“We want to be on the Today Show or in the Wall Street Journal,” is what I’ll often hear from would-be clients. What clients often don’t realize is that PR takes time and should not…and cannot…be looked at as a short-term project, especially if you want quality national media coverage.
In this time of instant gratification and shrinking budgets, requests for short-term PR projects tend to increase. If you are seeking a PR firm, it is essential to have your brand strategy in place and your key goals established. If you talk about long-term goals like building your brand’s image in your region or positioning your organization as an industry thought leader, there’s a pretty good chance you are investing in a PR relationship for the long haul and understand that change doesn’t happen overnight.
Most people understand that paid advertisement placed once or twice won’t move the needle. But somehow when it comes to PR, there isn’t always that same understanding. This could be for many reasons. First, some people lack an understanding of how the media works. Second, they may not realize how much work and time goes into getting a story placed.
It takes time to truly understand a client’s business and what its point of differentiation or expertise that will resonate with the media. Building relationships with key journalists takes time: researching the types of stories they write, and delivering pitches and information that will be seen as newsworthy to their audience. And even when a story angle is of interest, journalist might not actually get to it for 3, 6 or even 9 months later. I once pitched and followed up with a writer at O the Oprah Magazine for a full year before she decided to do a story on my client.
Goals and expectations are critical. If your objective is perception change or a sustained increase in brand awareness or to launch a new product, that takes time. Creating relationships with key media and crafting substantial story angles is time well invested.
And when the Wall Street Journal article does finally run, that’s when you realize that all the time, nurturing and effort has been very well spent.