Monday 11 November 2019 4:45 am

Don’t dismiss small publications, they serve a role in PR

Matt Phillips is founder of startup communications consultancy PPR.

“Do our customers read that publication anyway?” It’s a question that any chief executive or marketer should ask. Marketing that’s not targeted at your audience is waste — or so the theory goes. 

Brands should of course aim for coverage in relevant media. But what about leads from publications that aren’t strictly on point? Sometimes there’s logic in untargeted media too.

Personally, I’ll read, watch, and listen to the things under my nose. And my feeds — newsletters, social media, Google Alerts, podcasts, and so on — filter for stuff that I’m interested in. So consider the topics, themes, and brands that your audience will find relevant. 

Whether they subscribe to Music Week, the FT, or The Cricketer, chances are that they’ll tune in to the topics they care about — so if you talk about stuff your audience is interested in, your brand is likely to find its way to them.

But however interesting you are, your “brand capital” matters: by which I mean your power (proven success in your category), presence (how often you’re seen), and reputation (consistency of competency and character). 

Few people or brands catapult directly into the national media from a standing start — not for the right reasons, at least. And remember, your peers and rivals are also targeting the same premium titles as you.

PR is dubbed “earned media” for a reason, so start small. It will prepare you for when the big beasts of the national press start to show an interest in you. It also does wonders for your search engine optimisation. 

And when you get media coverage, don’t sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Use your website, social media, and newsletters to put your point of view right in front of your target audience.

The fact that you’ve been featured in a media title at all says that a professional journalist considered you worth attention. This is why earned media has greater gravitas and reach, especially if you tag the journalist and they reshare the article with their audience.

Media coverage in (ahem) “lower-tier” media also helps you build relationships that may prove useful in future. That ambitious young journalist is unlikely to stay at forever — they’ll remember those who helped them when it mattered, and those who fobbed them off.  

So focus on the media that matters most, but realise that earning attention takes time. Until then, cast your PR net wider, and rinse any media coverage for all it’s worth. Like building brands, earning reputation is a marathon, not a sprint.

Main image credit: Getty

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