Posts Tagged ‘PR’
Here is a way to very effectively generate publicity without the need for an expensive agency. The names of the journalists who are currently writing about your product or service specialty area are right in front of you on the Google News section for everyone to see.
For example, I recently wished to generate an article for a client, a non-profit association working in the employment field. I particularly wished to help generate the article on the Associated Press knowing that if I were successful it would be syndicated to thousands of newspapers and other publications. I went to the Google News search bar and typed in “employment” and “Associated Press.” Up came many articles with the bylines of the authors at the top.
Let’s say that in one case the author’s name was Arthur Pascal (not his real name, of course). By surfing around it was not hard to determine how the Associated Press email addresses were configured. It was the first initial and last firstname.lastname@example.org — so in this case it would be email@example.com. I then wrote to Mr. Pascal suggesting the article I thought was newsworthy. I included as much supporting material as I could and I made as compelling an argument as I could. I did not “hype” my offering but added credibility by backing up my argument with facts as to why my suggestion was original and had not been covered elsewhere.
Two weeks later I got a call from the reporter at the Associated Press. He was interested in researching background for the article I suggested. Thus commenced a period of literally about two months in which this reporter interviewed just about everyone he could find related to the topic I had presented. The Associated Press dates back to the 1840′s and they are very thorough about their credibility and their research.
The wait was well worthwhile. The day after the “A.P.” distributed the resulting article it appeared on more than 50,000 websites (really, 50,000). Soon thereafter the article began appearing in most of the nations’ newspapers. I have now built what I believe to be a great relationship with the journalist and he calls on me for additional story ideas in the same related field.
This, of course, is not an everyday event….but if you go after smaller fish than the Associated Press you have a better chance of getting published. One great advantage of tracking down journalists this way is that you know they are the current people writing about your subject. When you subscribe to a P.R. database most of the names are months old and most of your “pitches” to the media bounce back to you.
The most important thing to remember is to approach journalists with a real story…not a “spin” of the facts in your favor. Also, I believe in sending personal email letters rather than standard P.R. releases. There are sites on the Internet where many as eight releases appear per minute and a little known secret is that there is no one in the media whose job it is to look at these releases…that is why they rarely generate any coverage. Good Luck. I will be reading about you!!
We are grateful to Richard Berman for contributing this valuable information for ActSeed members and readers. Richard was a News Editor for the NBC Nightly News, where he wrote for Tom Brokaw Jane Pauley, Maria Shriver, Connie Chung, Chris Wallace and many other prominent broadcast journalists. Now, as President of Berman & Associates he helps clients as a Publicist, Public Relations Practitioner and Promotional Writer.
RNN9JSHBCTWX I see more and more service models offering pay-for-performance options. Companies and business leaders accountable for hitting goals with marketing and PR budgets are constantly looking for ways to add certainty to their marketing and PR investments.
We entrepreneurs are always looking to extend our reach into our targeted audience with the most frugal budget, especially in our most nascent stage. Reality: very few of us reach the national morning shows or become blessed by Oprah without some help; only few of us even achieve our goals as an effective guest on a local affiliate morning show without a little help and grooming. But how much budget can we afford without some certainty that our choice to help shape and shepherd our public relations strategy achieves the goals we set?
While few professionals can afford to work on 100% contingency, many are starting to drastically reduce their base retainer and make it up by delivering solid value to clients. At the very least, a PR professional that lives by this model signals their confidence in bringing you material value.
I invited David Oates of San Diego’s Stalwart Communications public relations firm to give us his professional pitch on “Pay for Performance PR”. He lives it every day with his clients and he certainly welcomes your comments here or directly to him (his email is at the bottom of this article). So now, “sans plus de cérémonie” (without further ado)…
Entrepreneurs: When choosing PR Firms, think results, not retainers!
By David B. Oates, APR
Companies of all shapes and sizes are demanding that their marketing budget be measurable as well as profitable, and generate adequate returns on the investment made. So why is it that many PR professionals and agencies still resist client efforts to align their fees to a business metric, opting instead to use the traditional – and largely academic – ad equivalency index?
Instead, entrepreneurs should demand that their PR firm embraces performance-based rate structures, as the ability to measure results is now much more cost-effective and readily accessible. This model aligns a majority of client fees to actual results, such as pinpoint article placement, speaking opportunities, industry award recognition and customer/partner/investor lead generation.
Think and Act Strategically
When choosing a PR agency along these lines, companies must look to see if its principals – first and foremost – think less like a Marketing or PR person and more like business managers who thoroughly understand their client’s business and competitive landscape. Communication practitioners should be able to clearly comprehend how their client’s executive team and board of directors measure success. While sales will undoubtedly reign supreme, other aspects of the business will retain significant value, such as:
- Profit margins,
- Distribution and technology partner agreements,
- Investor (private or public) interest,
- Rate of customer acquisition,
- Strategic product roadmap,
- Average sale price per customer and so on.
Agencies will fail to realize true success if their evaluation differs from – or worst case, contradicts – the criteria of their client.
How Performance-Based PR Revenue Models Work
Under a performance-based model, a PR firm should charge a small amount of a client’s budget to a monthly program fee in return for offering that company unlimited hours of work. This eliminates the potential for agencies to be perceived as “nickel-ing and dime-ing” clients for time spent on non-valued items. The remaining budget should then be structured in performance fees where clients pay only as results occur. Some examples include:
- Articles placed, tiered by size, circulation and demographics,
- Speaking opportunities secured,
- Industry awards secured,
- Qualified customer, partner, investor leads brought into the pipeline,
- Web traffic increase and subsequent conversion rates,
- Unsolicited PR opportunities secured,
- Brand value/perception audit increases with targeted audiences
The benefits of performance-based revenue models are numerous and mutual for the PR agency and the client:
- Performance metrics/expectations are outlined and agreed upon in full between
- the agency and the client before an agreement is executed, since it will determine
- how and for what an agency gets paid.
- The business risk is shared between both parties. The agency doesn’t make its
- money unless it can produce.
- The ROI is embedded in the fee structure.
- Client satisfaction and understanding increases.
- Client retention increases.
- Client turnover/churn decreases.
- Client referral rate increases.
Performance-based PR fee models also apply to all aspects of public relations and marketing – and not just media relations as some would believe. It’s all about setting measurable goals and aligning fees accordingly. Some examples include:
Agencies can tie their fee structure to their effectiveness in meeting those goals, such as where and when those key messages were portrayed in a broadcast or print story and how many resonated with key stakeholders. PR firms could also measure their effectiveness by how long the crisis lasted when compared to other similar events.
An organization can most certainly look at internal communications for its value in improving employee retention and recruitment rates. The reduction in employee churn and increase in productivity are indeed quantifiable and mission-critical elements in any organization. PR agencies need to recognize this and align their fees accordingly.
Counsel to Execs
Oftentimes, PR professionals offer such counsel to ensure executives can either solidify key messages and/or effectively convey them to their stakeholders and media. PR agencies should create benchmarks as to the capabilities of an organization before and after such counsel and measure the improvements over a period of time. Firms may also find that this program’s benefits extend beyond corporate communications to the marketing product management, sales/customer service and investor relations departments.
More and more clients today are asking their PR firms to share the burden of generating results. As a result, this sharing model will drive performance-based revenue models to evolve as the industry standard for the next decade. The underlying question to all of this is whether one believes PR efforts can be measured and benchmarks can be set. To that, I answer with an overwhelming yes.
About the Author: David Oates, APR, is the President of Stalwart Communications Inc., (www.stalwartcom.com) a San Diego-based marketing and public relations firm. He also runs a social media site, PayonPerformance (http://payonperformance.com), to engage business leaders in discussion on this business model. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.