Break Through the Noise: 5 Hacks to Boost Your Public Relations Efforts in a Noisy Digital World The digital age of marketing is saturated with ineffectual marketing asking for your attention and failing to make an impact. Follow these effective public relations hacks to stand out from the crowd.

By Paul Fitzgerald

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When businesses want to expand, they constantly buy up advertising space hoping to capture the audience's attention. But, when this is done without an effective public relations strategy, money and resources are wasted.

Many business owners fall into the trap of chasing the latest advertising trends and neglect the groundwork necessary for a successful advertising campaign. Targeted advertisements on popular social media platforms have benefits, but their effectiveness is wildly overestimated.

According to Harvard Business Review, the effectiveness of Facebook ads is overestimated by 4,000%, and the success of eBay ads is overestimated by up to 4,100%. Targeted social media advertisements can end up circulating to the same group of potential customers to the point of annoyance. Regardless, this is an increasingly popular strategy among businesses.

So how can your public relations efforts break through the noise?

Related: Is Your Brand Ready for Public Relations and Press?

Start small, be patient and trust the process

Generating buzz for your business may start by securing coverage in smaller news publications, like trade-centric publications or the local news. This is a form of earned advertisement, meaning news outlets are reporting on your business based on its merits and newsworthiness. Capturing this earned advertising is essential. It saves spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising and it has a snowballing effect on future coverage.

If the news angle of your company's story has been successfully crafted, more and more coverage will be generated without spending a dime. With this method, your company's content is more powerful and substantive.

Maintain a firm relationship with your public relations team

To capture your business's newsworthiness, you must maintain a relationship with your public relations firm. Public relations firms excel at storytelling and have a unique method of generating lots of coverage.

For instance, marketing yourself as "customer-focused" is generic. It is a practical value to convey to your customers, but it's not the hook that will generate coverage. A good hook may be something hyper-specific that sets your business apart from others. Maybe that hook is entirely new, ties into a current news angle, or perhaps driven by a personal "human interest" story. A good relationship with your public relations firm allows you to finesse the idea.

Related: 5 Things to Look for in a PR Agency

Be involved and communicate your desires

Communicate your desires and concerns openly with your public relations team. An excellent public relations writer has no ego and works for their client. They may lend advice for or against an idea based on their experience of what works, but ultimately, the client has the final say. Together you will find an angle that represents your brand and generates coverage.

Success in your relationship with your public relations firm depends on your involvement. Business leaders should remain engaged and involved with the process to facilitate the success of their vision. Touch base with your public relations firm frequently to check the status, discuss strategy, or express concerns. If you are too busy with other business areas, assign a staffer the responsibility. Be open with your firm and express everything that may be relevant to finding the news angle. This will help them find the story you were not expecting.

Set targets

Business leaders should identify their expectations and set clear and achievable targets. This may be done at the beginning of the relationship with the public relations firm, or perhaps it is discussed at an annual meeting. Having a communication strategy for every audience you wish to reach is essential.

Targets should be set in straightforward terms with the public relations team. Once goals are established, short-term targets can be identified as quarterly or monthly plans. Ensure the necessary resources are allocated to hit targets. A results-based strategy with attainable milestones is a great way to promote and measure success.

Related: The 5 Golden Rules of Goal-Setting

Have a press kit

Finally, businesses will want to ensure they have all essential information available for use for their public relations team. Companies should create an electronic press kit that is available on their website. If a reporter is researching the company and can't find the necessary information, they could miss out on potential coverage.

An electronic press kit should include a list of services or products, company history, executive biographies and headshots, downloadable company logo files and any images or videos you wish to make available. In the digital age, your company's website is the primary public-facing impression made on potential customers, investors and media. Make sure your brand is effectively represented.

The digital world of marketing is crowded and noisy. A public relations strategy is the difference between going unnoticed among endless content and getting someone to stop and click. Follow these steps with your public relations firm to break through the noise and create memorable and effective impressions for your brand.

Paul Fitzgerald

Founder and CEO, Salt & Pepper Media Inc.

Paul Fitzgerald is the CEO of Salt & Pepper Media. He is also a technology and business journalist in the U.S. and Canada. He is nearing completion of his PhD in communication sciences.

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