The most effective public relations campaigns combine compelling messaging with timely news hooks to deliver relevant and engaging stories that impact editors, reporters and readers/listeners/viewers alike. The campaigns are authentic to the organization’s brand and break through the often-cluttered news landscape by putting the right story in the hands of the right reporter and media outlet at the right time. Whether you are developing a new PR plan or revamping your existing public relations strategy, keep these considerations top-of-mind to maximize the effectiveness of your approach.
Consistency is key
Consistency encompasses both the frequency at which news is distributed and the messaging that comes from the organization. Your mission, vision, unique selling proposition (USP) / unique value proposition (UVP) are the core of your brand and it is important to reinforce that messaging with clarity and conviction in all communications.
When crafting press releases, ensure the organization’s boilerplate is up-to-date. When penning bylined articles and guest columns, ensure the perspective conveyed is in-line with that of the organization whom the author represents. If you’re doing a TV morning show to promote an event, be sure the core message points match the messaging you are sharing in email marketing, social media updates and across other event marketing channels.
Consistent messaging is paramount to minimizing brand confusion and a consistent frequency provides optimal opportunity to inform without overwhelming. It also helps to build relationships with key media, which can help to pave the way for opportunities to be quoted in timely news stories and enhance expert positioning.
Quality trumps quantity
While public relations programs are most effective when a consistent media drum beat is maintained, it is critical that quantity doesn’t overshadow quality. A quarterly guest column from your CEO that is thought-provoking and actionable often yields greater returns than contributing a higher volume of content with less strategy and creativity behind it.
When outlining your PR plan be realistic about what frequency of content is realistic for your organization to create and share – be it with internal resources and/or the support of a public relations agency. Making a big splash at the start of the new year may help to temporarily raise brand awareness, but dropping of the radar thereafter may minimize the impact of this initial wave of press coverage. Consider the various approaches you can take to sharing news and thought leadership – press releases, pitches, bylined articles, speaking engagements, etc. – and identify which are best suited to the news you have to share the PR goals you are looking to accomplish. Then, it’s time to prioritize those items based on ongoing bandwidth for execution.
Doing your homework pays dividends
Do you enjoy receiving SPAM emails? I’m not just talking about emails generated by a robot that clearly were not generated from a credible source. I’m also talking about emails that were sent with good intentions but clearly landed in the inbox of the wrong audience.
Similar to how we, as consumers, often don’t take kindly to emails that have no relevance to us, reporters aren’t looking for a deluge of off-topic emails to fill their already packed inboxes. As mentioned earlier in this post, you want to put the right story in the hands of the right reporter at the right time. You don’t want to tell the local health reporter about your new widget to reduce household energy consumption and it’s highly unlikely that the local food reporter will report on your multi-million dollar redesign of a local office park. You need to be a good student and study the media you want to cover your company or cause. This will help to hone the topics of your press releases, angles of your PR pitches and concepts for contributed columns. This targeted approach will increase your brand impressions, grow your share of voice and generate a wealth of high-quality media coverage that can be shared widely across various sales and marketing channels.
You aren’t the only company or cause with news
It’s been said countless times on this blog – nearly every individual, company and cause is creating content. The key is to make your content stand out in a cluttered marketplace.
While sharing routine news items with media – new hires, new facilities, program expansions, company milestones, etc. – is important for keeping your organization on the radar of both reporters and their readers, sharing high value news items that set oneself apart from the competition is key to amplifying your PR success.
When laying out your company’s public relations plan consider how you can leverage what makes your organization unique to deliver a story to your target media that jumps off the page or leaps off the screen. Think stories that demonstrate clear, meaningful impact, news that defies a commonly held belief or market trends, and story angles that showcase the best kept secrets you wish more people knew about.
A great public relations program is far from a one hit wonder. While a cover story in a widely read mainstream media outlet can bring a company high value, one impression doesn’t lay the foundation for continued press coverage and cementing one’s expert position in the marketplace. As you plan and hone your ongoing PR and media relations program, remain committed to quality, embrace creativity and take advantage of opportunities to take your brand awareness and expert positioning to the next level.