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How to Move Public Opinion in a Digital Age Using Online PR

by Jessica Seward, Marketing Manager, Salsa Labs

It’s great to get your latest success or ongoing campaign in front of your existing supporters, but sometimes you need to do a little bit more to gain attention for your support or cause. For years, public relations (PR) outreach has been an inexpensive way for many nonprofit organizations to do just that.

But the days of relying on a trusty press release and a direct line to the editor’s desk to gain attention for your cause and inspire action are long over. Today, online technology, in particular, has dramatically changed how we distribute and access content. Information flows digitally and it flows quicker than ever. Attention spans are shorter and the challenge of educating, motivating and mobilizing the public is getting harder than ever.

In short, public opinion is not easily moved. Potential supporters are harder than ever to reach, and with all the noise are often more likely to tune out than tune in.

That’s not to say PR is not effective – but the landscape has clearly changed.

In this new world of digital media, what PR is and isn’t can be blurry at times. Are bloggers media? Which media channels make the most sense to target with your message? Do press releases help? What about social media, how does that fit in?

These are questions we are hearing more and more from our clients – particularly those without an agency or dedicated media person on staff.

So here’s what we did. Earlier this year, we sat down with a client, the Solar Energy Industry Association, and learned about some really cool ways they were using Salsa to manage their online media program. From here, an idea was born – let’s share their story.

So we teamed with Jamie Nolan, SEIA’s press officer and communications manager, and Leah Wilkinson of WilkinsonShein Communications for a hugely popular webinar that provided a step-by-step guide to using PR in an online age.

If you missed the webinar or need a re-cap, you can view the on-demand version here. Here’s a summary of what we covered:

  • How PR can take your media engagement and supporter outreach efforts to the next level – starting with the basics for newbies and then the more advanced tactics
  • How online tools – i.e. Google Hangouts, online and Social CRM, etc. - can help you take control of the data at your fingertips for successful media engagement
  • Targeting and measuring your PR efforts for maximum benefit
Topics: Strategy