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Combine PR with social media for powerful results
June 15, 2017 | Inga Rundquist

At MindFire, we have a little saying: “We don’t question whether marketing and PR can live together. We question how they can survive apart.”

In today’s digital and online world, a significant component of marketing is social media. By combining traditional PR tactics with strategic social media efforts, you can ignite awareness and begin to convert prospects. It’s a pretty straightforward approach that requires front-end strategic planning that pays off during implementation.

Let’s take a  look at a campaign celebrating the Putnam Museum & Science Center 150th anniversary to illustrate. The Putnam organized a a community-wide photo shoot with acclaimed photographer Tom Styrkowicz to celebrate the Quad Citians who have sustained and grown the Putnam into one of the region's most visited cultural institutions.

The portraits taken during the free five-minute sessions will be displayed in the Putnam’s Grand Lobby for the entire 150th year, and each participant received a printed copy. The images will also become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

To make the event a true celebration, the Putnam needed a great turn out. They asked us to come up with a solid and efficient strategy to get people there.

Cue PR and social media.

Our first step was a good ol’ news release. The media announcement was designed to share the details of the 3-day photo shoot with key editors in the community to propel them to share the event with their readers.

In addition, we invited key members of the media to have their picture taken during a VIP shoot that occurred just before the community photo shoot opened to the public. This was a very strategic decision. In addition to seeing the set up themselves and covering the actual shoot, we wanted media members to have their picture taken and then share it online with their followers and fans.

This approach yielded a large amount of editorial coverage and social media chatter:


To coincide with this PR push, we created a Facebook event for the photo shoot and wrote organic and paid content for the Putnam’s Facebook page. We also posted images as they became available to provide our audience with an idea of what their photo might look like.



The last piece of the puzzle was a highly targeted ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram that reached more than 90,000 people and resulted in more than 1,500 link clicks to the event info page.

As a result of this multi-faceted PR and social media campaign, our target audience saw messages about the event on multiple channels simultaneously. They were seeing TV and print stories at the same time word was spreading on social platforms.

The result for the Putnam was tremendous. Attendance exceeded the goal by 200 percent! People were standing in line (sometimes for up to three hours) to become part of the community-wide photo project.

Want to try this approach for your brand? Or want to learn more about what we did? Contact us!

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