While PR is a very effective way to build brand awareness, thought leadership and credibility, it is not a quick fix – and that can, understandably, create frustration at times. We hear all too often from colleagues across the industry that clients want coverage for their initiatives, executives, etc. now – or better yet, yesterday. And while we certainly understand that, as PR professionals we also know all too well that securing feature placement in clients’ top priority publications just takes time. The wait is due in part to the changing media landscape – with fewer outlets out there and smaller staffs at those outlets, demand for “ink” simply outstrips the “ink” supply. However, this has also always just been part of PR – as with so many other aspects of business, PR is about relationships. It takes time to nourish relationships between clients and the media – and the timing must also be right in terms of trends/topics that your targeted reporters are covering.
It is absolutely worth the wait when that premium story finally runs – but the wait can make everyone a little bit crazy at times!
We’ve had a couple outstanding examples of patience paying off that have come to fruition in recent months for our clients. For example – GFM began conversations with 5280 magazine two years ago on behalf of our client, SafeHouse Denver. The reporter we were working with was eager to shed light on the issue of domestic violence by sharing a domestic violence survivor’s story – but she also had to work with the planned editorial schedule of the publication. Given that 5280 is a monthly publication that covers a wide variety of topics – and that those topics are scheduled many months in advance, this led, in part, to the project’s extended timeline. On the PR side, we also had to bide our time as we waited to find a survivor who was willing and able to share her story publicly. Then, we needed time to juggle busy calendars on all sides in order to schedule interviews with the survivor and various SafeHouse staff members, as well as multiple visits to the shelter for the reporter. Add a maternity leave into the mix – and you can start to see why the wait turned into two years. All of that being said, the article appears in the current issue of 5280 – and it is spectacular. This type and in-depth level of publicity is invaluable, and needless to say, the SafeHouse Denver team is over the moon.
In another instance, in April 2012, GFM started work on a project related to client Oskar Blues Brewery’s 10-year anniversary of being the first craft brewery to use cans rather than bottles, a trend that has now been adopted by more than 285 craft breweries worldwide. One of Oskar Blues’ priority outlets for this initiative was CNBC, and GFM carefully researched the appropriate contact there. GFM initially reached out to this particular reporter on April 6 – via Twitter, but that’s for another blog post – and while he responded rather quickly with initial interest, five months would pass before the story came to fruition. As with the above-referenced 5280 article, it simply took that amount of time to accomplish the needed interviews and meetings and put all of the necessary pieces in place. However, what resulted was a nearly 2,000-word story that was posted to the home page of CNBC.com on Aug. 29, 2012. The article was shared more than 250 times on social networks and ended up being reposted by more than 40 online news outlets including Yahoo! Finance and USAToday.com. Total circulation/estimated readership of the article topped 35 million, easily making the article one of Oskar Blues’ most popular stories of 2012.
All of this is not to say that “quick hits” are not possible in PR. They are, indeed, and sometimes those even consist of front-page articles in clients’ top outlets. However, in many, many cases, it takes time to mine for and strike proverbial PR gold – however, when it hits, the payoff can be tremendous.