The media are as important as our clients
In a changing media landscape, Suzanne Howe Communications (SHC) Senior Consultant Bill Bruce looks at the company’s relationship with the businesses that take its client’s news and views to a wider audience.
SHC features a highly-skilled and experienced team of PR specialists and copywriters, who create content that bring companies, brands and products to life. We ensure that our client’s messages are delivered to the right audience, at the right time, and in the most impactful way.
Managed properly, PR increases visibility, and strong media relations are crucial to secure coverage. We use the media as a communication channel which allows us to precisely target a relevant audience by using the outlets that they already read.
A circular relationship
As PR professionals, we are in an inter-dependent and circular relationship with the media and the companies we represent. Our clients need to share their news to raise their profile, reinforce their reputation, or increase sales, while the media needs stories, opinion, and information to feed its focused readers.
For a PR agency, media relations is all about building and maintaining strong relationships with members of the press. Websites, magazines, editors and journalists effectively create endorsements by promoting products, people, businesses, and services.
We have a saying here at SHC, that: “we treat clients and the media in the same way”. Neither one is more important than the other. They are equally as important to us.
We talk to the media regularly, and while news and content is still transmitted via email, we personalise the relationship, often pre-warning the media that a story is imminent and always following up with a call to see if there are any questions.
We constantly research our existing and potential media contacts, ensuring every applicable vertical sector is understood and reached through the most relevant media. With print, sometimes it is the length of time a publisher has been active which makes a difference, as longevity can lead to reputation, while for digital output some stand out for other reasons. For instance, one publisher in the packaging arena has taken their LinkedIn followers from zero to close to 33,000 in less than two years, and that’s impressive.
With online publishers, we consider factors such as domain authority rankings which can affect the accuracy and reach of a news portal. We look at their newsletter offerings and the quality and scale of their opt-in audience. We also consider how else they spread their news via social media, favouring LinkedIn over Twitter and other platforms, as we tend to remain focused on purely B2B opportunities.
Of course, most ink-on-paper publishers now also have a digital offering, and we look at how their digital editions are disseminated, as well as the frequency of news output on their homepage.
Forward features or forward thinking?
We support planned magazine features, of course – particularly in established titles – aiming wherever possible to provide ‘thought-leadership’ and insight. We also recommend bespoke features around hot topics and current trends which are just too timely to wait for planned features.
We sometimes recommend that our clients pay for coverage to support a campaign, but equally, we often achieve sufficient coverage without any extra cost. We have to be mindful of budgets and will only recommend the most relevant titles and those with the best reputations.
Measuring, monitoring and reporting
Finally, the monitoring of coverage is crucial to measure the success and reach of any PR campaign. SHC has an account management process that ensures a planned and measured activity calendar with regular strategy reviews and evaluations of activity, and we provide regular coverage reporting in co-operation with Ace Media, measuring audience reach across print and digital, domain authority, and brand mentions.
The strength of our relationship with the media helps to ensure we reach the right people with your news.