January 23, 2018

Three Common Questions I Get on the Regular

By Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg

PR can be a mystery. In fact, I have been doing PR for 18 years and I’m still surprised to realize that many of my closest family members still don’t quite understand what I do for a living. It’s really much more than getting people on TV and in magazines. I have been thinking lately of the most common questions I receive and here’s what surfaces.

  1. Do you think PR is a dying industry?

No – not even close. The more noise there is out in the world, the more important it is to have clear messaging and strong relationships with your target audiences for whom your success or failure depends. Thanks Dr. Broom—that little tidbit is straight from his formal definition. He happens to be one of the most influential educators in PR and I had the pleasure and honor of being his student.

Social media is making PR more important than ever. Social influencers aren’t minimizing the influence of credible journalists, they are elevating them even more. Establishing authentic influence is where it will always be. Even with the rise of influencers, there is a difference between the influencers who have impact and the ones who don’t. Despite what people think, the impact of your regional major newspaper always wins. I know…you disagree now, but when we secure that big hit for you, you will see and just like the rest of our clients, you will want more, more, more. So no need to dive into that question—do newspapers actually matter anymore? We consistently see the biggest impact.

  1. Do wire services still work?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. Why were wire services created? They were created pre-email days back when contact information was published in a big green book. You had to manually enter in mailing addresses, that’s right…I’ve been doing this so long that at my first job I mailed press releases.

The wire services were designed to give media access to information precisely when you wanted the news to be released rather than the high price of paying for courier service or priority mail with no guarantee of a timely arrival. Then email was born. You finally had the power to dictate exactly when and what media could receive and you could add customization. So, the wire services had to get clever and they started to tout that this supported you with major placement and strong SEO. Big Pappa Google didn’t like that so much and decided they would rather benefit from big advertising spends and made those links obsolete.

Other than flooding the internet with links that have very little value, the short answer is no. You will never see a major media hit from a wire service. Nor will you ever actually find the phantom link if you search for the story from the front end of any of the publications your team is trying to tell you were secured. If you enjoy giving away your money, I can make several recommendations for charities in need.

  1. How long does it take for a media relations impact to provide a return?

I always get asked this and people always think they will be the exception to the rule—which I hate pointing out, because there are always exceptions.

You will begin to see a return from a local campaign in three to four months and you will begin to see a return from a national campaign in six to eight months.

This heavily relies on lead times. We can’t change the rhythm of the industry. How this has changed is by incorporating short-lead opportunities with influencers, bloggers, and other online media outlets, but for the big ones to hit, you are still going to see the lead time.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have. Please share them with us and we will be sure to answer them soon.