viral marketing

Within the public relations industry, staying relevant and fresh can present an ongoing challenge for businesses looking to improve their image. Staying relevant often means tagging along with current headlines or new stories as they fit the brand, but is there such a thing as “selling out”? Absolutely — and this should generally be avoided by businesses looking for credibility from a public relations standpoint.

Viral marketing has earned a reputation for garnering quick engagement and brand visibility alongside videos or stories that have taken off in popularity. While this can be a seemingly easy way to gain some public relations traction, simply looking for the next viral opportunity is not always the best way to accomplish the goal of visibility and alignment.

Think of it this way: going viral is great — while the story is viral. But what happens once that story or video fades away and is replaced by the next big thing? Consumer attention spans are fragmented and short due to the sheer amount of content being thrown their way at any given moment. Viral marketing works, but it doesn’t last. And many brands can’t afford to throw their name behind every viral story that comes their way. Surely there is another option, isn’t there?

How can a brand ensure that it stays visible and relevant by aligning itself with current trends or stories without the “selling out” feel of viral marketing? Simply practicing news analysis can help with this relevancy goal without the short-lived idea of tacking on to a viral story.

What do we mean when we refer to news analysis? This is a simple practice. Most PR professionals follow along with the news that is relevant to their industry. However, it’s important to ensure that a professional keep abreast of the happenings in the general news, as well. For example, sporting events or holidays are often a great way for brands to further their message by tacking on with the current events.

A public relations professional who is savvy will pay attention to what competitors are doing and what opportunities their actions create. In addition, pros who monitor the current events may be able to stay one step ahead of their competition by locking on to the stories that matter first, before anyone else can get to it.

News analysis in public relations also can shed light on opportunities to make a difference in a business’ community. Community impact is one of the more powerful ways to accomplish positive PR for business. Perhaps there is a great need for aid to the homeless in a community, or maybe the neighborhood needs a clean-up of trash and debris left behind from a recent event.

Businesses can take the time to align themselves with these causes to help make a difference in the community. This goes a long way for positive public perception and also accomplishes the goal of leaving an impact and being “more than just a business”.

Simply going viral is not always the end-all, be-all answer to the common public relations question of how to accomplish visibility and relevancy. Thoughtfully analyzing the news and current events in a community can help shed light on opportunities for PR that will have a bigger or a more far-reaching and long-lasting impact.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.