There was a time when landing a key media relations hit was the be-all end-all of public relations. But today, securing that placement is merely just lighting the flame of its potentially luminous value. It will burn even brighter if you put the right merchandising fire behind it.
What do I mean?
Media relations works
First, let’s acknowledge that there is great power in a media placement. It raises your profile, establishes credibility and provides a third-party, objective endorsement that your company or your products are legit. And it goes a long way toward expanding the scope and breadth of your story, reaching new audiences and prospects, including those that may not have been familiar with you before. It’s often difficult to assign measurable impact to such placements (other than often dubious readership numbers), but there’s ample anecdotal evidence over the years to confirm that these stories do, in fact, generate new business. Lots of it, and of that there is no doubt.
If the placement was in the right publication – i.e. one that is read by your target audience – then the odds that it will reach the right eyeballs is even greater. But even so, that may not always be the case. Let’s face it, articles can be easy to miss, especially online where there is just a link and not a printed headline, article or even photo as in print editions. That’s why merchandising – extending its life to new audiences – is essential.
Mom as merchandiser
Folks who are my generation or older will may relate to some of the quaint methods of merchandising that have been around as long as newspapers themselves. If you’re like me, you’ll open envelopes sent by your mother or grandmother who wanted to be sure you saw that article on the importance of putting flax seed on my cereal or the obituary of your sixth grade P.E. teacher or tips on caulking your bathroom tub. But at its core, that’s merchandising – forwarding the article to audiences that you think would find value in it.
Thankfully, we have other non-maternal tools at our disposal. Your sales force might consider sending the piece, in an email, to both existing customers and prospects. A link to the article might also merit a prominent place in the next company newsletter, or you could feature excerpts from it in marketing collateral.
Targeting through social platforms
Of course, such publicity is perfect for sharing on social media platforms. Make sure to post it on LinkedIn and Facebook along with a few lines of introduction that highlight the main points. But don’t stop there. Spend some money boosting the post and link on these platforms to extend their reach beyond those who are already following you. Facebook also gives you the capacity to target prospects whose demographic characteristics mirror those of your email database, which is an incredibly cool tool if you haven’t used it yet.
A favorable media placement creates the ideal time to spend those extra marketing dollars to ensure that you are milking every last ounce of benefit out of the article. After all, you can’t count on your mom to get the word out to everyone.