Access Granted — Now What?

February 15, 2017


(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

As many of you now know, Barokas Communications came together for a company All-Hands meeting last month – more info on that in an earlier post by Karli. One speaker that resonated with me was Seth Levine, Managing Director at Foundry Group. Seth discussed the changing nature of PR and how it is no longer a business molded around “media access.” Instead, public relations specialists need to show our value by measuring the success of the opportunities and hits we secure for our clients.

In today’s social media and technology landscape, any company can quickly find and contact a reporter or analyst – whether this be through a quick Google search, by visiting the publication’s masthead, or even sending a quick DM on Twitter. Our role as the access-granters is no more. PR must embrace its primary role of communications strategist. This includes advising clients on the right messages, placement of those messages (traditional media, social, etc.) and how to measure the effectiveness of those placements.

Since this conversation less than a month ago, I’ve already had multiple conversations with clients about this very topic. Recently, one of my clients reached out to her colleagues internally, asking for feedback around a coverage report. While all the feedback was positive (great for us, right?) the one common variable that kept coming up was the action taken by the publication’s readership. Beyond visibility, clients want to understand how articles are leading to overall engagement with their audience (clicks, shares, etc.) and ultimately, customer acquisition.

PR needs to do a better job of providing insights on coverage to show clients how stories align with the company’s mission. How many times did this article lead to a click-through to the company website? What is the readership of the publication? What is the SEO score of the link present in the article? These are all questions that should be answered when it comes to coverage.

Another example from the same client — this time in the social media landscape. The company recently announced a new executive in Chicago and wanted to make a big splash in the media. We worked hand-in-hand with the newly-named executive on the media outreach strategy and landed awesome hits for him in Forbes, PitchBook, Venture Pulse, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Business Journal, to name just a few.

While the media hits were high profile and the executive was happy with the media’s reception of his new position – it’s the engagement he received on social media that really made the announcement impactful. The published articles spread on Twitter and were retweeted by prominent VCs with large followings in the tech industry on a national level. The viral nature of these stories resulted in the announcement becoming a trending topic on Twitter in Chicago.

The key takeaway for PR folks is this: while top-tier media hits are great to gloat about on a company website, don’t count the smaller pubs out of the picture. These stories could ultimately deliver a larger impact via the social media landscape. You never know, they may help your client become a trending topic on Twitter!




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