Badassery Magazine March 2018 Issue22 - Page 63

T he World Wide Web has ef- fectively reshaped how we interact with both individ- uals and businesses alike. Living and doing business in the infor- mation age is unique and it often seems as if the rules keep chang- ing. Nearly every aspect of our lives has become intertwined with others through a mobile device and wireless internet connection. It is no surprise that the internet has also shifted how we view and use public relations to enhance our businesses’ brand identi- ty and engage key stakeholders. In an effort to assist our readers with leveraging the resources of public relations, we solicited the advice of a public relations expert currently working in the field. Will Jones, Public Relations and Social Media Specialist at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, was kind enough to share his perspec- tive with our readers so that you can maximize the impact of each engagement with the media. Will worked at Radio One as a market- ing professional for over 13 years. Additionally he is a Contribut- ing Writer for Hype Magazine. Will’s advice for business owners hoping to leverage free publicity as part of their marketing mix is to focus the message on the most important and relevant chunks of information. In his opinion many beginners struggle because they attempt to be and do everything. This dilutes their message and makes their efforts less effective. Will encourages entrepreneurs to approach each media engagement in the same manner that one ap- proaches an elevator pitch. Your message should be concise and straight to the point. Similar to an elevator pitch, one must con- sider its audience and what those individuals need to know in order to make the decision whether or not to publish your story. Thus if your press release is intriguing the journalist can easily make the as- sumption that their readers will want to know more. Similar to an elevator pitch the amount of time that you have to grasp the recip- ients attention is limited and thus the links provided should take the reader directly to the informa- tion they need, the pages should load quickly and they should work well on a variety of devices. The use of public relations to high- light an upcoming product launch, event or community engagement is idea, but there are times when public relations is needed to ad- dress a potentially negative situa- tion. Will’s advice to protect your brand image is to “Be timely! As- sess the situation and get in front of it.” Being upfront allows you to control the conversation and ex- press your honest intentions. As a leader admitting that you’re hu- man and not infallible makes you more relatable and approachable. Giving journalist the information they need to engage their audi- ence with your brand is an essen- tial element in converting journal- ist into brand ambassadors. Online resources such as informative videos, inspirational social media post and engagement with your customer base provides followers with more than a list of services offered. These elements shed light on the business owners why, why you are passionate about your work and why the reader should do business with your company. “Your website should work as a sales funnel, not an online bro- chure. An engaging website will keep your online visitors coming back. Strategic communications 62