Have you ever heard the phrase, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity?”
The notion that even bad press is good press is an age-old saying associated with the self-promoting personality, Phineas T. Barnum of 19th century America, a showman and circus owner.
The truth is— Oscar Wilde’s proverb: the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about is problematic for PR in the 21st century. Think BP, Charlie Sheen, Penn State… need I go on?
In a time when the unforgiving public eye never blinks, bad press is something that could ruin years of hard work and a pristine reputation. In fact, 82% of consumers stopped giving a brand their business because of a bad experience. Don't let that happen. Use public relations to your advantage.
Strategy + Art = PR
PR is an art that has stood the test of time. It has the power to make and break a reputation. But it seems that most people think it's only there for damage control—which it is, in part. However, it's actually much richer than just cleaning up messes. It's a strategic process of communication that helps foster mutually beneficial relationships between a brand and its audience, per the Public Relations Society of America.
A large chunk of PR is media relations. Basically, the PR specialist is like a matchmaker— he or she matches a client’s content to relevant publications or news outlets who, in turn, publish it.
The exchange of quality content for getting in front of the consumer in the right places is a function of PR. For example, content that focuses on construction-based clients might go to Contractor Supply. Or, content that focuses on lifestyle-based clients might go to Health Magazine. At the end of the day, it all depends on the needs of the consumer.
There are three types of media. PR is considered earned because it takes time to build a relationship with an editor or publisher.
- Paid Media: Publicity through advertising
- Owned Media: Channels that we own and operate (social media, branding, blogs)
- Earned Media: Publicity earned through promotional efforts
Earned media requires content creation to drive customer engagement that ultimately generates leads or traffic back to the website. Thus, it continually brings new opportunities. To do this, we attend events (for local and personal PR), trade shows (for more specialized opportunities to talk to industry media) and media coverage (for inclusivity in industry magazines or publications).
PR, Media, & SFW
Luckily for PR agencies and PR specialists alike, worldwide marketing services spending has been steadily increasing over 80 billion dollars from 2012 to 2018, according to Statista. That means there's more work to be done, more opportunities to seize, and more success to be had by our clients.
Our PR and Content Specialist is certainly taking advantage of that increase. She is a Jill of all trades—juggling internal and external communication, reputation management, events, marketing communication, content creation, and much more.
“Most of what I do every day is media relations and content creation,” says Alexandria Jenkins, the PR and content specialist at SFW. “I pitch the media story ideas and press releases in a relevant, timely, and interesting fashion."
Worth the Challenge
In 2017, a Chief Marketer report found that articles and blogs were the most effective at moving consumers through the business-to-business (B2B) sales funnel. In addition, 78% of B2B marketers said that high-quality content always outperformed others. That's all good news for specialists like Jenkins, and agencies like SFW, who focus significantly on producing great content for their clients.
Being the direct line of communication between our clients and their public audiences, Jenkins has to know the clients, who they are, and how they want to communicate.
“At SFW, we focus on earning media that makes sense for our clients,” Jenkins states. “They’ll have access to tailored earned media strategies and the opportunities to develop a relationship with industry-relevant publications. That means more coverage in the future.”
Being the link between client and consumer is undoubtedly a difficult task because there are audiences everywhere waiting to be impressed or entertained. But sometimes, it can be hard to get in the spotlight.
“Building relationships can be tough, especially when the news cycles can be so volatile,” Jenkins says. “If something newsworthy happens, the chances of getting coverage can decrease.”
In 2014, every two days we produced as much data as was generated in all of humanity up to 2003. So, it’s easy to see why coverage is often so selective. But competition isn't negative. In fact, it drives our clients to know more about what they want to convey to their audience, and in what ways.
“They have to ask themselves: who’s our target audience? Who do we want to know about this product? Who uses this product? How can we best reach them?” says Jenkins. “Knowing this will result in higher interest in the client's brand.”
Public relations help form the image of a brand that's communicated to the public. Agencies, like SFW, have PR specialists to make sure our clients are getting the best opportunities for outreach.
Earned Media lets our clients develop close relationships with the press and builds trust with consumers, which means they're likely to be first-in-line when it comes to future coverage. PR and content specialists, like Jenkins, facilitate in that mutually-beneficial communication—from client to media.
“PR is an equal balance of give and take,” concludes Jenkins.