7 Steps to Integrating Social Media into a PR Campaign


desserts-barbara-rozgonyi-food-photographyStill sending out traditional news releases?

If you’re looking for ways to raise visibility, generate traffic, grow business and build an online community, integrate social media into your PR efforts.

Follow these seven steps to get started on conducting an effective public relations campaign to reach reporters, and the masses, using social media.

Why the dessert food photography image?

Each one has a distinctive flavor that reaches a dedicated group of fanatical fans. Who’s in for chocolate mousse, cannoli, fruit or Key Lime Pie? Think of your campaigns as flavor full yet small enough to digest in a few bites – like these gorgeous desserts. 🙂

1. Set Campaign Goals

Traditional PR campaign goals often include placements in target publications along with the total number of media impressions.

Search and social media news campaigns allow you to be more creative and effective.

For example, do you want to reach out to bloggers, grow your community on twitter, build a Facebook group, generate more site traffic, attract more YouTube channel viewers, raise your social media visibility profile or get better search engine rankings?

You can do all of these and still reach reporters on social networks.

TIP >>> Schedule your releases to go out at least once a month. Higher frequency positions you as a newsmaker and one to watch. And, you’ll get more opportunities to fine-tune your message and measure results.

2. Be Newsworthy

Because social media sites are searchable, every action or comment can be public.

You don’t need a press release to get noticed.

You do need to be newsworthy on a consistent basis to sustain interested attention. As you’re crafting your campaign, think about whom you want to reach and why, what problems they have that you can solve, where they spend their time online and the sources they go to for news or help.

TIP >>> For story ideas, focus on topics that relate to the specific area of expertise or business service you want to grow or highlight. Now think about why and how your stories need to be told. How can you tie into trends or national events? Look at stories in the news now and find connections to what you do.

3. Target Media

Who do you want to tell your story?

Do you already have a media list that includes newspaper, trade publication, magazine, radio and TV reporters? Great.

Now, find the reporters and their media outlets on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter.

TIP >>> To expand your coverage, include bloggers and community sites in your niche. To find them, search for niche + blog, niche + community and niche + forum. If you have more than one area of expertise, for example young couples and entrepreneurs, segment your media list by contacts that cover each niche.

4. Make Connections

Check out each reporter, media outlet, blogger and community to make sure that their audience would be interested in covering your stories.

Look for reporters that write stories that match your topics.

For example, business reporters cover different stories than lifestyle reporters. To connect on social networks, send a personal introduction request with a mention of the reporter’s work and let them know you are a resource in the area of your chosen expertise. If you have more than one area of expertise, match your message to the media.

TIP >>> Targeting bloggers? Comment on their posts and find out who’s who in their community. Get to know each media contact personally. It’s better to have a small intimate group than a large email list with no relationship.

5. Craft Search and Social Releases

A search and social media release differs from a traditional press release in these important ways:

  • Keyword search terms help readers find your news faster
  • Images and video add dimension to the story
  • Key points break up the content and underscore main ideas
  • Built-in sharing options allow news to spread easily and quickly online.

TIP >>> To transform a traditional press release with search and social elements, add key search terms, summarize the news in the first paragraph with a call to action, add on links, include images and video and route distribution through share-enabled channels.

6. Distribute to Share

Now that your social media release is ready to go, you can get the word out in a variety of ways.

Set up an online newsroom to post the releases on your site or blog with an RSS feed option to automatically update subscribers.

Choose a free or paid distribution service to send your news to search engines, wire services and industry-specific RSS feeds. Popular paid services include PR Newswire, PRWeb and MarketWired. The higher your investment, the more detailed the statistics and reports.

TIP >>> Reach out to media contacts and send a tweet with a link to your release. Leverage your company’s network connections by sharing the release and the link on your company’s social profiles sites.

7. Measure Results

Go back to your campaign goals and see how your results measure up.

To see how your release performs on search engines, enter your key terms.

Type the release headline in the search bar to see what sites picked it up. With social media, set up a search term, called a hashtag, to group results across channels. For twitter results, use TweetReach or Topsy to track your hashtag’s reach by twitter user.

TIP >>> To check out mentions across multiple social media channels, check out Social Mention. For more ways to measure, check out this presentation on low cost social media and PR measurement tools. 

How do you integrate social media into your PR campaigns?

About Barbara Rozgonyi

Barbara Rozgonyi publishes WiredPRWorks.com and directs CoryWest Media, an integrated social media marketing and PR firm. As Social Media Club (SMC) Chicago’s founder, Barbara is a recognized spokesperson for brands, bloggers and the social media marketing PR industry. Barbara invites you to join the Wired PR Works community on Facebook or to contact her regarding interviews, partner promotions or speaking engagements at 630.207.7530.

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