A good public relations agency will work closely with a brand or organisation to ensure its PR strategy meets the company objectives . Two of the most common reasons brands go to a PR agency is to grow the brand, to ultimately help drive leads.
When it comes to media coverage, certain stories will meet those aims, while other stories may indirectly damage a brand in the long term. This is why it’s important to choose PR consultants who care about your brand and work hard to meet its objectives – not just generate column inches.
Agree to a strategy
At the start of your PR program, you need a media plan to ensure that your PR agency has developed media angles that will help the brand. Both you and your PR agency will need to agree to the strategy.
PR angles that don’t work
It can be tempting for a CEO to request media interviews and editorial around topics they are passionate about – criticising legislation they think is bad for the industry, for example, or commenting on the impact that recent natural disasters have had on their customers.
While these angles might make news, they can be bad news for a brand. Your target audience may be deterred from buying your product or service if they read about your existing customers having a hard time. Likewise, if you continually castigate goings on in the industry or economy, your target market may associate your brand with this kind of negative drama. Will this actually grow your brand?
What PR angles to focus on?
Think about why people use your product or service: largely, it’s because of the benefits it brings them. But your target market will use your product more so when its benefits stand up to the brand claims in real-life examples.
In the media, this translates to a brand’s success stories: case studies that achieved success or were greatly helped by your brand. To ensure they are newsworthy, the case studies will need to be unusual, can demonstrate tangible benefits as a result of using your brand, or have “beaten the odds” in some way. An example is two who were previously single for years but are now getting married after meeting through a dating site (the brand). Or an at-home mum who couldn’t find the right work for years, then got work immediately after doing a three-month certificate course at a college (the brand).
Here are a couple of real-life examples in our PR programs at The Ideas Suite:
A property owner received a home loan through an online mortgage company (the brand), saving $30,000 when he switched over from his existing mortgage. When this story appeared in a major newspaper, the website got so many hits, it crashed by midday.
A property investor (the client) appeared as his own success story in a major newspaper. The story detailed how he was able to semi-retire on his investments. On the back of that story, he made a sale that paid his PR agency’s fees for a year.
Another PR strategy that can work well to raise awareness and leads is to educate (and influence) the public to remove any obstacles that are preventing them from buying.
For instance, if you are a property company and there is a major slump in property purchases due to stagnating house prices, you would generate story angles to counter any negative perceptions around property. You might pitch angles to the media about why now is a good time to buy, or the benefits of buying property when you’re young.
Keep in mind that every brand is different: for optimal results, monitor your media coverage alongside any spikes in traffic, and work with your PR agency to tweak the PR strategy along the way.
The Ideas Suite is a Sydney PR agency that has tried, tested and honed high-level media strategies over 10 years. We know not only which angles get cut through to the media, but which types of media stories are likely to get you brand audience traffic.