Three PR Truths in the Era of Fake News:

The traditional media environment is feeling more chaotic than ever, and with relatively cheap and easy access to social media, it’s tempting to ignore many tried and true public relations tactics, or to forget to integrate public relations with your other marketing strategies. But doing this takes away the added punch traditional PR can bring to your marketing. Here are tips to help boost your chances for earned media opportunities and leverage the power of integration:

Know the news to make the news

It’s PR’s golden rule, made more urgent in today’s hyperactive news cycles—keeping a pulse on the day’s events is the key to finding opportunities for your brand.

I blogged about this previously, and still believe having a newsroom mentality and the agility to respond to the day’s events in real time can build inroads to media outlets and give your brand a chance to be part of a bigger story. Some examples: was there a huge storm that just passed through? An insurance agency can talk to reporters about how to file claims or make sure people have coverage for the next weather event. A tree service can discuss the best way to get broken limbs off of a property safely. A roofing contractor can discuss why a roof should be inspected to look for hidden damage. The key is to offer the reporter an expert source who can add depth to the story and tips their audience can use.

Business-to-business brands can do this too—you know the hot issues in your industry, and have experts and examples who can add depth to this breaking news. Trade publication reporters are clamoring for these sources. Helping them add to their content builds relationships so you’ll be the one they call the next time this topic comes up.

Story (still) matters

Another truth that spans both PR and marketing is the fundamental necessity of having a good story. This applies to stories you are pitching to the branded content you develop. The content team at Coca-Cola asks seven questions to determine whether they have a good story:

  1. Does it answer the “why should I care” test?
  2. Does it surprise?
  3. Does it have universal appeal?
  4. Does it generate interest?
  5. Is it new—something you haven’t seen before?
  6. Is it different from what your competition is offering?
  7. Is your content being measured?


I’ll add an additional tip here—does the story have a human element? Find the people behind the news of the day for a more compelling way to share news.

Even mundane news sharing data on a company’s performance can be “storyfied.” Do the numbers show a trend? Do they add up to something interesting (e.g., We’ve sold enough widgets to fill an NFL stadium)? Can your story ladder up to larger conversations happening in the marketplace?

Integrated marketing: A virtuous circle

During the recent Cincinnati PRSA Media Day event, the keynote speaker discussed how Taco Bell integrated its PR, marketing and advertising to tell a bigger story when launching the gordita. Instead of marketing the new product through a series of one-off tactics, the brand developed a story arc that gave the new menu offering a narrative, positioning it as a new kind of taco, teasing it as a “revolution” complete with the tagline “viva gorditas!”

The campaign drew attention on a variety of channels, elevating a simple new product announcement to something that felt more significant than a new way to combine tortillas, cheese, meat and salsa.

Ford Motor Company also integrated variety of strategies when rolling out the new Fiesta, engaging millienials on social media as “Fiesta agents,” who generated original content for the brand that generated earned media coverage, including a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest Tweet-up.

This can work for less well-known brands. Integrate your strategies, engage your internal audiences, and build a compelling narrative across many touchpoints to make your marketing and PR work together for greater impact.

Embracing the integration and PR tips shared above will allow you to elevate your marketing and make your brand a beacon of trust in a confusing marketplace.


To Make the News, Know the News: How having a nose for news can open up media opportunities for your brand

The Future of PR in the Fake News Era

Intrinzic’s Approach to Public Relations