Q&A: The PR Results Time Frame: What To Expect
In this ongoing series, we’ll address commonly asked questions about public relations and business development.
Q: After signing on with WantLeverage Communications, how soon can we expect to see media coverage?
A: After signing on a new public relations client, we’re often asked, “how soon can we start seeing results?” While understanding the client’s need to garner immediate press coverage, the actuality of getting press hits right out of the gate is more often than not, unusual. Why? In a nutshell, public relations takes time, especially in a cluttered media market. It’s not like flipping a light switch, but is rather a longer-term image and relationship-building process that is cultivated over time. After signing with us, clients can expect an initial on-boarding period where the firm is learning about the client’s needs, analyzing the client’s competitors and their communications, developing a communications strategy, composing key messages as well as devising a media relations plan. All of these materials are focused around the client’s unique selling points – that which differentiates the client from others in the same class of business so we can help them to shine. In addition to all of the above, we’re analyzing media coverage of the client’s industry from a historical perspective as well as what’s current, to see how that industry sector or subject has been covered, and by which outlets and reporters. All of this data will help to inform the media pitch – a written letter to a journalist designed to catch his or her interest, enough to get them to want to call you for an interview, product demonstration, or whatever call to action you’ve indicated.
There have been occasional instances when the perfect media opportunity arises early on. This happened recently with a few clients – we got a consumer products client featured on a national talk show and secured a guest blog post for a professional services firm.
Clients that have just received venture capital funding, for example, may think that their “news” should be covered, but unfortunately the media operates differently. You have to look at the news cycle and outlets that are being targeted. For example, If we’re pitching long lead media outlets, there could be a 3-6 month lag between when we secure a story and when you actually see it published. It’s possible to secure guest blog posts sooner, within a month or two but not guaranteed. Booking speaking engagements at major conferences may be done from 6-12 months or more in advance. Having realistic expectations at the onset – that it could be from 60-90 days before press coverage appears – will make the process more fruitful and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship between the client and the PR agency.
Do you have a question about public relations or business development? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration in an upcoming post.