By Sara Guenoun
One of the most important tools in your PR arsenal is your PR plan. Everything comes from putting together a cohesive and compelling strategy to getting your message out to your audience. But sometimes, even after putting together your media tactics, something might not click – and your message may not be being delivered.
Read on for some of the most common reasons your PR plan isn’t working, and how to fix it.
1. Your news is too self-serving.
The first step in any PR plan is pulling together an interesting storyline that your audience will care about. That last part is imperative – news doesn’t automatically become a media story just because you put out a press release. While it’s certainly good practice to update your audience on what’s new from a corporate perspective, not all announcements warrant the same level of coverage.
Make sure you think critically about what you’re communicating to your audience, and why they should care about it – otherwise your message won’t even make it out the door. That’s why at Aspectus, we make “considered creativity” part of every storyline we create.
2. You’re not targeting the right media.
Once you have a compelling story to take to your audience, think carefully about who you’re trying to reach with your message and what channels to use to best reach them. Is this a B2B storyline with a corporate focus, or is it more consumer-facing? Is your news only relevant to a small number of trade professionals, or is there a wider implication that the end-customer needs to know about?
At Aspectus, audience targeting is always one of the first things we think about when taking on a new initiative. After honing in on your target, you can begin to compile a list of relevant publications, journalists, and industry influencers that would be interested in taking your story and sharing it with their audiences.
3. You’re expecting media to cater to you.
An important consideration when working with media is flexibility. Journalists often work under tight deadlines and have specific criteria determining whether or not they can cover news. According to Cision’s latest State of the Media Report, nearly half (46.8%) of journalists are responsible for covering five or more beats – leaving them crunched for time and inundated with pitches for all their areas of coverage.
Understand that you cannot expect media to drop everything to cover your news. Instead, do everything you can to make it easier for them to say yes – include facts and figures to bolster your argument, and send them charts, images, or other graphics they can use in their piece to make it more dynamic. Don’t make them chase you for an interview and do have a spokesperson ready to answer their questions, otherwise, they may decide it’s not worth the effort.
4. Your timing is all wrong.
It’s also important to think about the broader picture when it comes to timing your story. Earnings season, for example, might not be the best time to be pitching the financial media on your financial news story. Fridays are rarely a good time for an announcement to go live, as many journalists may not have time to cover the news before heading out for the weekend. Announcements made after 10am risk being pushed to another day, as many journalists have already been assigned a story and won’t be able to address it that day.
Sometimes scheduling may be out of your control, but if you can, make sure that you’re thinking about the larger news landscape, and not just when it’s convenient for you to put out an announcement.
5. There’s nothing original or unique in your news.
You’ve created a storyline, compiled a media list, checked the calendar and have shared your news with the world – but no one is listening. What could have gone wrong?
Well, let’s take a look. According to the 2021 SOTM Report, over two-thirds of journalists wanted to see more original research from brands and PR professionals. If your story isn’t unique or original, journalists have no incentive to pick it up – you’re just one of many in a crowded field saying the same thing as your competitors.
That’s why at Aspectus, we encourage the brands we work with to do original research, surveys, white papers and more – and we help them package the information into easily digestible stories they can push to media one at a time – so they can continue the drumbeat of coverage over a long period of time with a unique story.
6. You’re not taking an omnichannel approach.
Even traditional PR agencies have recognized by now that the game has changed – social media and integrated campaigns are essential to getting noticed by your audience. Once you have a great news story promoting your message, don’t just stop there; take that story and repeat it in marketing materials, paid ad campaigns, and social media. Our global digital team has the expertise to create a fully integrated approach to your communications and this can make all the difference. Your audience will see your message playing out consistently across all the channels you work in, further driving it home.
The media landscape is forever evolving, so it’s important to constantly evaluate how your media plan will fit in with the audiences you’re targeting; but now that you have a list of steps to take, you’ll be able to craft a fool-proof PR plan for any storyline you pull together.