18th Jan 2012
You’ve been planning the launch of your new product for the past year. The public relations team has been brought in, the news is announced, interviews secured and completed, and you’ve received some great coverage.
But then, just a few months down the line, the coverage peters out, raising the question of whether it can truly be considered a success. And as the inquest gets underway, the question is asked: did you implement your PR campaign in such a way as to ensure you effectively maintain the momentum generated from your big announcement?
In order to answer this, it is crucial to recognise from the outset that a PR campaign isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Rather than a brief flurry of activity followed by a long dry spell, a successful PR campaign sustains media coverage over the longer term by delivering a steady stream of news, views and announcements that strengthen, expand, and embed your brand and messages firmly in the psyche of the media and your target audience.
The aim should therefore be to secure coverage throughout the lifecycle of the campaign, not just when there is a big story to announce. As such, the key to unlocking this potential is to consider what else you can provide the media with, whether opinion articles, customer case studies or comment on breaking news stories, over and above your original news announcement.
Simply churning out articles won’t result in a sustained and successful PR campaign. Here at Aspectus, we take the time to identify, understand and refine the USPs that differentiate our client from the competition – whether these be the size of customers they serve, their portfolio of products and services, or the position they occupy in the marketplace (or indeed, a combination of all three). We weave these USPs into storylines that provide the slow-burning fuel powering a PR campaign towards the client’s long-term goals. Storylines can be reused and reworked in response to breaking industry news, or to target new audiences and, once developed, ensure that the PR engine room runs smoothly, and the coverage pipeline remains consistently full.
Furthermore, everything we write is reflective of current industry developments and sensitive to the needs of clients and the media. Providing a topical hook for a journalist makes it much more likely they will use the copy, whether to generate a news item, support a story or feature they are writing, or to deepen their understanding of a market or subject. Naturally, the latter may not result in immediate coverage, but almost certainly will increase the likelihood of the journalist revisiting our client the next time round.
However, there is more to a successful long-term PR campaign than simply having enough storyline ideas in reserve. At Aspectus, we nurture close working relationships with the key titles in our client’s space, at the same time maintaining an up-to-the minute knowledge of their industry. Close working relationships with the media are symbiotic: we know when a relevant feature is approaching, and we can also sow the seeds for potential features in the minds of our contacts. Either way, we are proven in being able to secure pole position for our clients when stories break.
In addition, the importance of a strong customer case study shouldn’t be underestimated when looking for ways to keep the PR campaign ticking over. The media almost always prefer to speak to an end user, as it allows them to cut through what they often perceive as marketing hype, and are able to identify exactly the benefits your products or services have delivered to your customers, whilst also gauging the impact of the challenges faced by them – thus providing the objectivity so crucial to their audience. Although producing case studies is much more involved than a press release, and requires a willing end-user, the results by far outweigh the effort. A good case study generates fantastic coverage, both for you and your customer, and can also be used as an effective pitch for relevant feature opportunities, and new business. Naturally, having a PR agency with the skills, experience and market knowledge to convert the customer story into a compelling case study is an added advantage!
Here at Aspectus, we pride ourselves on our proactive approach. It allows us to create a constant flow of media opportunities for our clients, even during ‘quiet’ periods, and means clients receive a constant flow of coverage in return. This approach relies on our creativity, market knowledge and tenacity in developing and reacting to opportunities wherever they might be, providing content that genuinely offers something new and interesting to the media, and assures our clients of maximum impact from their investment.
Next time you’re looking to make a big announcement to the press, don’t just ask yourself what you are looking to achieve in terms of immediate impact, but how you can keep your company in the media over the longer term.
If you’ve got an opinion article with a number of placements lined up, or have just provided comment for a feature, then you are well on your way to ensuring you stay in the spotlight. And if you haven’t, why not? Your company has a wealth of content that can be used to keep your PR engine properly fuelled and fired, and the coverage pipeline flowing, so why not find an agency that can keep the engine well lubricated and drive your company success further?