Media attention is critical to the effectiveness of your small business’s PR campaign, but it should not be the sole indicator of your PR success. When measuring the effectiveness of public relations, brands that look at more than the amount of their media placements tend to come out on top.
In other words, if you can see beyond your brand’s press clippings, you are poised to enjoy the intangible and often immeasurable benefits that come from seeing a bigger picture.
Why effective PR involves more than media placements
Publishing a press release on the newswires and attracting media attention are only two facets of a successful PR strategy. After all, those media placements don’t count much if your small business’s target audience isn’t watching, listening to, or reading that particular media outlet.
Your PR strategy begins by thoroughly understanding your target audience. Reaching them effectively requires you to know exactly what podcasts they enjoy, what newspapers they read, what websites they frequent, and which newsletters they sign up for. For example, an article in a high-quality trade magazine that has sway over the target demographic can ultimately create much more impact for your brand than a mention on television, radio, or a podcast that reaches a far larger audience.
Additionally, remember that chasing media placements just to get your small business’s name in the spotlight can lead to negative repercussions. For instance, if you obtain several placements but don’t offer a compelling story or relevant information, your brand can take a PR hit. Puff pieces may meet your requirements for brand mentions, but without offering value or substance, they often fail to leave a good impression on your audience.
Media placements that allow your brand to offer valuable insights, perspectives, and analysis are highly beneficial. Still, it’s best to stay out of the media spotlight when you have nothing substantial to contribute.
Looking beyond top-tier placements like Forbes
While large outlets are great, it’s easy to get lost in the masses — especially if that outlet isn’t giving your client or their brand social media support much face value compared to smaller publications that not only give them that support, but also opportunities for exposure to an audience they may not have otherwise considered. Additionally, smaller publications are more niche and more likely to have those specified angles picked up. It also shows editors at larger publications that you are a trustworthy source who is building a credible media resume, meaning they are more likely to get published.
Don’t let your ego of getting the “big placement” get in the way of longevity and a positive return. Additionally, if you pitch a client to a journalist for a prominent outlet, but that journalist passes on your client but offers them placement on another outlet, take it! This is relationship building.
Also, keep in mind that journalists must get editorial approval so the final decision is not up to them. It’s important as publicists to help our clients see the value in all media opportunities — not just a select few.
How small businesses communicate directly with critical audiences
Your brand neglects a vast audience when media coverage is your only indicator of public relations success. Today, your brand can reach out and spread messaging through its own website and social media accounts.
Many potential leads also do their own proactive searches. They quietly research brands, read content, and develop views that lead to purchase decisions and brand loyalty.
Your brand can reach these consumers with targeted content marketing, which uses online blog posts, video clips, podcasts, and infographics to engage your brand’s audience. The key is to produce and publish relevant and valuable material.
Google takes note when your small business’s website offers high-quality content. You can expect to improve your ranking performance for priority search terms and target keywords as your content library grows.
With a large stash of valuable material on your site, your customers will likely spend more time there. Websites having a high dwell time tend to rank better in Google’s search results. Moreover, as more people enjoy your high-quality content, they will share the link to your site with others searching for the same information. These backlinks lead to even better SEO performance.
Your outreach should not be limited to cyberspace. To enjoy even more connections with your target audience, expand your small business’s public relations efforts beyond the Internet.
Taking part in community activities, volunteering, and sponsoring local initiatives are all fantastic ways to reach out in the area where your business is based and strengthen relationships with residents. Collaborating with local nonprofits that share your company’s goals allows you to support the causes you believe in and gain positive PR for your brand simultaneously.
Additionally, PR is more than just media placements and press releases. Behind the scenes, your publicist is also negotiating other opportunities, such as strategic partnerships and influencer relations. They also handle crisis communications, establish thought leadership strategies that put you in executive positioning that attracts potential investors, and handle message development, media consulting and training, as well as social media management.
How to encourage others to join in your brand’s PR strategy
The employees you hire can also serve as brand ambassadors. Motivate them to spread the word about your organization on their personal social media accounts, as well as at seminars and trade exhibitions.
A small business’s employees are an often-overlooked channel for corporate communications. To involve internal stakeholders in your brand’s public relations campaigns, start by ensuring they’re happy, informed, and excited about the company’s goals. Whether your brand has ten or ten thousand employees, an enthusiastic and motivated workforce gives you a solid platform to spread the word about your brand.
By establishing relationships with social media influencers, your brand can realize another highly effective channel to reach your audience and promote products and services. Start with research to find influencers who resonate with your target audience and align with your brand. Instead of focusing on an influencer’s follower count alone, look at the quality of their content and how much their followers engage with it.
How to leverage PR opportunities in your industry
Your brand’s industry offers numerous public relations possibilities. One highly effective strategy known as thought leadership involves positioning your company’s leadership as an authority in your field through the production and dissemination of informative, engaging content. As a thought leader, you will be asked to speak at conferences, make guest appearances on podcasts, contribute to blog posts, and network with other influential people in your space.
Sometimes, gaining positive PR in your brand’s space amounts to searching out and applying for industry-specific awards. That recognition is another way to highlight your company’s accomplishments.
Don’t be afraid to mix it up! Remember that media placements are just one aspect of public relations for your brand. Your content marketing, community engagement, brand ambassadors, and thought leadership content will also help you gain visibility, establish trust, and boost engagement with your target audience.
Alexia McKay is a publicist for Otter PR.