A wise man once said, “Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time.”
In the public relations business, much effort and energy is put into creating content, writing engaging news releases and story pitches, prepping clients for interviews, pitching reporters and tracking results.
But all of this goes nowhere without a clear understanding of your business goals.
When it comes to public relations, all your efforts must start with a clear statement of a goal.
Despite what I do for a living, I don’t believe my true goal is getting a client’s name in a major daily newspaper or on the nightly TV news.
Goals are things like growing your customer base, getting people to attend your event, securing donations to your nonprofit, or getting your piece of legislation passed. They are the things you do every day—they’re why you exist.
Media coverage helps you tap into the audiences you want to get involved in those goals; they are the magic carpet that propels you closer to your finish line. Experienced PR people help a client align an earned media strategy with those goals to help an audience take action.
Media can be organized into distinctly different groups: geographic (where people live), subject matter (topics like business, tech or culture) or industry and demographic (men, women, parents, seniors). Understanding how these groups are organized can help you understand whether your PR pitches will resonate with a particular reporter or editor, because the reporters need to make decisions on what to cover based on the audiences they serve.
So, before you write that news release and blast it out to the world, take a moment to sit back and ponder your business goals. Identify what you want to share about your business and what you want your audience to do once they find out about you. That approach—a far more thoughtful one than just seeking out “hits”—will allow you to find the media that will help drive your business.