Is Your Start-Up Ready For PR?

PR Blog Image


Here at 451 Marketing, we’ve worked with some fantastic start-ups over the years. The relationship between start-ups and PR teams is mutually beneficial – not only is public relations essential to the life of a growing company, but it’s exhilarating from our perspective to help a brand find its wings. But while it may seem like a no-brainer for a young company to bring on a PR agency, the decision to do so requires some soul-searching and legwork before it can be effective. (more…)

Blurred Lines: PR Industry’s New Theme Song

PR blurred lines

Last week I attended the annual Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned (PESO) Principles PR Week Conference in New York City. The impact of branded content was the theme of the day. When lines are blurred, the result can be exciting and down-right scary (Robin and Miley, I rest my case).


The four types of Media
The four types of Media


What does it mean for the PR profession as we know it, whose foundation rests on the ability to generate earned media, when we increasingly find ourselves navigating the murky paid waters of brand integrations? What does it mean for the traditional ad sales guy when companies no long have ad dollars to spend, but marketing budgets having increasing room for branded content?


In the beginning, no one internally wanted to “own” social media – that’s not MY job. Now, with the embedment of branded content in the PR toolbox, we might as well own it.


As the traditional publishing industry continues to dwindle and talented writers on the rise in the market, the time is ripe for brands to invest in producing original content. Retailers are becoming publishers, and brands are becoming lifestyles.


Ashley Brown’s success with the Coca-Cola Journey site is just one example that speaks volumes. This lifestyle page has quickly become beloved by brand enthusiasts, both satiating and inspiring their palate; to the point that Coca-Cola dissolved its corporate original homepage.

coke journey
the Coca-Cola Journey homepage


We live integrated lives; our smart phones allow us this luxury. We can shop while watching TV and eat while posting a review of the restaurant we’re at. The best brands offer a consistent experience, worldwide, through every channel from in-store to online to mobile.


It’s key to remain authentic to your brand’s voice as Coca-Cola learned the hard way. Readers of their Journey page didn’t want hard-hitting news stories full of doom and gloom. Coca-Cola is a happy, family brand and the most popular piece of content on their site to date is a recipe for Coca-Cola cake. Not surprising, right?!


But when a company pays for branded content where does ad sales leave off and editorial begin? Clearly both need to be integrated to deliver on the product sold and yet this blurs the most sacred line of publishing. VP and deputy head of strategy at News Corporation Raju Narisetti confessed that this issue and the rapid adoption of mobile content consumption are what keep him up at night. Newsrooms simply aren’t’ equipped today to handle this.


According to EVP and CMO of Target, Jeff Jones:

Mobile will disrupt the internet the way the internet disrupted business.


Seems that ad sales, marketing, newsrooms and PR professionals will all be affected by the adoption of branded content. How are these blurred lines affecting your marketing today?


Don't Panic Publicists 451 Marketing

Google Link Changes – Don’t Panic, Publicists!

Don't Panic Publicists 451 Marketing
As a publicist, hearing about Google’s updated link scheme earlier this month made me a little nervous. Basically, the search gurus at Google announced that links within press releases should all be “nofollowed” – a search term meaning that the hyperlink shouldn’t influence the target page’s ranking in search engines. The reasoning? Google equates press releases to being solely self-promotional.


I have to say that I don’t think of press releases as solely self-promotional pieces, but rather informational resource hubs. Otherwise,  I wouldn’t recommend to clients that we issue them. But, as a result of this announcement, the PR industry is in a panic trying to figure out what to do with all their links and what to link (if anything) moving forward. At 451, we have a team of search marketing pros to help us navigate through this change. I sat down with our EVP of Digital Marketing, Francis Skipper, and walked away with three main takeaways:

1. Don’t panic.
Keep doing what you’re doing. As long as you aren’t being spammy (sending out countless self-promotional releases a week) or trying to manipulate the system, you should be ok.

2. As always, link when things are appropriate and relevant.
If your release is about a new product, link to the new product. Also, don’t be scared to link people to press rooms for more information or contact purposes. Don’t link randomly just to boost your SEO value.

3. We haven’t seen any negative effects.
And we hopefully won’t,  because we don’t use spammy or manipulative tactics.

This is the philosophy we’re sticking with at 451. Obviously, if our search team notices any changes that negatively affect our work, we’ll immediately react and adjust accordingly.


What has your brand our agency done in response to Google’s announcement? Feel free to leave a comment below or tweet us @451heat or @karynmartin