A good public relations team will work closely with a brand or organisation to ensure its objectives are met every step of the way. Two of the most common reasons brands use PR is to help raise brand awareness and, ultimately, drive leads.
When it comes to media coverage, certain will meet those aims, while other stories may indirectly damage a brand in the long term. This is why it’s extremely 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 campaign, you need a media strategy to ensure that story angles that will actually help the brand will be developed. Both client and PR team will need to agree to the strategy and stick to it. (Of course, to ensure the PR is meeting brand objectives, both parties can agree to have the strategy tweaked along the way.)
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 bring new leads?
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, have achieved huge success, or have “beaten the odds” in some way. An example is a couple who were previously single for seven years and 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 15 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 own work:
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 our PR fees for a year.
Another media 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 team to tweak the PR strategy along the way.