Why PR success is a marathon, not a sprint

Achieving PR success is a long-term game. While sending out the odd, random press release may generate a few quick headlines, having the right strategy in place can sustain regular media coverage over the long-term, as our Head of PR & Content, Jon, explains…

There’s an old parable from Danish-American photojournalist Jacob Riis about a stonecutter trying to crack a boulder.

He hammers away at his rock, Riis, says, “perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

The same can be said of PR.

CC BY 2.0 Jon S PR Success

You can dabble, inconsistently, with varying results, but for long-term success, you need to keep chipping away.

Trying to build a media profile can be a daunting challenge for many businesses, particularly if you have never done it before.

You may have great products or services that you want to shout about, or a great story to tell, but inviting the glare of the media spotlight on to your company can be a scary – and sometimes frustrating – venture.

Scary, because once you put your head above the parapet, you lose a degree of control. Frustrating, because securing coverage, no matter how good your story is, is never guaranteed.

So, like all things in business, to give you the best chance of success, you need a long-term plan of attack.

Planning for PR success

Some companies take PR for granted. Their brand and their business is so well known that even the most innocuous utterances from their leaders can generate reams of column inches.

For others, particularly those who have never really done PR before, building a media profile can be a hard slog.

After all, why would a journalist cover your stories if he/she has never even heard of you as a company and what it is that you do?

However, with a little planning and patience, getting yourself on the media’s radar is an achievable aim and one which, over time, will generate good results.

So, where do you start?

1) Know your objectives

Before you set off on your PR journey, ask yourself why you are doing it.

Is it to raise your company profile? Are you looking to attract more customers, or promote a particular product or service?

Once you are clear on what it is you are trying to achieve, it’s much easier to decide on the plan and the tactics to get you there.

2) Define your message

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s easier to decide on what you need to say.

If the product or service you are promoting has a key point of difference – or a unique selling point – to your competitors, then you should focus your PR content around why it’s different, what makes it stand out and why, from a journalist’s perspective, their readers, listeners or followers, will care.

Once you have defined your key messages, repeat, repeat, repeat in everything you do, until they finally start to hit home.

3) Know your audience

You probably know already who your target customers (your ideal buyer personas) are, so where do they get their information from? Are there any trade journals or magazines in their industry? Is there a must-read industry blog, or an e-newsletter they subscribe to?

A bit of research can pay dividends. Once you know what your target customers are reading, you can quite easily find out how to reach out to these media to send them your press releases and stories.

4) Develop a plan of attack

Once you’ve defined your message, identified your audience and found the best media outlets to target, you can plan your next steps.

Reach out to some of their key writers on LinkedIn and start to develop your lines of communication with them. Find out what they are writing about and offer some comment or opinion. Get hold of their forward features lists – is there anything you are doing which dovetails neatly with what they are planning, that you can craft a story around?

Do you have an event coming up around the same time as an annual occurrence like Black Friday or Easter? If so, is there anything you can do to tie the two together?

Whatever it is, once you have developed relationships with your key media targets, make sure you send them regular content that is relevant to what they are writing about. It may not all get covered, but over time, just like the stonecutter, the results will surprise you.

5) Measure results

If you’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of coverage you are getting in the media, measure it. Determine which of your stories are getting covered and which aren’t. From there, you can focus on putting out more content that is getting good coverage and cutting back on the amount of time and effort you spend on creating stories that are going nowhere.

Conclusion

Good PR is about more than just having great stories to tell. Having a long-term plan in place, which looks at who to target and when to target them, is the key to achieving PR success.

Purpose Media’s PR and content team has many years’ experience in dealing with the media and securing great press coverage for our clients on a regular basis.

We’ve manned busy newsdesks and press offices and delivered in-house strategies for agencies. We understand the demands of the media, have built strong relations and know how to ensure your stories get heard time and again.

As Riis said, it’s not the first strike, but the chipping away that gets the ideal result.

When it comes to raising your media profile, we can give you the tools to crack it.

Enquire today to see how we can help you redefine your marketing messages…