Insist on a VP-level team with expertise in your industry.
It may sound counterintuitive, but working with cheaper junior associates (which large agencies will often automatically place on your team) does NOT actually translate into lower PR costs for your company. At a large agency, senior-level team members usually spend hours every month bringing junior-level people up to speed. And your company gets billed for it – meaning your marketing funds are subsidizing employee training at your PR agency. In the PR world, knowledge and experience lead to quick results. A senior-level team – particularly one that knows your industry – not only is more productive, it also delivers measurable results with very little ramp-up time and no rookie mistakes.
Cost-cutting Tip #5: Hire an agency with the right tools.
If your company is currently paying a third-party for researching editorial contacts, accessing media lists or tracking social media buzz or editorial coverage, you might save money by getting these services through your PR agency. PR agencies can often obtain bulk discounts for such services for clients or may even have developed similar tools in-house.
For example, Calysto has spent more than a decade building its proprietary PR Vibes™ Media Catalyst database of more than 15,000 communications industry influencers. And that means our clients don't have to shell out $20,000 or more per year to access an often outdated media database compiled by a third party.
Laura Borgstede has been the center of public relations for the communication technology industry for more than 20 years. In the early 90s she was part of the teams that launched Nokia, Sprint Spectrum (the first digital PCS network), the first B2C mobile phone, the first "world phone," the first smartphone, the first wireless "apps," and more. She launched Calysto Communications in 1999 — the first telecom & wireless PR firm. As CEO of Calysto, Laura guides the firm's operations, business development, strategic client efforts and Calysto's long-term vision. She leads a team of more than 50 senior-level PR professionals and has directed hundreds of PR programs for her clients.