Alt Title: Why there's more coverage the longer the PR campaign
By Melissa A Vitale
There are days I think a tattoo on my forehead “Public relations is the least immediate of all marketing” would make my life so much easier. Because public relations hinders on placing clients in existing and forthcoming editorial coverage without advertising budgets, press coverage comes when the opportunities align with the brand’s expertise and mission. Unlike social media which can lead to traffic in a matter of weeks, or digital advertising which can drive sales in days, public relations can take months before there are any results in the form of published stories.
There are rare publicists who promise results that never arise but rack up months of retainers before the brand severs the deal. It’s for this reason PR can get a murky rep as being one of those industries where investment can be a gamble.
After three years, I’ve nailed down what a concrete set of expectations of brands can expect upon working with my brand of public relations over the course of a campaign.
Please note, all PR agencies and freelancers are different and this summary only applies with certainty to MAVPR’s Public Relations Campaigns.
Your first month of PR is heavy with confirming messaging. You’ll want to allow your publicist a reasonable amount of time to plan for how they want to position the brand. MAVPR takes about 2-4 weeks to draft a messaging book (a typically 4-8 page document with all the brand’s storylines, spokesperson topics of expertise, bios, boiler plates, etc) during which time we start to introduce a brand to our close contacts to get a sense of the media appetite for the brand, and which areas will draw the most buzz. By the end of the first month, a brand will be introduced to key media and will have months-worth of press storylines that will be turned into countless pitches over the coming months. In the case of buzzworthy brands, must-have product and in-demand expertise, press opportunities may come through in the first month but its more common that the first published stories come in the second month.
The second month you're seeing the opportunities come in. Depending on how quickly the campaign was able to mobilize, you'll have pending placements, and loads of pending interest. There are potential opportunities and there are opportunities that should be coming out in the coming weeks. Thanks to editorial delays, there may still not be any published coverage by month two, but you know that there is coverage coming ad have an idea of what it looks like. By this time, you may have been interviewed, provided a quote or may have sent some samples for a specific story consideration.
By now you’ve gotten your first published press with your publicist. The press opportunities are starting to be more regular.
Of course if you had a newsworthy announcement in the first three months, these expectations are different with a full feature, potentially a wire release (brand decision) and ensuing pickup the month of the announcement.
By now coverage is starting to appear steady. You should be getting at least two placements per month at this point and it can range upwards of 5-8 placements a month depending on the brand’s industry, products available and areas of expertise. There are probably even repeat opportunities from the same journalist or editor.
After 6 months the brand should be hitting the expectations of the account each month. MAVPR’s expectations range between 2-6 and 2-15 placements per month (retainer dependent). This time you usually see more standalone stories than inclusion and commentary.
After 6 months, be aware that a month with less coverage compared to the month previous does not mean the PR campaign is failing. Some months, editors need to hold certain topics to continue to drive traffic to those topics in the coming months, especially if they are planning a seasonal push on a certain topic. As long as an account is falling within expectations of an account the public relations account is still progressing even with a slow month.
By this time, you’ll have at least doubled your investment when measured in the amount of ad value your campaign has earned.
After 12 months
Your PR campaign hasn’t just gained momentum, it has a life of its own. Not only are there fresh stories being initiated by your publicist, but you’re also getting incoming requests from press who have mentioned or considered the brand previously. The ad value return for this time can be as high as sixteen times the investment. Some clients have seen over 1000% of returns of ad vale compared to their monthly retainer.
Every subsequent year
When brands engage in public relations years at a time, they are not only introduced to new editors, they also are kept on the radar of journalists who have written about them in the past. Therefore, press typically doubles in volume for every year you engage with public relations. My client who has been with me since early 2017 has seen over $570,000 in earned ad value so far for the year, by July 2020 with a potential 1.5 billion consumer reach.
The longer a PR campaign and the more hours put into publicity efforts, the more editors and journalists who are introduced to a brand and the more editorial opportunities that arise with the brand already in mind. Its wiser to strategically introduce a brand to journalists as the company’s developments align with their area of coverage.
Continued media relations momentum and strategy ensures that a brand stays on the radar of key press with fresh stories and topics that editors want to greenlight.
For vice brands looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups across plant and intimate wellness