You Emailed and Asked…Nicole, How Do I Find Value in a PR Campaign?

The thing about PR is that you decide what the value is to you or your brand based on your earned media placements.

As a publicist, I know when you don’t value what I do.  I also know that you probably don’t understand how PR works and how I spend my time reaching out to media contacts on your brands behalf.  After a series of months of pitching and following up results come in.  I find that the clients who don’t understand how we spend our time are the one’s who can’t seem to find the value in PR.

If you are not being featured in a story or a TV segment, its likely that your competition is.  And your competition is likely either working with a PR team or they are doing their own PR to get coverage.  So what happens after you land an earned media placement? Your article comes out or your segment airs.  Do you know how to value and quantify the measurements of the earned media placement that you or your PR team has garnered for you?

Value in PR can be quantified and defined for you or your brand in many ways – depending on the person, team, expert, brand and feature or segment.  You can then asses the value of PR using a variety of available metrics.

1) Website visitors attracted by an earned media article
2) UVM’s from online articles (Unique Visitors Per Month)
3) Impressions
4) Viewership from the station/show where you booked your segment, market placement
5) Shared stories and re-tweets

General rule of thumb. If you get any media placement – you in turn earned incredible value.  Think about how lucky you are that you were featured.  I look at it this way – reporters, journalists and editors get pitched 100’s of times per day. Its a big deal that your story, headline and email pitch was opened and read and responded to with interest.  To get a placement is a big deal.

Last year, one of our clients had a book out and we booked a TV segment in Los Angeles for them.  Los Angeles is the #2 TV media market in the US.  This client exclaimed that they didn’t know the value of why they were doing the segment.  I was perplexed.  They had a book they needed to promote.  They were going to be on air in the #2 market.  They had to fly in to LA.  They were tired. They were overwhelmed.  They were short with us.  They were still building their brand and their name in the media. But they were building relationships with the media.

You see, I can help you see the value for doing this.  But I can’t convince you that you should do this.  I just know why you should.  I know how it will raise your credibility and your profile. I know how hard I worked to book that segment (many months).  I also know how hard I have worked to keep that relationship in tact and to continuously bring the producer amazing experts and brands.

Once we pitch you – and the media bites and we book you – you need to follow through.  Don’t decide at the last minute that you don’t seethe value or a reason to fly in to do 4 minutes of air time. If you don’t do it, your competition WILL. I should note that we are not breaking up our long term media relationships so that you can change your mind.  I will find someone else to take your place because I don’t want to ruin my reputation.You hired us for a reason and that was to build your credibility, relationships, partnerships and more…

When hiring a PR team here are some things to keep in mind so that you can gain more value from the partnership:

1) Your PR firm has a wide array of media relationships they have spent years building.  When you get a bite from an outlet, editor or journalist be quick about responding in a timely matter.  Ask necessary questions about the placement up front.

2) Ask to be updated on a weekly basis on everything your PR team is doing to get your brand out there.  If you have questions about the direction or the value of the outlets or placements this is the time to voice how you feel.

3) Be an active partner in weekly or biweekly team check ins to ensure your goals haven’t changed/to reassess your goals depending on what milestones you’ve been able to reach since signing on (aka the plan changes as you change).

4) Figure out the best way you can communicate with your PR team.  Some people like calls, emails or texts – decide what works for you or your team.  Make sure your PR firm addresses your concerns immediately as they come up (rather than waiting for the weekly meeting if it’s that important).

5) Consistently update your PR firm on story, message, tips and more so that you make it easier to land placements.

6) Be thankful and grateful for every media placement.  You are lucky to have them.  If you feel so inclined – send a note to the editor or producer thanking them.  They might even feature you again!

A client once asked me to book only television.  So our team worked to get tv placements.  They then complained that the #2 market and two National Show placements weren’t good enough for them.  I was horrified that they thought that it wasn’t good enough, since most brands I know would be over the moon about them.  If you think about the ad time for the brand for two earned media (free placements) those National show placements alone equaled $500,000 dollars of paid air time.  To me that was a win, a BIG Win.

I hope that you can gain a new understanding and awareness about how to value your PR and your placements.  The fact that you were chosen over hundreds of other pitches and stories is a big deal.