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This is the second article in a series about leveraging media relations for your business and its leadership. In the first, we established the difference between earned and paid media. In this piece, we will explore the role media relations play in the success of your business.
Many companies avoid media interaction until it becomes absolutely necessary (such as during a crisis). Generally, this is because they underestimate the power of proactively engaging with the press. The earned media placements resulting from effective engagement practices have numerous benefits for brands and individuals alike.
Whether your company is a small business, a new venture, or a major corporation, earned media (media coverage) is an essential tool for increasing your brand awareness. Data has shown that it can take at least seven to nine impressions before an individual remembers a brand, meaning that each mention makes a difference.
Being in the news puts your business at the forefront of the conversation, allowing you to increase name recognition and draw in new customers without the cost of advertising. For established companies, earned media helps ensure your company maintains its share of voice and decreases the chances of being outcompeted.
The desire for thought leadership is ever increasing, giving more weight than ever to an executive’s reputation; this is especially important for B2B companies. According to the New York Times, 54% of decision-makers and 48% of executives spend more than an hour a week reading content that includes thought leadership. Other studies have shown that upwards of 96% of buyers desire more content that includes input from industry thought leaders, and as we mentioned in part one, 80% prefer to learn about suppliers from articles rather than advertisements. By offering a reporter insight into industry trends and challenges, or writing an op-ed, you are making your company a more appealing prospect.
Earned media placements are not only more desired by buyers than advertisements, but they also often exist online indefinitely, while ads are only served temporarily. According to Google, before interacting with your company’s website, a buyer averages 12 different online searches and the New York Times found that 47 percent engage with 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a salesperson.
In the B2C space, customer demands are growing more intense, particularly concerning societal, ethical and environmental issues. A study by ZenDesk revealed that 54% prefer to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the workplace and the community. Additionally, 63 percent of consumers want to buy from socially responsible companies. A separate survey from Customer Thermometer that some consumers are willing to pay up to 50% more for products and services if they feel the business is making a positive impact on the world.
Earned media serves as a means of keeping current and potential customers up-to-date about initiatives they may find relevant – and endearing. For example, a press release was recently issued by Rite Aid Healthy Futures announcing a partnership with Children’s Hospitals to expand access to equitable care. Learning of the retailer’s decision to provide $3 million in grant funding to 34 children’s hospitals could lead some consumers to make a conscious decision to shop there. Had a press release not been issued, they may never hear about the company’s efforts.
In addition to partnerships such as the one above, press releases can also be leveraged for numerous other purposes. For example:
The success of a press release is dependent on the personal connections you’ve formed with the journalists you’re reaching out to. Our team has decades of experience and an established, far-reaching network of reporters but without those resources, making the news can be difficult. In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss how to determine your media targets and how to engage with them.
Should you be interested in learning more about how public relations can benefit your company, let’s talk! To get in touch, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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