Beyond PR

May 19, 2017

Here Are Four Times When It’s OK to Go Off Message

 

It’s common for public relations clients to have a specific idea of exactly what topics they want to cover and which outlet they hope to be featured in, and they are often skeptical when presented with anything outside of that blueprint. In many cases, it’s the public relations specialist’s responsibility to convince them otherwise. We all know that a brand should have multiple methods of reaching goals to be successful, and that numerous successful placements that don’t directly reach the target consumer are still valuable for overall brand strategy.

While not all press is good press, the more earned media coverage you receive, the more likely you are to be noticed and remembered by your target audience. Here are four instances when you should consider going off-message:

Reach Your Target Audience

If you are presented with an opportunity to get in front of your target audience by discussing something that might be outside your niche, but still well within your area of expertise, take it. Waiting around for a client’s perfect earned media opportunity could mean missing out on plenty of other worthwhile placements.

Journalists and editors are working on their own agenda, so to get the media coverage you want, you sometimes might have to concede to discussing a topic that is not exactly what you hoped. Diversifying your talking points can be a good thing if you plan on building a relationship with the outlet in the future as it will keep your viewpoints and content from getting stale.

Bolster credibility and mention volume

Perfect media mentions won’t come around every day, and relying just on those opportunities can mean that your press isn’t happening frequently enough to be relevant. If your company appears in a multitude of other outlets, it increases the likelihood that consumers and other journalists will find you during their research. Working with lower tier (but still established) outlets can also be a great entryway to discussing topics within your area of expertise. If you are frequently quoted as an expert on a particular topic, your ideal outlet could me more likely to include you on future stories.

Display value proposition

The excuse “It doesn’t reach my target audience” is not a valid reason for not contributing to an earned media article, especially if it is with a well-established outlet. Media placements in high-tier outlets can be leveraged to land similar opportunities at outlets that do reach your target audience. Additionally, displaying media coverage from high-tier outlets gives you third-party credibility. A quote or published article in a respected publication validates your credibility in the eyes of the consumer and press.

Add SEO value

To survive and succeed in today’s digital age, it is imperative that brands have an online presence and can be easily found. Published content and quotes that are accompanied with a link to your website are extremely valuable in improving your website’s ranking. While you can’t guarantee that a journalist or influencer will link to your brand’s website when quoting you, in a contributed article you can ensure it is. As previously mentioned, quotes in well-established outlets are valuable even without a link to your website, but contributed articles allow you to ensure that links and keywords are optimized in your website’s favor.

If an opportunity doesn’t fit directly with a brand’s main message, your first instinct might be to turn it down. Before you do, consider which potential outlets and opportunities could contribute to each of your end goals. Maybe something doesn’t directly reach your audience but it gives you a ton of third party credibility or SEO. These types of media opportunities are always worthwhile when presented by a credible, high-tier outlet.

Don’t discount opportunities even if their face-value isn’t quite synergistic with your primary goal. Even if you think that a particular opportunity may be missing your target consumer, consider how it could add value and credibility to your brand in other ways.

Kaitlyn Smith Headshot.jpeg

Kaitlyn M. Smith is an account executive at Flackable, a national financial public relations and digital marketing agency. Follow Kaitlyn on Twitter: @Kaitlyn_Perez

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