How to Make your Public Relations, Social Media and Content Marketing Campaigns More Cost-effective

How to Make your Public Relations, Social Media and Content Marketing Campaigns More Cost-effective

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In today’s information-overloaded world, getting your company’s message heard is challenging. That’s why stretching your public relations and marketing budget is more important than ever before.

It’s also why 87 percent of telecommunications industry PR and marketing executives say that cost is a big factor in selecting a PR firm, according to a recent survey conducted by Calysto Communications and market research consultancy iGR.

Below are seven ways to spend less and get more from your PR and marketing activities:

Cost-cutting Tip #1: Don’t Pay Gold Prices for Pewter PR

Are you considering paying top dollar to hire a large agency to do your public relations and marketing work? Don’t. Here’s what the large agencies will tell you: “We might cost more, but you’re getting a team filled with experts.”

Here’s the truth: What you’re really getting is low-level associates doing your day-to-day work. And if you’re lucky, the senior executives might show up for a strategy session or two.

The smaller your budget is, the less time the senior associates will spend on your activities. Because you’re the small fish in a very big pond…

Not to mention the fact that junior associates don’t have enough industry knowledge to effectively create, distribute or pitch your message to media, analysts or your customers. So if want a PR team that knows your market space – and 99 percent of survey respondents think that’s critical – then don’t rely on a team with too many junior level associates.

You’ll get a lot more bang for your marketing buck by working with a boutique agency, where senior-level executives are heavily involved in the day-to-day activities that support your public relations program.

Not only do senior-level executives understand your business, they can do in two hours what it takes others five hours to complete. That’s the kind of efficiency that only comes from experience.

Plus their relationships with media can lead to efficiencies as well. And that brings us to the second cost-cutting tip…

Cost-cutting Tip #2: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Industry Relationships – and Traditional PR

The next time you have a message you want heard over the noise, consider hiring a PR agency with the right media relationships. And pay them to do some good old-fashioned pitching.

Because getting your story covered by the right publication can help it “go viral.” That in turn can help your company generate sales leads, improve your SEO and drive traffic to your website.

Consider this: When Calysto worked with an Associated Press reporter to secure an AP story for one of its clients, that one story generated more than 300 additional stories within 24 hours.

As a result, the news reached more than 510 million subscribers and/or unique monthly online visitors in just one day – and drove a rush of new visitors to the client’s website. In fact, just three of those 300+ stories generated more than 600 page views on the client’s website only 16 hours after the announcement was made.

Another Calysto client, RACO Wireless, credits the company’s highly successful PR program for the 300 percent sales growth the company has achieved year after year.

“The media coverage that Calysto Communications secures for RACO Wireless drives a significant percentage of our sales leads. Thanks to Calysto’s efficiency and its ROI-based approach to PR, our public relations investment has paid for itself many times over,” says John Horn, CEO of RACO Wireless, a Calysto client.

Of course, if you have a great message to deliver, then you should do much more than pitch it. You should also…

Cost-cutting Tip #3: Repurpose Your Content in a Dozen (or More!) Different Ways

Especially in public relations, content is king. But its kingdom is a lot larger than it was 10 years ago. Thanks to the rise of social media, your company can now deliver the same message to many different audiences – via not only traditional PR and marketing materials but also via social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs.

Surprisingly, though, many telecom executives aren’t taking full advantage of the opportunity to reuse their content. Only 57 percent of executives in the Calysto/iGR survey said they were leveraging their content marketing pieces across their PR and social media platforms.

Even those companies that were repurposing their content were only reusing it a few times. Thirty-nine percent of the survey respondents said they were only repurposing their content across one or two different channels. Just 18 percent were using it more than five times.

So the next time you have some great content to share, consider:

  • writing a white paper
  • turning your white paper into a press release,
  • modifying that white paper to create a slideshare presentation,
  • embedding that slideshare into a blog post,
  • turning that blog into a post on LinkedIn and Facebook,
  • sharing a link to that post in Twitter (complete with hashtag),
  • And much more.

Of course, sharing your content across multiple PR and social media channels can dramatically expand the audience you reach, and so can the next cost-cutting tip…

Cost-cutting Tip #4: Use These Simple Tricks to Get More People Reading Your Content

By following just a few simple guidelines, you can also dramatically increase how many people actually read your company’s communications.

Consider this: According to an analysis by PR Newswire and Crowd Factory:

  • Each time you share a press release, it generates an average of nearly 2 click-backs to the original release
  • Sharing across social networks can increase your total audience by 70 percent
  • Sharing on Twitter is most effective, driving about 30 percent more press release views than sharing on Facebook

You can also get your message out there by making it easy for others to share it. For instance, websites that display Twitter sharing buttons get seven times more social media mentions than sites that do not, according to an analysis by BrightEdge.

And adding multimedia to your content can increase its reach as well. PR Newswire found that press releases that include multimedia generate almost 10 times more visibility than press releases that don’t.

Adding a photo nearly doubles a press release’s visibility, while adding video results in more than 4 times as many views.

Measuring statistics like visibility and new sales leads are a critical part of making sure your PR and social media activities are paying off. And that brings us to cost-cutting tip #5…

Cost-cutting Tip #5: Tie Your Marketing Activities to Your Business Goals

Tying your marketing activities to your business goals sounds like a no-brainer. But it’s shocking how many companies throw money at public relations, social media and content marketing with no idea of the return they’re getting on their investment.

That’s why it’s important to first understand the business goals you want to achieve with your communications. Case in point: Instead of just throwing money at social media, one Calysto client asked for a plan to help it use social media to drive more traffic to its website.

Instead of completely reworking its social media strategy, the client chose to focus instead on improving its content on Twitter and LinkedIn. The result: Twitter and LinkedIn now drive eight times more traffic to the client’s website.

The cost: Around $5,000 total. And speaking of spending money to reach specific goals…

Cost-cutting Tip #6: Ditch the Monthly Retainer

Want to ditch the monthly PR retainer? You’re not alone. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents said they would prefer another payment model for public relations other than the monthly retainer.

If you’re among the 79 percent that would like to ditch the monthly retainer, consider hiring an agency that lets you have a flexible “consumption-based” budget. This allows you to increase and decrease your public relations and social media activities as needed each month. After all, why pay for what you don’t need or use?

This can apply to domestic as well as international activities. Ask whether the PR firm you’re considering handles in-region PR support on a country-by-country or regional basis. Because sometimes you may want your news to make a big splash in Asia but not Europe.

And finally…

Cost-cutting Tip #7: Double Down Your Budget on a Few Key Trade Shows

Why not eliminate traveling to one trade show this year and spend more on the ones you do attend? If you designate more dollars to spend on PR and social media activities surrounding the shows you do attend, you might be surprised at the payoff.

For instance, consider timing a new product launch to coincide with a major trade show. You can hire an agency a few months prior to the show to help you create and distribute your announcement via a press release, pitches and social media outlets. The agency can also help you set up one-on-one briefings with media and analysts at the show.

One Calysto client did this – and got 10 times more traffic from Tier 1 service providers compared to the previous year – even though attendance during the second year was lower.

These activities not only help your company maximize its existing investment in a trade show, they can also be an extremely cost-effective way to get your news “heard” at a show instead of spending a fortune to exhibit. In fact, depending on its scope, the cost of a project-based trade show PR campaign can be less than $10,000.

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