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PR Results Require Patience and Perseverance

August 11, 2014

Michele-Spiewak_Rhino-PR-5x7Today’s post is courtesy of Michele Spiewak of Rhino PR. As an account director, Michele helps A/E/C clients establish and launch successful PR programs closely aligned with each client’s unique goals and objectives.

As marketing and public relations consultants, it’s our job to guide clients through the process of developing a successful PR or integrated marketing communications program. Many clients, at least those with no prior PR experience, require an education into the process, strategy, tactics, and tools of the trade.

Most critical, though, is helping them understand the commitment of time. The first question we often hear when beginning a new client relationship is: how long until we see coverage? Like any marketing campaign, PR requires patience and perseverance to see results.

If your firm has never done PR, it may be an unknown entity to the media – or worse, wrongly positioned in the marketplace. For PR agency clients, it can be hard to justify paying for PR and marketing services when results are not immediate. PR is much like pursuing a client for a design project: it could take months – or longer – to develop the relationship and land the placement or generate the buzz you’ve been waiting for. Much like submitting a thorough and thoughtful proposal for a highly coveted project, PR professionals do their due diligence and work with editors and journalists the same way.

Patience is essential, and with the proper planning and approach, productive opportunities with your targeted media can materialize. Here are a few steps the pros use:

  • Know thy client. The starting point for any successful program is understanding the business and knowing what sets it apart from the competition. A SWOT analysis, covering strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is helpful to learning about the company and creating messaging and branding that’s on target.
  • Develop a comprehensive PR and media strategy that aligns with business goals. Outline your PR goals, measurable objectives, and tactics, which could include press releases, media pitching, byline articles, social media, and blog development.
  • Think like an editor. What trends or market sectors is the publication covering? Is there a new process, product, or project that feels fresh and cutting edge? Can someone in your firm be offered as an industry expert for a current trend?
  • Develop compelling pitches for media opportunities and byline articles. These are perfect opportunities to showcase your expertise on a given topic or highlight best practices with a project example or case study.
  • Connect with the most influential reporters and editors in daily print media, vertical trade journals, and online publications. Foster those relationships, and keep your media list up-to-date.
  • Be patient! Securing meaningful coverage, such a company profile or byline article, can require between three to six months of diligent research and pitching before impactful results are felt. To cancel a PR program after the start-up phase, but before the first placements come to fruition, can result in both wasted opportunity and money.

Something to keep in mind when working with daily business press: there are fewer reporters in the newsroom today than in years past. According to The American Society of News Editors’ annual newsroom census, there were about 36,700 full-time daily newspaper journalists at nearly 1,400 newspapers in the United States in 2013. That’s a 1,300-person decrease from 38,000 in 2012. Newsroom employment has fallen 33 percent from a pre-recession peak of 55,000 in 2006 and is down 35 percent from its all-time high of 56,900 in 1989.

Given the massive cuts to newsroom staff at daily publications, as well as monthly national vertical outlets, it’s normal – and yes, disappointing – to get no response from a reporter you’ve been courting. To get attention, your press release or trend story idea needs to pop out from the dozens of emails and pitches they receive daily.

It takes time and patience to build trust with a reporter focused on your market, and a persistence that it isn’t unlike wooing a new client. The most successful campaigns are reserved for those clients who appreciate the investment of time and effort.

Questions or comments? Drop Michele an e-mail or start a conversation on Twitter at @RhinoPRBoston.

And if you enjoyed this article, check out more posts in Rhino PR’s popular series on Outlook!

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