Think PR! Think Media Relations – A Vital Component to Marketing

The world is in lockdown and it is chaos. But sales must go on and marketing needs to deliver leads. That is marketing’s major headache – how to generate leads when tried and tested channels and tactics are out of bounds. Major trade shows are cancelled or have gone online, direct communications are being crowded out as the deluge to the inbox is overwhelming prospects. It’s a tough place and working from home in isolation, the task can seem impossible.

Think again!

For most enterprises, the bulk of new business leads comes from lead generation campaigns and events; but this should not be mistaken for the bulk of new sales in any one year which typically comes from the existing customer base. This is going to be very helpful right now as existing clients don’t need to go through the rigorous qualification stage needed for new prospects and instead, the marketing energy can focus on the whole Public Relations portfolio.


Customers – Tap on your database

Starting with customers, how about re-segmenting the client list and making your Direct Communications campaigns work that much harder through more focus and relevance. After all, these are the companies who have already committed to you and let’s assume they like working with your products or services, so explore how you can help them keep the competitive edge. That way you grow the leads, build the loyalty and bring in the business.

Explore campaigns focusing on other company relationships such as the partners and even suppliers. How can these be furthered to bring in prospects or even suspects? Now is the time to make sure staff, investors and the broader community know that plans are being put in place for the new post-Covid-19 reality and commitments maintained.


Media Relations – Your secret weapon

Our favourite relationship, and arguably the strongest tool in the Marketing Kit is with the media. Remember media relations 101, the power to “Inform and Educate”. While we are all struggling with the lockdown, there are media houses and professionals out there also looking to keep their show on the road and maintain the loyalty of their readers. This means delivering relevant stories that resonate beyond the obvious Covid-19 headlines which have flooded the news portals in past weeks. Readers need to be kept updated on what’s happening in their industry sectors and at the same time educated on how companies can adapt and pivot for success in these difficult times.

Interestingly, the publishing industry is one that has been making the transition to online for the best part of five years now. With the advent of social media and user-generated content, (or enterprise publishing as we call it), the drop in advertising revenues, has made the “Work-From-Home” challenge for the rest of the world, just business as usual for many of our media friends. Having said that, publishers are constantly exploring new ways to engage and keep their audiences’ attention so we do see significant opportunities to work with our media partners to dominate regional, global and societal thought leadership conversations.

As we live in information bubbles, traditional newspapers and media channels; industry and sector magazines; online and social media; and key opinion leaders and influencers play different roles in broadcasting, promoting, validating and verifying information for a society that is vociferous in its appetite for content. By leaning into this and working with media to promote concepts, competitive business angles, consumer and individual stories, we generate conversations, participate in commentaries and increase the value of our organisation as an influential voice in the media.

Media relations is a powerful tool that has the power to influence and shape perceptions. While the phone may not ring off the hook the minute an article is published, it engenders confidence and enables content about your organisation to be re-published and shared. The media is a hugely powerful channel to promote wider education and awareness and open the door for that first engagement.

As we work within the restrictions of Covid-19, the only real difference we see is that instead of getting a journalist out for a meeting, lunch or a coffee to discuss happenings, industry trends and gossip, today –  and for the foreseeable future – we will Zoom, Skype or video conference together. Easy to set up, this does present a problem for many spokespeople because even as a one-to-one channel, this is still a TV or broadcast interview and all the etiquette and rules of good media interaction still apply.


Spokespeople – Your Living Brand

Here at Priority, we work extensively to train our spokespeople on the fundamental rules of media engagement. In Zoom or video conferencing, an interview is already global TV and “buying time” while working out what to say is not an option. Every small action is amplified and larger than life; what is said becomes a soundbite and what you don’t say leads to conjecture.

Spokespeople need to maintain the flow and momentum of what they have to say and vitally important, they need to understand intuitively the end audience – after all, that journalist is a conduit to their readership – and then tell relevant stories that will capture interest. But it is all worthwhile.

As consultants with over 35 years’ experience in Asia, we are taking advantage of this no travel period to work with our clients and take them through a workshop on media relations techniques to make sure that their brand gets the boost and the right attention that they need.

We urge you to Think PR! Think Media Relations – Think Inform and Educate! Start with talking to the media themselves and getting them to understand your unique value proposition and where it fits in today’s market. At Priority, we help organisations transition to leaders and trusted advisors in their space by leveraging the world of the media. From our offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and across Southeast Asia we are working with leading multinational firms making a difference to local communities.

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