Tag Archive for: what to look for in a PR firm

The cost to hire a PR firm should align with the impact you expect your PR firm to have on your business goals. If you’re hiring a PR firm to grow sales, then the expense of your PR firm should reflect the importance of that on your brand. Don’t expect to grow your sales 100% by investing an additional 5% in PR. For example, if you’re in maintenance mode and need a responsive rather than a proactive PR agency, that cost should be less than a proactive media relations and media placement campaign, which can reach billions of people.

In general, solopreneur firms, or less experienced PR firms might charge around $3,000 per month, depending on the client and the market. Larger firms, premium agencies, and boutique firms can charge upwards of $18,000 to $25,000 per month for their services. Businesses in fast-growing or emerging industries can also affect PR pricing. How do you know what’s fair and what rate to pay? Consider some of these factors when looking into whether a PR firm is right for your business.

If you are contemplating the cost of hiring a PR firm, chances are you already know the importance of establishing your business’s image. Positive PR can help increase brand recognition, loyalty, and community goodwill. However, you might be wondering, how much does it cost to hire a PR firm?

 

Why Experience Matters in PR

Understand that while experience is important, it can also be costly. Established PR firms with track records of success tend to charge more for their services. Hiring experienced PR professionals can be costly. Most often, a firm’s reputation is established through the skill and experience level of its employees.

Like in any industry, with PR, experience matters. Many top PR firms will employ former journalists and experienced PR professionals and for a good reason. Former journalists have a wealth of contacts in the media industry. These people also have contacts at non-profit organizations and with community leaders, among others.

These contacts are extremely valuable for pitching stories for their clients. Former journalists also understand what media companies are looking for when it comes to story ideas. They can craft attention-getting press releases that stand a better chance of being seen and picked up instead of being tossed in the trash heap of yesterday’s news. Former journalists also tend to know the best people to follow up with after issuing a press release or event notice.

The same skills and connections can be true for experienced PR professionals. Those with experience in the industry understand the intricacies of the business. They are masters of communication who know how to get a message across and which avenues offer their clients the best chance at positive exposure in the media. Understanding the nuances of marketing and portraying a positive image are honed skills needed for your business’s PR firm.

 

Why Pay-to-Play PR is So Dangerous

Careers in PR and journalism have a natural connection. It’s why so many former journalists tend to expand their careers into the PR realm. However, businesses need to be on the lookout for a potentially dangerous practice called pay-to-play. Pay-to-play is a phrase that refers to professionals making undisclosed or under-the-table payments to journalists or media companies in exchange for publishing a client’s story.

This behavior is generally considered unethical. Local media outlets should be viewed as a public service. A newsroom assesses the merit of stories and gauges how interested their audience will be in the information that they provide. Paying for coverage is both unethical and potentially deprives an audience of newsworthy content.

It is also dangerous because media outlets have a duty to report to their audience when a spot or story includes paid content. Paid content includes commercials and ads. A potential consumer knows that the information provided has been paid for by an advertiser when they view a commercial. Pay-for-play is essentially duping an audience into thinking that the content is unbiased. However, if a PR firm purchases airtime under the table, it misrepresents the impartiality of the content.

Setting Goals and Expectations with Your PR Firm

Do your homework ahead of time before committing to a PR agency. Sit down with your team and outline your goals and expectations. What are you hoping to gain out of your relationship with a PR firm? How much of your budget are you willing to dedicate monthly to a PR firm? You need to be honest when answering these questions and establishing your objectives. When you have your goals firmly set, schedule meetings with a variety of PR agencies.

When consulting with a PR firm, consider asking these questions to assess whether the firm will be a good fit:

  • Do they have experience in your particular industry?
  • What is their communication style?
  • How do they measure success?
  • How will they go about generating leads and coverage?
  • Do they know how to manage crisis situations?
  • How will they help you reach your goals?

Don’t be afraid to also ask questions about their fee structure. Budget is a big factor in deciding whether to hire an agency or keep your PR work in-house. A PR firm should be transparent when discussing what they charge and how their fee structure works. You may also want to ask how long it takes their team to craft a press release or set up for an event. Understanding how many hours a typical project can take may help you evaluate whether a PR agency is cost-effective for your business.

To help foster a successful relationship with a PR firm, you need to communicate your goals upfront and set your expectations early. Doing so means that you and the firm start on the same page and can track results throughout the relationship. Meeting with a company before you hire them allows you to gauge how comfortable you are with the firm and how they will manage the reputation of your business.

At the end of the day, hiring a PR firm is an investment, but only if you find an agency whose goals align with yours. When deciding if a firm’s prices coincide with your company’s budget and needs, consider your goals, specific industry challenges, and the expertise of a firm’s staff. Do not be afraid to ask tough questions because the reputation of your business may depend on how your PR agency responds. The right PR agency can be an excellent investment in your business.

Cannabis businesses who are new to PR have a lot of decisions to make. Many of our clients have never hired a PR agency before and the process can seem daunting. That’s why we came up with 3 tips for cannabis companies new to PR. At Avaans we work with a lot of hyper-growth or early stage companies in emerging industries, so we’re pros at guiding ambitious companies to the next stage of growth. Often our clients are CEOs or CMOs who understand why PR is important, but maybe haven’t engaged a professional PR agency before.

Am I Ready for PR?

 

If you’re new to PR and you’re asking yourself the question, you’re off to a great start.

If you’re new to PR, you might be confused about what to ask an agency. For more strategic PR partnerships, ask the agency whether they think you are ready for PR. That will tell you how prepared they are to work with a company of your PR readiness. If a firm tells you that you aren’t ready for PR, what they’re saying is “You aren’t ready for our PR services.” We believe it’s important to consider PR from the very first moment.

The next question to ask yourself is how much bandwidth you have for PR. We started our consumer product PR sprints for very early growth companies or companies without huge budgets. Our PR Sprints are an excellent way to look underneath the hood of working with a PR agency, without a long-term PR contract. The PR Sprints are also great for cannabis product launches.

A full-scale bespoke PR program is more successful when the PR agency has a key contact at the cannabis company. Bespoke programs are for consumer brands committed to strategic PR outcomes like pre-IPO or investment, or attracting top talent. Bespoke programs are for companies and brands that have a long-term vision for the company and can state their 3-year and 5-year goals. B2B PR are also bespoke PR campaigns because every B2B campaign has dependencies as distinctive as the company’s leadership, product, and ambitions.

Naturally, budget comes into play, but working with a PR firm is like hiring a contractor – you rarely want the cheapest. If you’re new to PR, you’re in the early stages of reputation and branding, and this is a critical time for new cannabis brands. In particular, a cannabis company needs to invest in trust-first positioning and can’t take risks with the brand, because there is less brand equity.

Another way to know whether you’re ready for bespoke PR? Being crystal clear on cannabis public relations goals and outcomes will make choosing a firm, and a time to start PR much easier.

How Do I Look, Hunny?

Starting a cannabis business means jumping through a lot of hoops, and sometimes branding and marketing seem like it takes a back seat to the regulatory hurdles for cannabis companies. How does your packaging look on the shelves at a dispensary? How will it look on the pages of a magazine? Are your product images professionally shot? Do you know who your customers really are? If you’re still figuring out your website or tinkering with formulations, then focus on those items first, or at least go with a shorter-term, very focused PR campaign. Starting with a freelancer could also be an option at this stage as well. But in general, bespoke PR firms are worth the investment if you’re clear on your brand, its customers, and the look/feel of your packaging and product.

What’s the Best Time of Year To Engage a PR Agency?

Journalists and editors are planning months in advance. This means your PR pitching should start months in advance, too. This is one aspect of PR that many new-to-PR companies struggle with: the need to plan in advance. For example, PR agencies will want photos and product descriptions months before

The fall months are a dynamic time for the cannabis industry. There are cannabis industry tradeshows and conferences happening, award winners announced, and of course, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the December holidays, and New Years’ Eve all add up to massive revenue opportunities for cannabis brands. For consumer brands new to PR, the fall can be one of the most valuable times of year to get editorial coverage for consumer brands. In fact, up to 40% of coverage for consumer brands happens during this time of year, so that’s a great time to pack a PR punch. We developed our consumer brand PR Sprints to include fall cannabis PR for this reason.

For B2B cannabis PR, the equation looks a little different. If you’re looking for a feature on a product launch or an executive, planting that story takes planning on behalf of the journalist and editor who have to fit it into regularly scheduled articles. Starting B2B cannabis public relations in the fall may be right for you if you have big plans for the spring. B2B PR, like thought leadership, speaking engagements, and cannabis industry visibility have more dependencies, some of which – like when speaking engagement submissions close, aren’t in your control. If you miss the window for this year at a particular event, there are only a couple of avenues to take, and most of them include spending a considerable sum of money. Campaigns and activations around key industry events may take longer to plan and implement, especially cannabis industry events. In short, B2B PR often requires longer lead times.

For consumer brands new to PR, there are some advantages to starting PR in the second quarter. But not if you’re planning a big 420 splash or product launch. You really aren’t giving yourself enough time to maximize your 420 if you’re starting in Q2. At that point, the question is really should you do a 420 campaign? On the other hand, if you’re a consumer or CPG cannabis brand who tends to have a summer-based sales cycle, say cannabis beverages, then starting your PR well in advance of the summer is a great idea.

Starting a new PR campaign in January gives most brands a superb runway to plan for everything the year offers, regardless of whether it’s B2B or B2C. We love starting the year off together with new clients, but this isn’t a time of year to start new projects for everyone. If your product does particularly well in February for Valentine’s Day – then starting in January is too late.

Being a cannabis company new to PR doesn’t have to daunting. Contact us with questions about hiring an agency, and what to look for. We love working with cannabis companies in all stages of growth.

What does it mean to be a modern PR agency these days? There are 3 characteristics of a modern PR firm. Today’s modern PR firms are trust-focused, digitally savvy, purpose forward, and customer-obsessed. This means modern PR agencies can think long-term while staying nimble enough to be a strategic and operational resource in today’s fast-moving world. It’s difficult to do both, but that’s why modern PR agencies are so valuable.

Can a legacy PR firm also be a modern PR firm? Absolutely. And, a new PR firm isn’t necessarily more modern than a legacy PR firm. Digital PR firms aren’t necessarily more modern than those who focus on earned media. That’s because our characteristics supersede age and services and for depth and maturity. Depth and maturity are particularly important for fast-growing brands and hyper-growth companies because these companies need the savvy and emotional intelligence of a modern PR firm so they can stay nimble and focused.

 

      1. Trust Focused

        Modern PR firms are trust-focused. Consumers today are incredibly savvy. After all, we’re exposed to roughly 10,000 messages a DAY. To understand why trust is so important to modern PR, we have to go way, way, back into how we evolved. Our brains haven’t quite evolved to deal with this kind of input, so as a result, we manage this input in our subconscious. One of the most basic human survival functions is trust, that’s why we organize into social tribes. We trust our social tribes. See where this is headed?

        Today, our default reaction to almost anything is suspicion – even our most established institutions get the side-eye. 6 out of 10 adults say they distrust something until they see evidence.

        While there are initial trust signals, trust is the long game. Trust signals need to be consistent and thorough. Consumers today quickly recognize brands who say one thing, but do another. They recognize greenwashing, they see through insincerity. But it’s not just the cost of distrust that hypergrowth and fast-growing brands need to consider, it’s also the advantages of trust.

        Which means we trust brands who act and signal in ways that we trust. Our source of trust can come from several signals, but earned media, that is coverage where a brand, or person, is characterized in a trusted outlet and/or trusted person in an independent and organic manner.

         

        Trust becomes a brand cornerstone because trust begets loyalty and loyalty begets advocacy. Trust is also a considerable cornerstone to brand value. You can’t really have considerable brand value without considerable trust. And damaged trust, on a grand scale is incredibly expensive to repair.

        That’s why modern PR firms place an important emphasis on trust – because they know that’s what their clients are really after. It also takes discipline for a modern PR agency to stay trust-focused, for the same reason it takes discipline to be a trusted brand-there are indeed short-term shortcuts that look good today, but can have devastating affects in the future.

        A GREAT modern PR firm will help you define a wide range of strategics and values and aligned KPIs so you can track your trust-building efforts.

      2. Digitally Savvy

        Modern PR firms are digitally savvy. This doesn’t “only” mean they understand social media. It also means they understand how to earn trust in digital formats from forums to social media. It means they know how PR and SEO can work together, and where they separate. Digitally savvy PR firms are monitoring review sites, your search results, and other digital signals for red flags. Digitally savvy PR firms understand how earned media, paid media, social media and owned media work together and how to pull the levers of each type of media for a stated campaign aim.

        Digitally savvy PR firms also have their pulse on other avenues growing in influence. For example, media relations today include trusted magazines, blogs, and increasingly newsletters. Newsletters are an outstanding example of trust AND digital intelligence. Think about it – if you’ve given your email to receive a newsletter in your inbox, that’s a big trust signal. Several years ago, newsy newsletters took on renewed relevance and when Substack courted journalists, it was another endorsement for newsy newsletters. Some of Substack’s email publishers are making well over $100K per year on subscriptions. Newsletter impressions and reach are difficult to track, but that’s offset by the incredible trust value they bring.  While the “ROI” might be difficult to pinpoint, the digitally savvy PR firm knows how to evaluate newsletter appearances

        Using digital tools wisely also helps a modern PR firm deeply understand your customers or target customers. Our deep analysis isn’t only observational, it’s data driven from a multitude of sources, that give us a wide view of what’s happened, and what is likely to happen. We also use a multitude of sources to engage on a deeper level with journalists.

      3. Purpose Forward

        Because consumers are aligning with their tribes, it’s more and more important for brands to align with a larger purpose. Purpose, like trust, is an inside-out job. Purpose HAS to be authentic. The good news is that for most brands, there actually is an authentic purpose; it’s just a matter of aligning that purpose with other campaigns, including sponsorship, social media, word of mouth, and earned media.

        From an earned media perspective, it’s rarely enough to have a purpose. It’s important that brands today activate on purpose and align on purpose. There’s no doubt that purpose can be a landmine, so that’s where public relations comes in. Modern PR firms are emotionally intelligent and able to guide brands on choices that may be consistent with their stated purpose. PR can help guide ad campaigns, sponsorship, and influencer campaigns to improve outcomes and brand reputation.

      4. Customer Obsessive

        How can a PR agency help its clients improve trust, loyalty, and brand if it isn’t client obsessed? Now, your definition of client obsessed might differ from someone else’s. That’s why it’s important to know the client characteristics that you really need. Do you need a PR agency that is on-call 24/7? Do you crave a stable, intelligent PR team that becomes an extension of your team? How does your PR firm stay aligned with your strategies and objectives, even as they change? Our entire model is based on your needs – from our Strategy Driven Pricing  to our Product PR Sprints for DTC or CPG brands everything we do is designed to move the needle for you.

 

Today’s modern PR firms come in all sizes, from the extraordinarily large to the boutique. But to be a truly modern PR firm, it takes a village, so it’s not enough to have a micro-agency or freelancer. No one person can see the entire landscape alone. Smart agencies hire emotionally intelligent team members. At Avaans, we hire emotionally intelligent PR executives. Our experienced team has successful track records and comes from an array of backgrounds. That’s why we call our team the A-Team. If you’re a fast-growing or hyper-growth or ambitious brand, and you’d like a modern PR firm that’s also experienced, please reach out to us.

What is the difference between public relations and communication? PR and communications are so intertwined that distinguishing between the two may seem like splitting a hair. Public relations always involve communications, but communications does not always involve public relations. For example, advertising is communication, but it is not a form of public relations. The term communications encompass a variety of positions, skill sets, and ways to promote a company’s message both internally and externally. More than ever, there are many similarities between public relations and strategic communications. Both require skill in delivering the desired message to customers, media, and stakeholders using the best communications techniques for their audiences and their organization’s goals, such as written word, video, graphics, and photography. The communication tools you use, including PR, depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

We Always Communicate, Intentionally or Not

People who go into a communications career often have a knack for conveying ideas through writing, speaking, or graphic design. Both verbal and non-verbal communications provide the foundation for specific communications professions, such as journalism, advertising, marketing, public speaking, graphic design, public affairs, advocacy, videography, website design, social media specialist, and public relations. Professional communicators are able to articulate the implications of a particular message – will they will perceive it as trustworthy? Will it be memorable?

When is Communications “Strategic?”

“Strategic communications” is knowing when to use a specific communications vehicle, method, or discipline – such as advertising or social media – in order to accomplish the goals of an organization, campaign, or movement. In other words, strategic communications is considered the intermingling of public relations with marketing, and at times, adding advertising as well. Used strategically and holistically, there may be very little difference between public relations and communication.

For example, if you are running for public office, your goal is to get elected. Your strategic communications planning may include a lot of grassroots advocacy work, which puts you into neighborhoods, knocking on doors, speaking at public school events, or holding neighborhood rallies. You may also use paid advertising to ensure your specific message gets out to the potential voters at specific times of the day or in specific places, like the billboards of key neighborhoods or on certain social media platforms. And you almost certainly have a media relations component.

A business that is launching new product,  may also use advertising to promote the benefits of its product or draw comparisons between its product and the competition. Some marketing tactics include holding special events with the public, inviting them to try your product for free, or offering discounts.

Both examples may want to try to get unpaid or “earned” media attention through a journalist that covers voting activities or your company’s product. This is called media relations and goes hand-in-hand with public relations.

PR: The Definition is in the Name

A public relations professional works to develop, foster, and maintain positive relationships with the public or other identified stakeholders which can include the shareholders, policy creators, customers, and even employees.

A PR professional uses several communications tools in their relationship building, particularly writing. Most PR professionals will write press releases for news media, give presentations or press briefings, or write for company executives. They exercise persuasion and work to present their organization in the best possible light—and they do it by “earning” publicity and public goodwill versus paying for it, as advertising professionals do. They also try to limit or mitigate any negative information or crises.

While public relations may be persuasive, the best PR professionals understand that being truthful is the cornerstone of PR. In the early 1900s, a man named Ivy Lee considered the founder of modern public relations, argued that the public deserved honest and accurate information versus simply persuading an audience.

The profession took another turn when Edward Bernays, a member of President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information, advocated that PR professionals use psychological precepts that target emotions to elicit the desired responses from an audience. (This makes sense when you realize that Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew.)

A glaring example of Bernays’ philosophy in action—and genius in tying it to a current event—was his success in tapping into women’s emotions amid the suffrage movement by declaring that cigarettes were the enlightened woman’s “torches of freedom.” By smoking in public, women were declaring themselves equal to men.

The shift toward true relationship building as a tenet of public relations occurred during the 1950s and 60s, as the public began to protest corporate power in America. Organizations began to see the importance of building relationships with their audiences and promoting two-way communications, which is still the touchstone of today’s PR profession.

PR’s Evolution

Some people still consider PR as “propaganda.” Bernays himself wrote a book simply titled “Propaganda.” His long-tenured influence on public relations undoubtedly had a great deal to do with other derogatory adjectives commonly associated with PR, like “slick” or “hype.”

PR’s early inroads into America created a catalyst for change. In 1948, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) was formed. Soon after, the organization developed an ethics code and voluntary accreditation for PR practitioners. Professional PR professionals take professional ethics seriously because PR is a powerful tool that is an investment in your company.

The Bottom Line

History teaches us that as society changes, public relations—and all communications – also change. The difference between public relations and communications waxes and wanes depending on the public’s trust of particular message delivery mechanisms. The rise of social media demanded that PR professionals build their communications proficiencies. Print newspapers and magazines declined significantly, highlighting the need for digital communications. These changes, along with other media and audience consumption, have blurred the lines between PR and multiple communications competencies. Americans’ trust in the news media continues to decline, making earned media less of a PR weapon than it once was.

 

There is a range of emerging industries in the global marketplace, from psychedelics to drones and UAVs to cryptocurrency. Many people discuss how a new concept, technology, or product can affect everyday life. Although there’s potential for some emerging industries to become successful, multiple barriers could affect profitability, that’s why emerging markets have special PR needs.

Informing the public of a new product or idea requires proper planning. Using the correct public relations (PR) strategy is also necessary. Most people don’t know about new products in the early development stages. That’s why PR can be a valuable tool in getting the word out to the masses.

Here at Avaans Media, we’re experienced at putting PR to work for our clients. We can help you get your product known by your target consumers and create strategies to help you grow your brand. Contact us today so we can discuss how we can help in your specific situation.

 

Emerging Industries Significantly Depend on Education

 

Cell phones, electric cars, social media, and other once-seemingly-impossible inventions are now commonly used products. Accepting a new idea isn’t something that happens immediately. Companies in an emerging industry must educate consumers and get them excited about a product that can improve their lives.

A brand’s success depends on consumers’ understanding and adopting a new trend. Companies must inform customers about the positive impact of the product to influence purchasing decisions. Additionally, a new industry researches who its audience might be and using strategic and targeted communication to connect with them.

 

Benefits of Public Relations for Emerging Markets

 

Public relations is an effective stepping stone to earned media and third-party endorsements. PR can provide an unbiased opinion from media sources the public trusts if used correctly.

An experienced and knowledgeable PR professional knows how to perform tasks necessary to a company working with an emerging market, such as:

  • Providing the media with accurate and unbiased information
  • Developing key messaging for the brand
  • Getting the message out to early adopters, resulting in a trickle-down effect to the consumer
  • Leveraging opportunities for experts to speak about the industry
  • Strategizing the appropriate communication channels for the product or idea

 

Emerging Markets PR Has No Limits

 

Many people think PR is only about writing press releases to inform consumers about products. However, public relations involves open discussions, strategic planning, channels for brands to discuss their expertise, and high engagement. It includes editorial opportunities, serving on panels and conferences, producing thought leadership and bylined articles, and building trusted media relationships.

These PR strategies are affordable. Unlike advertising, which can become a significant expense, the cost of PR is minimal. Additionally, there aren’t as many restrictions in public relations. When you have an interesting story to tell with a third-party endorsing your product or idea, it can influence consumer behavior.

 

Relevance of Public Relations for Emerging Industries

 

Companies with an emerging market need PR more than ever. Having a partner deliver your message so consumers know about the product is vital. Remaining competitive requires standing out in the crowd. If no one believes your product or idea is better than someone else’s, consumers might go to your competitor.

Investing in public relations is worth it to achieve your professional goals. You want the masses to know who you are and what you do. Without the right platform to inform consumers of your brand, you likely won’t make a profit or become successful within your industry.

 

Creating Your Public Relations Strategy in an Emerging Market

 

Influencing the behavior and attitude of others is a crucial part of public relations. If you’re in an emerging market, you must develop the correct PR strategy to accomplish your objectives and goals. Below are the steps you should follow while creating a public relations plan for your product.

 

Outline Your Goals

Your plan should begin with goals for your PR efforts. When entering a competitive market against companies with an already-established brand, you must determine what you want to accomplish.

 

Whether you want to become a major player or live harmoniously with your competitors within the same industry, what you set out to do should be reflected in these goals. Write down everything you want to accomplish with your new product, service, or idea. You can outline your overall goal and include smaller accomplishments you want to achieve along the way.

Research the Market

 

Becoming successful in an emerging market means performing extensive research. You must learn everything there is to learn about the market. Your research should include gaining knowledge about media narratives, relevant trends, and audience opinions.

While performing your research, you should also review communications regarding your brand on multiple platforms and channels. Look at your website and determine whether your audience can navigate it easily or might have trouble learning about your product. Analyze metrics for your social media platforms and how much engagement they get.

 

Learn About Your Target Audience

A PR strategy isn’t useful unless you get to know the audience you’re targeting. You should consider demographics, interests, lifestyle, and other vital factors. If you don’t put your product in front of the consumers most likely to purchase it, your brand won’t grow.

 

Getting to know your audience also requires understanding how they perceive your brand. Since you’re in an emerging market, you can’t rely on previous performance and sales. You should analyze data, monitor the media, and ask your target audience their opinions.

Set a Timeline

Emerging markets include various products, services, ideas, and brands vying for attention. You could fall behind your competitors if you don’t move through your timeline efficiently. Although you should handle your PR strategy correctly, you don’t want to enter the market after everyone else.

 

List every objective involved in your PR plan and choose a realistic deadline to meet each one. Ensure your objectives are attainable and specific. Broad goals can waste your time and might not even accomplish your aims.

Choose Tactics for Your PR Needs

You have an endless number of PR tactics to choose from as a new business in an emerging market, from social media posts and press releases to events and conferences. However, if a tactic you use doesn’t portray your brand correctly or achieve your goals, you should devote your resources to something else.

Below are the most common public relations tactics companies use in emerging markets:

 

  • Press releases – It might seem old school, but press releases are highly effective. A press release is a reliable communication tool that gets the word out about any topic you choose. You can use a press release to inform the public of your product, an event you’re hosting, and various other information.
  • Influencer marketing – Your PR plan might benefit from including a social media influencer. Influencers offer their opinions of products and direct the public on whether to buy them. If an influencer’s followers are part of your target audience, you can use their platform to promote your brand.
  • Media outreach – The media has a significant influence on consumer behavior. You should understand how and who to pitch your idea to. Stay in touch with key media outlets and nurture already existing relationships. It’s also a good idea to consider their schedules, so you can discuss your product or service at the most opportune time.

 

Contact Us

Avaans Media has extensive experience managing strategic PR campaigns for businesses in emerging markets. We know how to create effective public relations strategies to help our clients establish brand trust, build and maintain reputations, and grow their businesses.

If you’re interested in discussing how our PR professionals can meet your PR needs in an emerging market, do not hesitate to call us.

Do you find yourself asking “What will I get for my money if I hire a PR agency?” You might even see offers for guaranteed media coverage. But should PR agencies guarantee media coverage? The reasons the answer is “no” might surprise you. Any PR agency that promises earned media coverage is putting their journalist contacts at risk for journalistic ethics violations. Guaranteed PR coverage is not only unethical, it can even be illegal. “Guaranteed” PR coverage rarely lives as long as earned media coverage. Finally, it doesn’t have the authority and trust that comes with credible earned media.

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Pay-to-Play Earned Media is Unethical

Sadly, we’ve seen it all, including journalists fired for violating professional journalist ethics. Violations might include not disclosing a monetary relationship or other conflict or interest. Paying a journalist under the table to write about a company or a product is the signal of an inexperienced, desperate, or unethical PR agency. These agencies don’t garner favor by journalists who value their jobs, and getting a journalist fired isn’t the way to reinforce media relationships. And when you hire a PR agency that does this, you’re attaching your brand’s reputation to unethical and even illegal behavior. No matter how cheap guaranteed PR coverage is, the cost to your reputation will far outweigh any benefits.

There is such a thing as legitimate sponsored coverage. And while sponsored coverage LOOKS like an article, it’s actually an advertisement. Secured through a media outlet’s advertising team, never directly with a journalist, sponsored coverage is a legitimate form of advertising. The FCC always requires sponsored coverage to identify itself as paid. Even Google wants to know what links are sponsored, and not tagging them correctly is an SEO risk authoritative and important media outlets won’t risk. Press releases are a great example of paid or sponsored coverage. Paid placements have a role in a campaign, and any good PR agency can make recommendations about how to use these tools in your campaign.

Guaranteed Coverage Isn’t Usually Authoritative

The primary reason fast-growing brands and hyper-growth companies need PR is for both exposure and trust that typically comes from earned media.

Today’s readers and content consumers are incredibly savvy. After thousands of hours of advertising exposure, most consumers can sniff out the difference between advertising articles and journalistic pieces. Like all advertisements, ethically secured readers’ and viewers’ trust earned coverage because journalists maintain independence.

We’ve seen self-proclaimed PR experts use their positions as media contributors to promote their clients; we’ve seen these same people banned from esteemed outlets like Entrepreneur and Forbes. Most times, the brands paying for this coverage did not know that what the “PR expert” was doing was unethical or illegal. No one wins in this situation, certainly not the brand who thought they paid a PR firm to secure high-value coverage. This is especially painful because once discovered by the media outlet, that content is often removed from their website and therefore the internet; this rarely happens with earned media coverage which lasts as long as the website is up.

Sponsored or Paid Coverage Doesn’t Last as Long

While earned media takes strategy, expertise, and yes, time, ethical sponsored or paid coverage doesn’t last as long as earned coverage. Sponsored and paid coverage, while it has its place, is like any other advertisement: it typically runs for a limited amount of time, then it disappears. One of the underappreciated perks of earned media is its longevity.

There’s nothing wrong with sponsored or paid coverage. We’ve seen some really remarkable pieces of sponsored coverage that went beyond the advertisement and well into providing true value for readers. The Washington Post, the New York Times, all do spectacular special projects like this. The starting cost is usually in the $50,000+ range. Regular ad rates for a premium location like the (printed) back page hover around $30,000 per ad, volume discounts usually apply to annual contracts. But hey, you’re getting ad placement in one of the world’s most credible news outlets at least once for that price.

 

Today’s modern PR firms are savvy in today’s media landscape, including traditional, paid, and digital mediums. We take our professional PR ethics very seriously, including guaranteed media coverage. Hire a PR firm you can trust and trust your PR firm.