Patrick Brightman - 11/20/2020
Looking to optimize your PR campaign? Here are five steps to build an effective brand message and secure editorial placements in targeted media.
Public relations, aka PR, serves an invaluable role within a brand’s marketing mix. The nature of PR creates the forum for education, thought leadership, and positioning. That is because PR has the cache of earned media that carries an invaluable third-party endorsement.
For companies to get the greatest return on investment (ROI), PR campaigns need to be optimized. By that, I mean securing desired editorial placements – in terms of tone, type, and outlet – that will raise and improve the perception of a brand within its target audiences.
Looking for methods to maximize your PR campaign? Read on.
Craft Compelling Messages
How do you want prospects, customers, employees, and surrounding communities to think of you? Are you an innovative technology company with a proprietary IP? Do you use only organic ingredients and/or have non-GMO CPG brands? Do have a social conscious that leads you to support, volunteer, and establish worthy causes? Will you put the customer first by offering guarantees and unprecedented customer service?
Finding the answers to these questions helps develop a company’s unique selling proposition (USP). This cannot be done in a vacuum, however. Understanding what makes you different than competitors and conveying those benefits is how to truly develop a brand DNA. A seasoned PR team can ask the proper questions and conduct the necessary research – both internal and competitive – to make that determination.
With that knowledge, PR pros can develop the proper brand messaging. Typically, it will be short, concise, and have no more than three key takeaways. This approach will ensure that the messages resonate with the target audiences so they retain the brand essence. Proper tone and vernacular must be used, so your benefits do not fall on deaf ears.
Media Train Spokespeople
Once you have crafted compelling messages, your spokespeople must effectively convey them in any situation. That’s where media training comes into play. Even the most articulate orator can use some pointers on how to seamlessly weave those key takeaways into an answer to nearly any question.
A comprehensive media training program does more than instruct spokespeople how to respond to questions most effectively. Video recording mock interviews can help determine improvements that can be made in appearance, such as hand or leg movements that may distract a viewer and posture. They will also highlight nuances in speech, language, and inflection that may need to be enhanced. Improvements in these areas can also be used in public speaking settings to ensure brand integrity in any scenario.
Know Your Target Media
All placements are not created equal, especially in today’s media. Editorial coverage in outlets that are frequented by your target audience are immensely more valuable than those that appear in other broadcast, print, and digital media.
To that end, an effective PR campaign includes a thorough evaluation to determine the outlets that will bring the most “bang for the buck.” Impressive numbers related to circulation, website visitors, listeners, and viewers are not most important. Determine the outlets that carry the most weight with your target audience. For example, placements in websites, broadcast stations, and in print that are trusted and frequented by your target audience have much greater value than those that have large overall audiences.
Another criterion is the type of stories being posted, published, and broadcast. Understanding the editorial mission of the outlet will help craft a message that will secure placements. The same pitch cannot be used for all media. PR teams will have a proverbial finger on the pulse of the reporters they are contacting, which will result in more effective coverage.
There is another factor that must be considered, as well. Securing placements with backlinks on websites with high Domain Authority (DA) will benefit the search engine ranking of a company’s website. Taking this approach will support a brand’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and help improve organic rankings on targeted search engine results pages (SERPs).
Collaborate with Editors
It takes more than determining the proper outlets, though, to have a successful PR campaign. Public relations is not a one-way street. Understanding the needs of the reporters, producers, editors, et al is invaluable. Time must be spent upfront researching the topics and beats they cover and how it fits in with your story.
Media relations teams need to pitch the right person. Having existing relationships with media professionals helps immensely determine the editor who will be most receptive, especially in the current climate. Those contacts are built over time and are the result of consistently delivering the materials a reporter or producer need by their stated deadline.
Taking such a collaborative approach is what pays the most dividends (i.e. placements). Savvy media relations pros view a pitch and press release as a conversation starter, not something that necessarily must deliver an immediate placement. By talking – and listening – to reporters, opportunities will continue to come.
Adapt to Media
Because you listen and collaborate, you will need to be flexible. A pitch and story idea might be solid but the timing may not be right for an editor. Successful PR teams sometimes put their story ideas on the back burner and discover what the editor needs currently. Determining how to meet that immediate media request will lead to a successful campaign. Plus, it will help nurture the relationship, so when you revisit that original pitch, the chance of the editor being receptive increases.
By listening and collaborating, you can adjust your program accordingly and secure the long-sought placements in the desired outlets. Because the proper messaging has been developed and the spokesperson can weave it into the opportunity, the placement becomes all that more powerful.
If you are looking to optimize your PR campaign, let’s talk. We can help you achieve your goals. Send me an email or call me at 973.224.9224.