How to Create a Public Relations Media Plan with @Serena Ehrlich #VCBuzz

How to Create a Public Relations Media Plan with @Serena Ehrlich #VCBuzzDigital PR is definitely not going there. Yes, it’s evolving and integrating in many more marketing areas but it’s still the most effective (and often the only) way to bring exposure to your online business.

Let’s discuss how to create an effective public relations media plan today!

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About @Serena

Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media at @BusinessWire, provides guidance for internal and external content creation and distribution services, ranging from PR programming to mobile marketing to social media updates

Connect to @Serena on LinkedIn

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

I didn’t get into marketing the traditional way. I studied propaganda in college and worked in advertising before joining ’s sales team way back in the day.

My role at put me in front of hundreds of PR, IR and marketing teams, allowing me to hear a decade’s worth of strategies, goals and tactics.

When social media first emerged, encouraged me to get a Twitter account. Once on Twitter, it became very clear that social was going to be a top marketing tool to connect brands and audiences.

I was lucky that allowed me to learn a lot about social and digital PR while in-house, but I did soon to go client-side for 6 years. That was a terrific way to learn Digital PR – by doing it!

Q2 How has been digital PR changing over the years? What are the biggest trends you’ve recently seen?

Mobile! The three biggest change agents in digital PR are mobile devices, and visual fluency. Mobile devices gave humans on-demand access to content plus the option to share what they discover across their social channels.

This is spot on. More ways to connect, but also a new language – visuals and emojis are dominating discussions today, not words.

Agreed! We used to have to let reporters take our news out to our audiences, we can now do that ourselves! Human to Human. (that said, reporters are still key, haha)

I wish I could frame this question! I don’t think digital has made anyone’s tactical work loads lighter but they have increased the impact of work dramatically!

Visuals! One huge change in is the movement from verbal to visual communications. This change has been a challenge for many orgs who still focus on producing textual content. fluency is dropping, while fluency is skyrocketing.

Opportunity! The growth of digital platforms has directly increased the potential places a customer can discover your news. Today’s PR pros must create a news amplification program in order to maximize these opportunities and increase their overall results.

Yes! It is more direct, and with a more loyal customer base, you can survive a crisis better, BUT BUT BUT – humans still trust reporters a hugely high rate so will never go away.

Q3 Keeping all the changes in mind, how to set up a successful digital PR campaign these days?

What are the top discussion themes your audiences are talking about right now, what is your competitor talking about, what are your reporter audiences writing about? Once you have this data, you can position your news so it fits into their discussions!

Once you know your industry trends and discussion topics, you need to think about your tools – how are you going to reach your audiences?

Consider all of the tools at your fingertips! PR pitching, using and extending the reach of your editorial coverage with advertising, social amplification and more.

You also have to be agile. News breaks all the time now, so you have to think about disruptions in your space or within your audience’s lives and how you can work around them.

Q4 How to develop a public relations media plan? Where does one begin and what needs to be included? Are there any templates and resources that could help?

Developing a plan is fun! Google “how to develop a PR plan” for ideas, and don’t forget to consider turning to groups like Public Relations Society of America – @prsa – they have templates, blog posts and on-demand webinars!

A good public relations plan identifies the publications that will move the needle towards your goal, the influencers in that space, your competitive set SOV and then the textual and visual content needed to achieve it.

This is key – you can start by listing out everyone who writes about you, or your competitors. And if possible, the granular themes they covered. A huge way to build a database of useful content.

The reason you need to know this, is so your PR pitches are contextually relevant to your reporters and your audiences. If everyone is talking about Green, now is not the time to talk about Yellow.

Yes, you can make your list in excel or even just create a Twitter list that you click on to see what your key journalists and influencers are discussing every day.

Q5 What are your favorite digital marketing tools you can recommend?

The keys to successful #digitaPR is in the ability to blend context and reach. So my top tools do this.

For driving context: For writing good headlines, I love Trends! Using Google Trends for headlines, it increases the context and relevancy of your news to your audience. You can learn how to do this here.

For increasing ROI: Add UTM links (they are so easy to use!) to hyperlinks in your news releases, social posts and online ads will tie your inbound traffic into your existing web analytics, allowing you to track the impact of that news on your business goals.

For increasing reach – is a great way to get your news in front of all core audiences, media outlets, analysts, social and search engines.

For increasing reach Try using your editorial coverage as ad content for and pixel ad retargeting.

I forgot to mention these kinds of tools – but yes, getting organized is key to a successful program. is great for that.

For visual monitoring: was one of the first out there to do visual search but this is now a standard offering for measurement services like and . You can also use Google’s free reverse image search tool!

is the best tool to discover what influencers are sharing content in your niche, both yours and your competitors

Many firms are using freelancers to help round out their offerings. I think focusing on how you craft the content is almost more important than writing skills. Showcasing to PR firms that you take a data-based approach to your work is a win!

And they all showcase their work and writing styles. I think PR firms would be impressed by knowing the creating written content comes from data.

Our previous public relations chats:


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