Question: Do you need a PR Agency for media coverage?
This is a totally fair question. The answer is no.
But, if you don’t need a PR agency for media coverage, then why are there so many PR agencies and what value do they bring? Here are 3 reasons why hiring an agency helps you get media coverage. In her early years at Spanx, Sara Blakely famously used PR and not a single paid advertisement, and she did much of it herself early on.
PR strategy and emotional intelligence in pitching
Many people will tell you that PR agencies thrive off their media relationships. And this is true, particularly within certain B2B industries. But especially within consumer media outlets, the people writing are constantly shifting. Media is in a state of re-invention with reduced budgets, and many media writers and journalists are actually finding freelancing to be more beneficial. So while we’ve certainly developed deep relationships with journalists, it’s not uncommon for them to leave the beat or move to freelance. And it’s the keeping track of these relationships and their new contact info, along with relevant beats, that set the agency relationship apart and helps a PR agency for media coverage. We employ tools to help us quickly find the right people at the right time. We can also quickly find recent articles across a wide range of outlets, and this helps us get a better, more strategic sense of the likelihood that a particular journalist is interested in our story.
PR firms know the true target audience
What does a media pitch look like? You just email the journalist and tell them about your company, right? And then they email you back and you get media coverage. That’s how it works, right? Not quite. You don’t ACTUALLY need a PR agency for media coverage, right? Technically true, but journalists don’t view their job as helping you get media coverage. The journalist’s job is to tell a well-rounded story. Increasingly, the journalist’s job includes ensuring that the article gets eyeballs. When you’re talking to journalists, their needs must come first; that’s why it’s called media relations. At Avaans, we spend a lot of time understanding the shifting needs of journalists, we understand how to talk with journalists and how to ensure your company stays in front of the right media outlets at the right time for media coverage. Understanding how to support media outlets and their journalists is part is an effective reputation management strategy.
PR firms bring an outside perspective
If you have an internal and separate communications person, meetings and communication strategy along with internal comms likely fill their days. That’s a mighty big job already. The demands of that role make it nearly impossible to do consistent media outreach. But even if they do, an agency supports the brand with something else: an outside perspective. At Avaans, we often provide a brand insight that changes business outcomes. Because we view the brand with fresh eyes, we can identify gaps in coverages based on your business goals and inform you on emerging trends that are relevant to your PR strategy. If you do not have an internal comms person or your CMO doubles as your communication executive, then your CMO definitely wants a PR firm to provide PR insight. PR is part of marketing, but it has distinct differences and opportunities and a good PR firm like Avaans can provide insight into ways to combine marketing and PR.
The biggest brands in the world count on brand equity as a major part of their valuation; investing in PR makes brand value grow faster.