Why you might not be ready for national media… yet

At its most basic function, public relations is the practice of building mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics, namely the media, which has grown far beyond its traditional boundaries. What used to be confined to broadcast and print mediums has now amplified across the Internet and into our hands through the many apps we consume on a daily basis.

According to the Pew Research Center, about four out of every 10 Americans get their news online, and 50 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds gather their news primarily through digital platforms (social media, websites, apps, etc.). As social media apps and news sites continue to flourish, more and more consumers will likely turn to the web to for their news consumption. Lucky for you, if your business includes a public relations strategy in its marketing campaign, there are more opportunities than ever to share your company’s news online. On the other hand, navigating the endless sea of outlets, reporters, stations and more can be daunting. Where should you start? And more importantly, how can you land your company in one of the big dogs like, say, the Wall Street Journal?

First things first, let’s address your business goals. Approaching a PR firm with a nebulous request like “I want to be in the Wall Street Journal” doesn’t tell your agency anything about your overarching communications strategy. Let’s back up a few steps. If you’re launching a new product or service, your initial business goal might be to generate brand awareness, downloads or click-throughs. How can you drive more traffic to your website, app's landing page or storefront? Landing a TechCrunch or Huffington Post article might cause a flurry of interest, but the likelihood of the press paying attention to your brand new business is low. Don’t spend your agency’s time pushing for one hit when they could be placing a plethora of articles that reach multiple audiences, drive traffic and generate interest across a variety of avenues. Instead, try to develop a multi-faceted media approach that includes a variety of writers across your industry’s trade publications, industry analysts and your headquarters’ local news outlets in addition to national-facing entities.

Aligning your business goals with your communications strategy is the best way to leverage your PR firm’s creativity. Like journalists, we’re looking for the untold stories hiding in the depths of your business’s mission. With those stories and your communications goals in mind, your agency can begin to disseminate your company’s message to a comprehensive list of media, placing stories periodically and maintaining a steady drumbeat of coverage that speaks to your target audiences.

As a B2B company, that might mean holding regular product briefings with industry analysts while placing thought leadership bylines in trade publications as you slowly work toward a news announcement worthy of national attention (think funding announcements or strategic partnerships). For B2C brands, making appearances in local outlets and keeping editors satisfied and in your corner will make it easy to elevate your story to the regional or national level. With quality coverage in your local market, regional and national writers will naturally recognize your credibility and appreciate your grassroots appeal.

Don’t get us wrong, if you have the right combination of newsworthiness, credibility and timeliness packaged up into a stellar announcement, national media just might perk up when you call. But solely relying on national coverage to meet and exceed your business goals is only a partially baked solution.

If you’re interested in expanding your PR efforts and building an unstoppable media relations campaign, contact Red Fan today.

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