Media relations is sometimes like skipping rocks. It is all about technique, strategy and deciding what you want to accomplish, which in this case is parallel to your media relations campaign. Media outlets come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own unique audience. In this scenario, the water is the media and the ripples are the impact a PR campaign is making. The question becomes do you want to throw a big rock or skip a smaller rock? Both will create the result of displaced water, but in very different ways.
The Big Rock
The big rock is a mainstream media campaign. With it, you’re aiming at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and pretty much any other outlet that caters to the general public. The thing with big rocks is that they involve targets that are not always easy to obtain. It takes time to find these opportunities and there is a lot of competition. However, if you know where to look, it becomes a lot easier.
When big rocks hit the media, they make a big impact. For instance, we recently placed an article in a top mainstream outlet, The Guardian that created quite a ripple effect. After The Guardian published the single article, other publications took notice and picked up the same story only repurposing it for their own sites. Between the original article and all the resulting stories, the news received more than a quarter of a million social media shares. Although the rock only hit the water’s surface once, it made a big splash with an impressive, resonating ripple.
The Small Rock
While big rocks are always fun to throw, small rocks have the potential to make just as many ripples and can present more opportunity to garner a splash. Take for example a cloud magazine or website that is constantly covering topics that a cloud technology company can provide an opinion on. Almost every issue is a relevant opportunity. While these publications have fewer readers, the quality of this audience can be much better. It is much easier to target a decision maker with this type of publication, much like it is easier to aim a smaller rock. Sometimes you are able to get multiple placements in industry publications (or skips) in the time it takes to land one big mainstream piece.
We saw this very thing happen to us not too long ago. A greentech client’s end customer revealed that his first introduction to our client’s technology was through a contributed article in a trade journal that we placed. After reading the article, the end customer reached out to others familiar with the technology to learn of their experiences and eventually became a loyal customer.
Mix It Up
For a PR program to be successful, it shouldn’t be limited to one type of rock. A combination of big and small stones is needed to disrupt the status quo. Repeat exposure in a variety of formats lends credibility to readers, a mainstream article provides a WOW factor, a comment on an industry trend shows forward thinking and an in-depth industry piece can provide vital technical information. It’s the combination that truly creates a strong impact on a potential customer.
It is important to have a pipeline of opportunities. The mixture of throwing big rocks and little rocks – mainstream and industry coverage – creates a nice steady flow of information to the public. The mixture keeps the water rippling and your company’s name at the top of peoples’ minds.