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Maximizing PR efforts in a down market

This year is going to be a tough one if oil prices don’t start to rebound. As a support function (yes, we’re still viewed as that to many), budgets are being slashed and marketing and communication directors are being asked to do more with less — or nothing. So, what can companies do with little to no budget? And how do you show value when there are no funds to develop materials? Refer to the list below to help create momentum during a difficult year.

1. Prioritize. As it turns out, many of those big initiatives you were planning to push forward this year aren’t going to work out, so rather than place everything on hold, prioritize immediate needs over those that require more time and effort. As strategists, we would never recommend building a catalog or brochure without a PR or marketing program in place; however, if  you’re meeting an immediate need and can produce the collateral on a small budget, go for it. You can always circle back to the big picture when your budget returns to normal.

2. Get the bang for your buck. Writing a technical paper or case study can be done internally. And earned media is free, which is far less than an expensive ad or sponsorship. By creating a case study and shopping it around to industry trades, you’re providing credibility and generating value without having to spend additional dollars.

3. Think social. Social media is the easiest and best alternative to promoting a brand or individual at little to no cost. Think about LinkedIn or Facebook — if you were to buy an ad, it could cost as little as $10 a day, generating high visibility in your target markets. Consider sponsoring content to promote the case study you recently published. It’s a great way to grow your audience and position your company (or individual) as a subject-matter expert.

4. Really think social. LinkedIn and other social media platforms provide you the opportunity to grow your network, post company and industry news, etc. for free. Part of being on social media platforms is to actually be a member. Contribute to fellow colleagues, post comments and feedback and ask questions. Promote your website and company news — you’ll be shocked at the response.

5. Track, measure, analyze. Are you paying attention to website analytics? Or social media analytics? It’s a big help for companies to understand how potential and existing customers are using the company website. By reading the analytics, you’ll be able to see what users are most interested in, where they’re coming from and what keywords they’re using to find you. Understanding your analytics (a free tool) by Google allows you the opportunity to modify your PR and marketing efforts and determine what campaigns are most successful. For instance, if you discovered 20% of your web traffic came through LinkedIn, would you adjust your strategy? Would you invest more time in using and understanding the social media platform?

For more ideas on maximizing PR and marketing efforts in a down market, contact us.