PR and Improving your Bottom Line
How are PR firms still staying at the top when working with clients and getting them editorial coverage?
It’s an interesting field right now. With the rise of some really reputable online media outlets and influencers not tied to any particular traditional media parent, this is definitely a balancing act.
You have to be smart about timing your outreach and where you’re targeting. Spread it out, offer the right stories to the right reporters, but don’t forget the smaller, up and coming outlets too. Maybe the little guys don’t get to break the news, but give them something to make their stories special too. In a year from now, they could be the next big influencers.
PR isn’t just about existing relationships with journalists – a huge part of it is being able to give them the tools they need to create a great story. If you put together the right pitch for the right journalist, the opportunity for coverage should be there.
What are the pros and cons of PR versus advertising?
A successful PR campaign carries a lot of weight. There’s a level of trust with editorial. For example, when you read Newsweek, Women’s Health, Wired, and Men’sJournal or see things on your local news, you’re gathering information from what you consider trusted sources.
I am a big believer in advertising. Well-produced ad campaigns have real value. When I hear from someone that “advertising didn’t work” for them, I have to wonder if maybe it was the overall campaign strategy.
Advertising has more than a few solid selling points for marketers. You get to control the message and you can repeat that message as frequently as you have the resources for. Just throwing images on a page with some copy and website isn't necessarily going to do anything except take some resources out of your marketing program.
PR allows for repetition of message as well, but in a different way. If a particular magazine covers your company’s new tennis racquet in April, they’re most likely not going to do another story on it in May. But that’s where a strategic, well-thought-out campaign comes into play. Maybe that same magazine will cover your hot new player in their next issue, and they’ll talk about or show the racquet. A similar magazine or national newspaper could cover that same racquet in the same month, followed by some online coverage in leading outdoor websites. The racquet brand’s message is being repeated, but in a different manner than a controlled ad campaign.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”