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Not all PR coverage is created equal

Author Jude Peppis

Author Jude Peppis

Tues 10th July 2018

No-one said it was going to be easy. Getting that all-important PR coverage, whether it’s in print or online, takes a lot of graft. The work ramps up even further if you want the right kind of PR coverage – and who doesn’t. Crafting the perfect PR coverage means knowing who your audiences are, where to find them, what they are likely to engage with and then delivering all this right to their door.  

Gone are the days when AVE is seen as the equivalent to PR coverage. It’s no longer about column inches dictating how much that press you worked so hard to get is worth. This is fundamentally good news. But, it has made working out the value of PR coverage a much more complicated process with a number of factors coming into play.

Here’s what to consider when choosing what and where you want your PR coverage to land and how that translates to real-life value off the page.

Quality over quantity

The front page of, for example, The Telegraph may well be viewed as the holy grail of PR coverage in your company. But, depending on your targets, you may be better off getting a story in a publication with a more specific readership. For example, if you are trying to reach facilities managers, you can liaise with a range of trade titles. They may have a smaller overall readership, but each person you connect with could be more likely to convert.

Your target publications for PR coverage should be defined when first drawing up your press plan. For example, if you want coverage for a luxury product or service, The Daily Star is unlikely to be an appropriate target based on their typical demographic. Proactively securing PR coverage does not happen overnight so ensure you’re speaking to the right journalists to produce the end results you’re looking for.

Regional over national

If you look after the press for a company which largely operates regionally, you may be much better placed securing PR coverage in a local publication than a national one. This is despite the decline in readership of the regional press – in the second half of 2016, local weekly newspapers in the UK lost print circulation by an average of 11.2% year on year. However, you have more chances of reaching a target customer who will generate a conversion.

Having said that, national coverage does still have its place. This really depends what your PR coverage targets are. For example, if you’re aiming for brand awareness then a national publication is a great option. However, if you are looking to increase footfall at your shop or event, regional PR coverage is likely to be your best bet.

Not all nationals are created equal, either.

The Sun is the national newspaper with currently the highest circulation of 1,481,876, according to Newsworks. Daily Mail online has 15.6m daily browsers, hitting a new high earlier this year. They both have very different readerships, reputations and agendas. Neither are without their share of controversy, either. Depending on what you are aiming to get PR coverage for may dictate which national newspaper you want to get coverage in. PR coverage should also not be a scattergun approach. Before hitting send on your press release, think about those target audiences again, whether you want to be on the pages of a particular publication and where the real value is for you.

Content is still king

Your media package of a press release, images and video need to be good. At best, you’re competing for space with hundreds of others in a daily news conference. At worst, your story dies in a clogged inbox. To stand out in the crowd, your content needs to be thought-provoking, original, inspiring and maybe a little bit funny. Your key messages should be carefully weaved into content which is of benefit to the end user, not your boss. It also needs to have carefully-balanced branding, otherwise it will look too much like an advert and stand virtually no chance of being picked up by the press. Whilst 84% of us savvy consumers expect brands to make content, only 60% of it from the world’s leading brands is actually effective. That’s something to consider before filming your company mascot in a PR stunt and sending it to The Guardian.

PR coverage comes in many forms 

The default setting for most PR coverage is in print or on a newspaper’s website. However, this is largely ignoring so many other avenues with TV and radio being the obvious alternatives. For example, organic social media coverage, such as a tweet from a celebrity, also comes under the ever-expanding umbrella of what constitutes PR coverage. So, consider what you could offer for broadcast media to film or sharable content for a Facebook page when drawing up your plans for PR coverage.

In summary, PR coverage and the value you place upon it needs to be aligned with your campaign objectives. It needs to consider where your target audiences are and what they will respond to. It needs to be clever and creative whilst incorporating your key messages.

Bigger doesn’t always mean better so succinctly analyse the current media environment before aligning your own campaign with what is happening in the media at that time.

Want more?

Read our blog on innovative ways to get PR coverage here.

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