There are many things that are indicative of a strong public relations agency, but one of the telltale signs is the number of years they have kept their clients. Similar to having an employee for years, agencies strive to have clients for years, but what is the key to doing this? Never losing momentum. A client stays on a with their public relations firm when they feel the agency is consistently keeping their brand top-of-mind and reaching their target customer, but how does a public relations agency do this? In addition to tracking the news cycle, staying on top of trends, finding new ways to tell the brand story; incorporating outside partners is one of the most successful tools for expanding the reach of your product, or brand. While there are many other tactics than what I will be discussing today, below are two of the most successful: paid media and spokespeople.
Many companies sign a PR firm when they’re launching a product or creating new innovation within their current product line. A successful public relations firm will not only launch a new product, or brand, with a range of editorial coverage but will keep the momentum for that brand for years to come, even without new innovation from launch. It is our job to constantly be thinking, what’s next for our clients. How can we tap those outlets that may seem to be a “stretch” for the product, or brand? We may secure a top placement, reach our key performance indicators (KPI’s) for the year within just a few months, but a leading publicist won’t spend time dwelling on their successes, but figuring out what can be done, or achieved, next.
When a company signs a public relations firm, they are most likely looking for earned media coverage, but another successful mechanism for telling a brand story, with complete share of voice, is through paid media. In order to determine the best paid media partner, it is important to look at the coverage secured for the client thus far. What outlet has been difficult to tap? Is there an outlet that speaks to our customer base but is outside of who we are typically targeting with our media outreach? Does the brand have a typical time of year when sales are low? Paid media is the perfect opportunity for us to achieve both of these things. When paid media is incorporated into a public relations strategy, the public relations firm and brand have complete control of the editorial content. You may find yourself reading through your favorite website, magazine, or blog and not even realize that the editorial you are reading 100% paid for by the brand. Publications are getting increasingly more creative with the way in which they print or post paid media. When a customer is reading a magazine and comes across an advertisement, they know they are reading, or seeing, a biased display of the product or brand. Of course (insert brand name) thinks they offer the best (insert product name). On the contrary, the way in which paid media is seamlessly integrated into editorial, readers are often unaware that the brand is behind the story and are rather trusting their favorite magazine is organically endorsing the particular product or service.
A question publicist’s are often asked by clients after a placement hits is “Well how many people actually read the article?” While unique monthly visitors is the most widely used tool for measuring the number of eye balls on an article, as part of a paid media partnership you’re given the back end analytics of how many people actually clicked on your paid article. Also, you can include coupon codes specific to those readers, thus creating a way to track exactly how many sales were a result of the placement. Through paid media you are also able to expand the reach of your editorial through cross platform promotion. This could mean your article is shared on the media outlets social media channels or newsletter, expanding the reach of your story and thus getting more eyeballs on your article. The number of platforms in which your articles is shared is dependent on budget, so have an ideal budget in mind for your paid media partner and from there discuss with your media partner what options are available to you.
Another great tactic for not losing momentum with a client is to bring on an expert, or spokesperson. It may seem obvious, but it is important to make sure the individual you select truly aligns with your brand. For example – your client is a healthy baby food brand, best to not bring on a registered dietitian who does not have a family. By bringing on an expert you are adding another level of credibility and getting a reputable endorsement of your brand. The individual should have a strong social media and media following, as your public relations agency will want to use this individual for media interviews – print, online and broadcast. Leading up to working with your expert, or spokesperson, have at least one phone call in which you share key talking points and hear from them why they love, or support your brand. If you can find someone who has already publicly mentioned their love for your brand – even better! Additionally, you will want your expert, or spokesperson, to post on their personal social media channels and be able to cross promote on your company channels.
These are just a few tactics that can be strategically implemented by your public relations firm. If you’re curious about how to take your brand to the next level outside of earned media, talk to your publicist; share your goals and dreams. From there, you can determine the best outside partners to bring in besides typical earned media coverage. There is no denying that the media world is changing rapidly, but with this comes more opportunity and unique ways to tell your brand story.