Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
Between print deadlines and calls for submissions, it can seem tough to navigate the waters of media relationships. It’s exciting to begin a press campaign for your company but with that, it’s imperative to understand press expectations so you can best determine if your efforts are successful.
Below, you’ll find our top things to keep you mind (and keep you going!) when managing press expectations as you represent yourself:
Patience is a virtue
PR takes time – it’s not a one-time overnight fix; it’s a continuous process. While it may be tempting to shoot out emails to every media outlet you think of, the best approach is a carefully calculated one. Take your time to properly research the media outlets that best fit your brand and create a media list based on your findings. From there, you can craft up a pitch to send along that shows how you can be of value to each outlet. With that said, keep in mind that not every pitch will get picked up but if you offer yourself as a resource and successfully engage with the editors, you can still consider that a job well done.
Print vs. Online
With the wealth of online media outlets and blogs that are available to us, it can be easy to overlook the value in a print feature. While it may not be your primary target, magazine placements can speak volumes about your company. When it comes to print, however, the pitching process tends to be quite different than that of online press. When we submit our features to an online source, we expect to hear back within several weeks and, if picked up, we expect to see it within a few weeks. Many magazines, on the other hand, are published quarterly, bi-annually, or even annually and come with strict deadlines, meaning you may need to hold on to that gorgeous wedding or shoot if you don’t pitch by the deadline.
Understand the value
When pitching to the media, it’s important to understand that not all press leads directly lead to new business. That’s not to say there aren’t other great reasons to do it. You’ll benefit from increased brand awareness, links back to your site (hello SEO!), third-party credibility, and you’ll set yourself apart from the competition – all things that will eventually lead to a surge in business.
Know the editor’s role
This one is important – at the end of the day, the editor controls the published content. Once you send your photos or copy over to an editor, you relinquish the control of how you get featured. Typically, this isn’t an issue since editors are great at what they do, but if you want more control over the feature, look into advertorial options which are pay-to-play.
Getting press is a major accomplishment and could be just what you need to push your company to the next level, but it’s important to remember that public relations is a strategic process and must be treated as such to be effective. Know who you’re trying to reach, what message you want to relay, and what media outlets can help you reach your goal – that’s the recipe for success!