Today’s competitive world of public relations is fast-paced, runs on data, and requires nothing short…
On this month’s profile, we are talking with none other than Shama Hyder of Zen Media. She’s a trailblazing, award-winning entrepreneur who has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. Her company, Zen Media, helps tech-driven b2b companies get a seat at the table via marketing and PR.
Within this interview, we discuss all aspects of PR, marketing, digital footprints, and the integration of all three. From how the industry has changed to doing her thesis on Twitter, Shama is talking all about the best tips, tricks, and tactics for making the most out of your PR efforts.
Read below for the entire interview with Shama:
1.) You’re a TV personality, a bestselling author, the CEO of Zen Media, and so much more. What made you initially get into the PR & marketing space?
I did my thesis on Twitter when it had 2,000 users. I was laughed at for thinking social media was ever going to be more than a fad. I couldn’t get any of the companies I wanted to work for at the time to see the value, so I put out my own shingle. 15 years later, I’ve never looked back.
2.) You’re known as the “Zen Master of Marketing.” How have you seen PR and marketing change over the last 3 years?
There has been a tremendous wave of change, but I believe much more is yet to come. In many ways, our fascination with data and “measuring” everything has actually blinded us to what moves the needle. We’ve settled for measurable and efficient rather than seek out the meaningful and effective. This means while brands have figured out how to get attention, they are still struggling to get a seat at the table, and this is where we (Zen Media, a PR Agency) often come in.
3.) You’ve previously talked about “digital footprints.” What does that mean for those who may not be familiar?
It simply means that every brand has a digital presence or a footprint. The only choice is whether you want to help cultivate and craft that or have it crafted by others.
4.) What are your top tips for building a strong digital footprint?
1.) Know your audience.
2.) Deliver valuable content.
3.) Stay consistent.
5.) Can brands change their existing digital footprint? How would you recommend going about changing an existing footprint?
First begin by understanding it. Most brands don’t have a negative footprint. It’s just neutral. The problem is that when over 60% of your prospects (especially in b2b) have already made up their mind before they talk to your sales team, that’s a major problem. They are going off your digital footprint. (Source: Forrester)
6.) How do digital footprints tie into the work of PR professionals?
A digital footprint determines Share of Voice. The stronger a digital footprint, the greater the Share of Voice.
7.) How can PR pros better leverage social media in PR efforts?
There are so many levels here. By befriending journalists, doing genuine research, and understanding trends so you know how to tie your clients into what’s happening in the world.
8.) Why is PR essential to marketing and vice versa?
PR is a part of any good marketing. Most people think marketing is interchangeable with advertising but just like advertising is ONE part of marketing, so is PR. Sadly, the focus by many brands has been on advertising and not on Share of Voice. Just because advertising is easier to measure, but it doesn’t make it more effective. In fact, over time, advertising’s ROI dwindles and earned media’s ROI goes up.
9.) Are PR and marketing becoming one in the same? Why or why not?
Like everything else, it is definitely merging. Marketing’s audience is primarily prospects and customers. PR’s audience is media and investors…other stakeholders beyond your customers …but the lines are blurring today. A customer may also be an influencer. A contributor may also be an analyst. Social media means people ARE the media. It’s how information spreads in the digital age.
10.) How can PRos better work with marketers to amplify results?
Help them connect the dots. A placement only goes so far. What can marketers do with the placement? That’s where the power lies.
11.) What’s the best piece of PR advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?
Treat everyone with kindness and respect. That niche reporter today may be a Tier 1 reporter tomorrow. Be a friend to the press – regardless of what you think of their current given publication.
BONUS: You started Zen Media at 22 years old, which is incredible! What tips do you have for young entrepreneurs who may be doubting themselves?
I don’t think self-doubt is a bad thing. I hope ALL young entrepreneurs doubt themselves. False bravado doesn’t do anyone any favors. I don’t believe in fake it until you make it. I believe in WORK it to kill it.
Was I super nervous the first time I got on stage to give a keynote? Absolutely. But, I deserved to be nervous. I spoke for free for years until I felt confident that I could provide value. Today, I don’t flinch at all but not because I faked it but because I put the work into it. Self doubt is not a bad thing. Now, fear, that’s a different story. Fear is worrying about other people will think, and courage is something I hope all young entrepreneurs develop.
When it comes to PR, being purposeful in what you say and convey is the name of the game. In a recent profile, Beki Winchel broke down exactly what it means to communicate with purpose as a PRo and how that completely changes the way you preform and execute on your PR efforts.
Like this series and have a guest you think would be a good fit? Shoot us a Twitter DM or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who you’d want to see featured next! PS: you can recommend yourself too.
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