Ad Agencies: What Publicity Opportunities Are You Missing for the New Year?

New Years Blog Post 39308187491_5087e48ec3

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 taught me how to write for reporters, evaluate news like they do and develop effective working with them.

We had a small staff and typically were overwhelmed with requests and things to do; frequently, we were putting out fires. We did very little actual media pitching, 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, 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 sometimes had to be creative in coming up with story ideas and new angles. 

As you think about publicity opportunities for 2018, the following are some topics to keep your agency in the news:

  • Commentary about marketing trends/current issues
  • Sponsorships
  • Community involvement
  • Events
  • New clients, employees, awards, publications
  • New services, office expansion, etc.
  • Mentoring programs
  • Pro bono work
  • Guest columns in the local newspaper or business journal
  • Articles in relevant industry publications
  • Human interest stories about employees or clients (unusual hobbies, their community involvement, humanitarian work, etc.)

To expand on that last point about human interest stories, one of my favorites was an article our local paper ran about a real estate agent in the Nashville area who gives a portion of his commission for every house sold to sponsor impoverished children in developing countries. At the time the story was published, he was supporting 53 children in 19 countries.

Sometimes feature stories like this get overlooked internally, but they have great potential to build a brand.

Not only did this story generate positive publicity for the real estate agent, but it also was a boost for his company’s image. If I were looking to buy or sell a house, he’s someone I’d like to do business with because he’s a generous person who gives back to those less fortunate.

Goodwill like this is hard to quantify, but it makes a lasting impression in a way that no other marketing tool can replicate.

photo credit: KorneelPhotography 2018 via photopin (license)

Ad Agencies Top 20 Topics for Publicity

Agencies often get so busy marketing their clients that they fail to market themselves.  Publicity is a great way to get your name out in the marketplace, whether its local consumer media, industry publications.  Not only is publicity free, but it also has much more credibility than advertising.

Agency executives sometimes overlook the breath of publicity opportunities that are available to them.  Here are my “Top 20 Topics” to consider:

  1. Agency awards
  2. New clients
  3. New employees
  4. Employee promotions
  5. Human interest stories about employees
  6. Community involvement
  7. Client promotional success stories
  8. Introducing a new service your agency is providing
  9. Services or commentary that address newsworthy topics/trends
  10. Appointments to boards
  11. Publications (articles, books, etc.)
  12. New offices/geographical expansion
  13. Mergers/strategic alliances
  14. Trends, projections, forecasts
  15. Speeches
  16. Sponsorships
  17. Mentoring programs
  18. Pro bono work
  19. Guest columns
  20. Case studies that could become feature stories

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.