My first job in public relations was with an international nonprofit organization. I was blessed to have a terrific mentor, a former newspaper editor who took me under his wing and really helped me understand the news business. He taught me how to think and write like a reporter, and how work with them successfully on stories about our organization.
We had a small staff and typically were overwhelmed with requests and things to do. All too often, we were putting out fires. We did very little proactive media work to generate publicity, except for some of the large events we held.
At the time, my idea of media relations was when the phone rang we answered it, and if it was a reporter calling we did our best to be helpful.
When I went to work for a large PR firm years later, I was immediately introduced to the concept of generating publicity for our clients by coming up with ideas and angles for what would hopefully be positive coverage.
And, by the way, the clients expected ongoing coverage, so we had to be persistent and sometimes creative in coming up with story ideas and new angles.
Consistency is an important part of an effective PR program, and finding ways to keep your agency front and center is vital to a program’s overall success.
- Think of it as the drip, drip, drip approach to keeping you in the news.
One of the most galling things for agency principals is to watch from the sidelines as competitors are quoted and featured in the news media. Even worse, agencies that were not part of the story may actually have more experience and expertise than the agency that received the coverage. Of course, the impression people get is that the folks quoted are the cream of the crop in their profession, which may or may not be true.
It’s no accident that some agencies get more ink and air time than others. It’s because they have an intentional, ongoing, strategic effort to get their names in the marketplace, and they have made PR a priority.
With that in mind, here are some publicity topics to help keep your agency in the news:
- Commentary about marketing trends/current issues
- Community involvement
- New clients, employees, awards, publications
- New services, office expansion, etc.
- Mentoring programs
- Pro bono work
- Guest columns in the local paper or business journal
- Articles in relevant industry publications
- Human interest stories about employees (unusual hobbies, their community involvement, humanitarian work, etc.)
The effort is worth it. A consistent PR program can help agencies not only get more exposure to important audiences and build their brands, but also compliment their new business efforts.