Customers are inundated with ads and marketing messages everywhere they turn. In fact, it has been estimated that the average American sees between 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. Competition is also stronger than ever and consumer trust in the media and business messaging is continuing to decrease year after year.
According to Edelman’s report, in 2018, the media was the least trusted institution. This means that the general public had very little trust in journalists, branded messaging, and other publishers.
Clearly, businesses that want to convert customers and increase brand awareness need to have a plan in place to ensure that their content stands out. As a B2C entity, your PR strategy is a crucial building block to increasing consumer trust, which leads to conversions, loyalty, and advocacy. Let’s discuss some strategies and tips that can help your PR team hit the nail on the head with your customers.
1. Use Timely Data
Good data is the key to relevancy and effective targeting in PR. You need to know who your customers are, where they will best receive your PR messages, and what types of content are going to perform best. Creating your own datasets of customer behavior through your website and social media channels is the best method because it ensures that your PR content is specially curated for your specific audience.
It is important that your datasets are constantly updated and re-evaluated to ensure that any changes are accounted for. Be sure that you are keeping track of your website’s metrics and social media analytics to help identify the demographics of your audience and their behavior. Many website platforms now come with built-in analytic reporting, so you can curate custom reports on your Instagram followers and Facebook audiences (most popular B2C networks) directly through a business account.
Be sure that your PR team is also keeping an eye on any emerging trends that could guide your content with timely updates to their datasets. Pinpointing sudden increases in purchases, views of popular products, or emerging customer segments could be quite useful for a timely PR content piece.
2. Understand the Customer’s Top Pain Points
One of the trickiest parts of PR is simply knowing what to talk about. Although understanding the preferences of your audience through timely data can certainly help, it doesn’t provide a clear answer of the subjects that are going to interest your customers the most.
But content creation doesn’t need to be a guessing game. According to Clutch’s report on content marketing’s influence on consumer behavior, the majority of customers are likely to engage and seek out further information about a company when its content is “useful and valuable”- rather than biased or sales focused. Use your customer’s biggest problems as a content guide to create media content that is highly relevant. Talk about pressing issues in the industry, or research the questions that your audience is searching through keyword research to identify common problems – of which you can provide solutions and answers to.
Since the ultimate goal of PR is to promote your brand and create a positive reputation, creating meaningful content that is relatable to your audience is a smart move. Make your focus on the problem and the solution, as well as its impact on your customer, rather than just talking endlessly about how great your brand or product is.
3. Segment Wisely
Understanding who exactly makes up your audience is vital for PR teams. However, it is also essential that this information is not just a generalization. Proper segmentation of the subsets and niche groups that comprise your customer base is essential for truly effective PR messaging.
The key to segmentation is finding where you can create relevant, significant, and unique separations within your audience. It can be fairly broad, such as age groups and location, but it is generally better to get more specific. For instance, you could target returning customers that used mobile devices to purchase or 20-somethings that follow similar social media accounts.
In order to start creating PR strategies that are designed to reach your segments, you need to ask questions like:
- Where are these segments consuming media the most?
- What types of content mean the most to them?
- Where do influencers and micro-influencers fit in with these segments?
As you find the answers to these questions, you can then adjust your PR messages to match up accordingly. Make sure that your groups are sizeable enough for your efforts to be worthwhile, but specific enough to create unique content that speaks directly to them.
4. Edit, Edit Some More, and Edit Again
A PR team’s work is never done. There is no definitive answer for the type of strategies and content that will work best for any specific business. That being said, PR specialists must be able to examine their work under a microscope and edit to perfection. Now, this goes beyond spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. A PR specialist must be able to interpret the message’s meaning from multiple audience perspectives and adjust as needed to reach the ideal solution.
While the basic principles of PR certainly provide some guidance, your team must always be ready to adjust and change if something is not working. Your audience is just as unique as your business, so some methods are going to work better than others. Be willing to experiment, adjust, and change things up until you identify what works best for your brand. Always remember, a PR specialist needs to be open to change, quick to adjust, and extremely detail-oriented.
In today’s digitally-driven marketing age, having a strong PR strategy is critical for reaching your audience. It’s tougher than ever these days for brands to build trust and gain visibility, so businesses must tweak their PR messages to properly target their audience base and see fruitful results.
The best practices that B2C PR teams should follow are to use relevant and recent datasets, keep the content’s focus on the customer, understand how to separate segments for better targeting, and knowing that there is always room for improvements and changes. By keeping these tips in mind, your PR content will go much further and establish a positive reputation that leads to happy customers.