Social media is a great tool for public relations professionals to discover new opportunities and increase outreach for clients (among many other things), but it’s also a great outlet to get creative! In the public relations industry, we have to be creative on a daily, nay hourly, basis; figuring out answers to questions like:
With social media, the creative techniques that have been used in the past to answer these questions can be expanded and leveraged in new ways. This is especially true given the convergence of so many industries like public relations, marketing, and advertising, opening a wider array of opportunities and tactics to take advantage of. But when using these new tactics in terms of social media, it’s all about creativity. Whether that’s finding a way to put the point of your press release into 140 characters on Twitter, or making your article into a slideshow complete with images, it has to be done creatively to get any attention via social media.
In a recent conversation I had with Travis Fitzwater, founder of Fitzwater Enterprises, he noted that, “Social media can be pretty boring if creativity isn’t integral to a person or company’s online posts. As such, impressions are everything in today’s web environment, so if a person or company can’t hold their audiences’ attention, or impress them, with innovative, interesting, and insightful content, public relations via social media becomes obsolete.”
Travis brings up a good point regarding holding your audiences’ attention. With the onslaught of social sites and online portholes, people are now getting limitless information delivered straight to them. So what is going to make someone pick your piece of information out of the hundreds they receive each day? Ultimately, it’s the content, but in order for readers to want to get at the content, it must be presented in a snappy, creative way.
As I mentioned in my post, Using Social Media to Generate Leads, content that typically gets shared via social media is interesting, fresh, useful, and relevant to target audiences. New data, top blog posts, and funny videos are among the top things to get redistributed. Product info, free trials, or software documentation is typically not redistributed, though it can still be useful and interesting – so that’s where presenting it creatively comes into play.
So that press release announcing something about someone… who cares? You need to be able to answer the question, “why is this important?” before distributing it virally to the world. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, it’s not going to be important and people aren’t going to care, but our job is to make them think it is and they do! If I were to issue a press release announcing my 100th blog post, no one would look twice, but pulling out a bigger message and using it in a context people do care about, like generating blog traffic, might create more of a stir and get people to read my release – but it takes a little flexibility, skill, and creativity to get there.
From blog posts and Twitter updates to LinkedIn statuses and Facebook profiles, there are a multitude of outlets to brainstorm creative ways to distribute your content and keep social media working as a worthwhile PR tool.