Recently, we had the opportunity to hear from Erin from Osborne Northwest Public Relations about the basics of public relations and how Erin came to start her own firm. Erin always dreamed of running a business, and opened ON PR in 2015. ON PR focuses on hospitality, lifestyle, and beverage - marrying the things Erin likes in life, to read about and understand. Her advice for you is to look at what you read and enjoy and follow that because you will be doing it for a long time. By doing this, she has quickly grown ON PR into a one stop shop for creativity and collaboration working with clients like Pacific Place, the Seattle Great Wheel, and Uneeda Burger.
What is PR?
“In this hospitality industry, it is about influencing the influencer.” To do this requires understanding where the target audience is consuming their news and receiving recommendations (i.e. Instagram, Seattle Times, Washington Post). This includes creating compelling brand stories and content that influencers will want to endorse. At the end of the day, their recommendations will be more trustworthy because it comes from a third party source.
ON PR uses a media mix of:
Owned Media - social media, website, and email marketing
Paid Media - advertising, and sponsored content
Earned Media - influencer content, and editorial
Erin specifically drew out what earned media is and laid out a map for us:
Goal setting (developing plan, identifying audiences, identify the need)
Content creation and story development (finding interesting things happening)
Media relations and influencer partnerships (leveraging this to get a story told)
Tracking, reporting, and adjustment (opportunity to adjust strategy if you are not reaching the goal you set)
In terms of content creation, it is what allows one to tell brand stories across owned, paid, and earned media. Currently, the most common thing that ON PR has been writing are pitches. They are succinct in answering the question “why do I care?” and accompanied by visuals that capture someone’s attention.
Next, media relations is really what it is all about. The value that ON PR brings to clients is understanding the media, knowing the media, and holding relationships with travel writers across the country. Erin stresses that relationships are huge in the industry. Regarding influencer relations, it boomed in 2017 and has not stopped since because it is extremely impactful in every category. But there is a need to be careful with choosing an influencer as they need to be aligned with your brand or partner. The most valuable thing about having the right influencer is that there will be longer term results beyond driving business to an event.
If you are looking for an entry level job, tracking will be your bread and butter. An aspect of tracking is that at the beginning of a client engagement or campaign, a “wish list” is developed to understand what the top 10 media or influencers would be to garner the largest impact. Another aspect is benchmarking year over year growth by impressions (the reach of earned content.) This is important because it shows the value you provide to your client or organization. Resources like Cision and Coveragebook track the actual metrics that are shared with clients.