The world of communications, public relations and digital marketing is constantly changing. The trends and tactics that are working right now might not even exist six months from now (does anyone even remember Vine? Periscope?
(Yeah, I didn't think so).
There are also some tactics, that, despite growing staler and staler every year, have stuck around. Here are several things that I think us communications professionals should immediately embargo..
Using a press release as the cornerstone of your campaign
Is there anything more boring than a press release?
I really don't know. I consider press releases to be somewhat of a necessary evil.
It's a nice to have when a journalist wants more information about something you pitched, all tied up in a neat little bow.
It can also be necessary to have a press release if your company that has investors or stakeholders who expect to see information presented in a certain format.
I'm not here to tell you that the press release is dead and should disappear altogether.
Is it going to like, win you friends and influence people? No.
If you can get away with having a short and concise press release or media alert and presenting the rest of the information you want to convey in a more exciting format, it's time to start thinking bigger.
Facebook Live is a great way to deliver information to a broad audience in real time, especially if you partner with a media outlet to do it. You can also place bylined guest posts on influential blogs or websites within your industry, and share them on your social networks.
Your bosses or client might need some time to get used to shifting their mindset, but will eventually appreciate that they're no longer stuck in 1999.
Pitching desk side appointments to editors
In 2008, there was nothing I loved more than a day of desk side visits with editors.
I was working on Starbucks at the time and doing a desk side visit with an editor literally meant spending your day darting between the Condé Nast and Hearst buildings, bringing coffee and other desirable treats to some of the most influential men and women in media.
Then, this thing called 'the recession' happened, and suddenly editors were being replaced by freelancers and they lived in New Jersey and they didn't have time to listen to my pitch about gluten-free orange Valencia cake in person.
It became increasingly difficult to get in front of reporters, especially at a time when so much media was becoming digitized and on-demand.
Where PR professionals once spent their days wining and dining editors, newsrooms are stretched thinner than they used to be.
In place of desk sides, product drops can be effective for CPG companies. They require less of the editor's time and still get your product in front of the right people.
If you have something that is super visual to demonstrate, gathering a group of editors for a Skype or Google Hangout is an efficient way to get your point across without asking them to travel or give up half their day.
Relying on vanity metrics to measure your campaigns' success
Last year, I worked in-house for a technology brand with an innovate product. We worked with several different PR agencies for the different facets of our business -- I think 5 in total. Often I would hear: "PR is difficult to measure."
It may very well be hard to measure, but it isn't impossible. As a client, it was frustrating to hear that my agency partners didn't have a way to measure whether or not our efforts were successful.
In the digital age where most PR placements online, there are ways to measure the results of a PR campaign if you begin by setting goals.
Instead of solely tracking ego-driven vanity metrics like number of placements or arbitrary "impressions" set KPIs that will actually tell you if your PR efforts have an impact on your brand or client's bottom line.
If you don't know what your client or brand's goals are, it will be way harder to track success. Start by finding out what your client wants to get out of PR -- leads, sales, votes, awareness, to name a few.
Then you can set goals and systems in place to track those goals, and tweak, tweak, tweak as you go. With so many of our PR efforts now online, we can constantly optimize our work to ensure success.
If you ditch these three tired PR tactics -- press releases, desk side meetings and solely tracking vanity metrics, you'll have room in your plan for more innovative, impactful programming that will get you real results.
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.