5 Ways Consistency in Your PR Program Pays Off
When people ask me whether they should hire a PR agency or do their own PR in-house, I often want to know what kind of budget they have for hiring. Too often, small businesses only budget for 3-6 months of PR agency support, which can lead to disappointment if you don’t have a plan in place for maintaining your PR program after the contract ends.
While you might think that hiring an agency to do a 3-month blitz is the most effective way to get publicity for your business, the truth is that consistency is the key to seeing increased traffic and sales.
I’d much rather see you send out one pitch a week than blast 100 press releases out in a brief campaign.
Why is this so important?
Here are my top 5 reasons for recommending a slow-and-steady PR program over a one-time blitz.
1. A longer PR campaign is more effective in introducing your work to a new audience.
One of the most important factors for building your reputation is simply showing up with your message, time and time again. You know that old marketing adage that a customer needs to see your business 7 times before they remember you? It’s true.
That’s about how much exposure it takes to encode your business into an individual’s long-term memory. So when you’re building your brand, it’s critical that you aren’t just a flash in the pan.
You need to get in front of your audience again and again.
If you do a one-time PR blitz, you might reach the same person two or three or even five times. But in a longer program, you have multiple chances over a longer time period to reach this individual, through the original placement and as you make a point to repeatedly share your publicity on social media.
2. Repeat exposure to your message and work builds credibility.
Think for a second about some experts and business leaders you trust. Chances are, you’ve seen them in the media or on blogs or podcasts a few times.
The more often you come into contact with an idea, the more credible that idea becomes.
This is how ideas — both good and bad — enter the mainstream. For example, part of the reason so many people still believe in the link between autism, despite the fact that the study it was based on was roundly discredited, is how often the idea and its proponents were cited in the media and on blogs.
On the flip side, repeat exposure to celebrities dumping buckets of ice on their head helped the ALS Association raise $115 million. One viewing of the Ice Bucket Challenge could easily be dismissed as a fluke, but when you look at a timeline of the campaign, you can see how the fundraiser took off after the 6th or 7th public challenge.
It’s hard to manufacture true vitality, but through PR, you can give your ideas more traction.
3. You get more opportunities to pivot.
A lot of business leaders come to B wanting to know what’s newsworthy about their product or business. They’re worried that there’s little to share, but more often than not, we’re working to hone in on the best story angles to pitch. For every new project, we start with 3-5 different pitch angles.
After working for a few months, we’re able to discern what’s most effective — both in terms of getting coverage but also in terms of traffic generation and sales.
A consistent PR program gives you the chance to learn and adapt your strategy and angles to the market, leading to you a lot more success in the long-term.
4. You’ll get better at it.
Just like any other skill that’s new to you, the more you pitch, the better you’ll get at it. You, or your marketing assistant, will start to see more opportunities, develop angles with more finesse, and get them out faster.
When I train small businesses to do their own PR, I tend to recommend that you budget 4 hours a week at the start, with the expectation that your time commitment will go down to 1-2 hours a week for pitching. Following up on press opportunities will take some extra time, of course, but that’s what we all want!
5. A longer program tends to lead to more coverage.
PR can be a numbers game. This means that, generally speaking, the more pitches you send out out, the more coverage will come back. I’ve found a 15-20% success rate to be a good baseline for most small businesses starting out with PR.
But this won’t be the case if you’re spamming press releases to journalists. The success rate goes way down if your pitches aren’t targeted to the contacts you’re reaching out to. That’s why, though it may be counterintuitive, a slow and steady PR program where you only pitch one contact a week will often lead to more placements than a one-time blitz reaching 100 or more media contacts.
Have you thought about launching an in-house PR program? Sign up for my email list to find out about training programs geared to thought leaders and small teams.