A survey of large high-tech companies found some mighty unhappy campers in the executive offices — on average, they ranked their satisfaction with their own companies’ public relations programs a lowly 5.8 on a scale from 1 to 10 (least to most satisfied)*. When these same respondents were asked, “What would you say is the main reason that PR hasn’t been fully effective for you?” the most-cited answer placed the blame squarely on themselves: We simply haven’t tried as hard as we could in this area. In other words, companies dissatisfied with their PR programs were not being proactive about obtaining editorial coverage.
Topping these executives’ wish lists for better PR was placing more feature articles and product stories with the media. Intuitively, they understood that being proactive led to better coverage in the editorial columns of trade publications, e-newsletters and websites. So, how do you get more proactive?
Understand editors’ needs
First things first, identify which magazines and websites you want to publish information about your company and products. Then, figure out what kind of content the editors of these target media want and when they want it. (Annual editorial calendars are a good place to start, but be aware that plans can change.) Finally, match editors’ and readers’ needs with the information you have to share.
Report your company’s performance
One of the informal definitions of public relations is “performance reporting.” This means that when your company takes an action of significance to the marketplace, you report it to key audiences. This could be the introduction of a new product, the appointment of a new division manager, a plant expansion or a major sale to a customer. All of those activities are news, and if properly written and disseminated to the right print and electronic media outlets, your news will be of interest to editors and their readers (your prospective customers).
Supply technical articles and case studies
Another way to generate positive news is with technical articles and customer case studies. Through technical articles, you can demonstrate your company’s expertise on a given subject and develop both recognition and credibility for your efforts (while at the same time educating your target audience). Through customer case studies, you can demonstrate how your products help solve customer problems. With more e-newsletters and websites to populate, editors are hungry for well-written, educational content.
Take charge of your PR
The effect of being proactive is that you maintain maximum control over the content of your news and the marketing messages it contains. While you can’t control where, when or how much of your information will be published, generating your own content helps your marketing messages reach your customers.
New product publicity, technical articles and case studies all lead to positive editorial coverage that supports your company’s marketing efforts. So, if you’re frustrated with your company’s PR results, be proactive. Contact your account manager or email Susan McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Research by Patrick Marketing Group, Calabasas, California