3 Ways Public Relations Makes More Cha-Ching
If you want someone to believe something, you will need some PR.
Media relations is a component of PR that leverages other people’s assets to pump up your assets. Placing your brand in a positive manner on a high-value publication allows you to co-opt the value of that news brand—and its audience.
PR agencies help place your brand in opportunities where reputable third parties can say things about your brand’s mission that carry more weight than if you said them. (Make sure you read the story about nurses and crisis communications later in this post.)
No matter where you find your brand in the buy cycle or circumstance, here are three ways that media relations can create more business opportunities:
1. Sales Cycle Begins With Brand Awareness
People do business with people that they like.
But before we get to “like”, your prospects must know that your organization exists.
PR experts utilize media relations to solve that problem by placing your brand in high-value, third-party news outlets that create awareness and credibility for your company. According to the “Rule of 7”, it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a prospect makes a purchase. In today’s fast-paced world built on distractions, that number may only get you noticed, which has a lot of business value by itself.
In fact, there are three important PR events that your company has with every single customer. The first most important date is the day that your prospect knows that your company exists. The second most important date is the day they buy something from your company. And the third most important date is that day they buy something else from your company, also known as “repeat business”, which is the gold standard. Any time your company can increase sales without increasing your marketing spend, that’s a big win and a bigger margin.
When Amerlux, a B2B LED lighting manufacturer, wanted to generate more sales leads for its interior and exterior products, CMA built a media relations campaign that introduced the brand in a deeper, helpful way to its nine target audiences, ranging from architects, and distributors to facility managers. CMA developed a yearlong media relations initiative, which leveraged earned, owned, shared and paid media, to drive marketing qualified leads (MQL) to Amerlux.com.
CMA’s PR experts created 20 press release campaigns for Amerlux that promoted new product launches and the company’s new webinar series. CMA also created and placed 26 feature articles in third-party news outlets, such as Architectural Products, Commercial Architecture, Retrofit Magazine, Facility Executive and Supermarket Perimeter.
CMA’s PR specialists delivered a 63-piece content campaign that spoke specifically to different audiences at different phases of the buy cycle. The content was framed to match different stages of the buyer’s journey, including awareness, consideration and decision, which connected the marketing effort with sales. The most popular blog posts, some of which were repurposed press releases, included “Amerlux’s New Track Light System Creates Countless Options” and “Hip to Be Square? New Look Rook Wows.
As a result, CMA PR experts secured 2,901 media placements that reached 61 million targeted individuals, which helped generate 20,218 pageviews for the original content on Amerlux’s site.
To accentuate the growing wave of interest from targeted audiences to the Amerlux brand, CMA PR experts also collaborated with CMA’s social media efforts that leveraged LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to deliver 12,234 engagements, 3,203 post clicks and 1,430 referral clicks to Amerlux’s website. Leveraging LinkedIn ads, CMA’s digital marketing team drove 470,760 impressions and 1,985 clicks to the Amerlux webinar series.
2. Thought Leadership Moves Prospects Down Sales Funnel
Your expertise and experience are invaluable. More importantly, these assets can be turned into the kind of PR that drives prospects back to your website.
From a business standpoint, you should always look for ways to set your brand apart from the competition. Your team’s wins are a big part of that “X” factor that can create its own space in the mind of a prospect, who’s secretly waiting to become your next repeat client.
Thought leadership is your opportunity get noticed in a way that helps your target audience; it’s basically a win-win for your company’s leadership.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMA’s PR experts built a thought leadership campaign for First Bank President and CEO Patrick L. Ryan, who leads a New Jersey state-chartered community bank with 16 full-service branches throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The campaign positioned Ryan as the proxy voice for all community banks amid the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided loans to struggling small businesses that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign put the smaller, regional community bank and its top executive in the same national headlines that included commentary from CEOs of the “Big Five” banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
First Bank’s CEO instantly became the top, must-interview community banking expert for PPP commentary and local COVID banking relief efforts. The list of national and local media outlets that interviewed First Bank and ran thought leadership analysis from him is a who’s who of brand name publications. Here’s a few: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNBC, CBS News, Yahoo! Finance, Inc. Magazine, the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, American Banker, NJ.com/The Star-Ledger, NJBIZ and 10 NBC TV affiliates throughout the country.
As part of the PR effort, CMA’s PR delivered more than 90 media placements and a reach of 701.29 million. More than 30 interviews were set up for the client.
From a bottom-line, operations perspective, First Bank’s financials improved along with the campaign:
- Net income for the client in 2020 increased 41% at $19.4 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, compared to $13.4 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, for 2019.
- Total net revenue (net interest income plus non-interest income) in 2020 grew 21.7% or $13.5 million.
- Lending added $324 million to the loan portfolio at yearend, with about $187 million coming from non-PPP-related organic opportunities.
- Total deposits of $1.90 billion at 2020 yearend, up $262.8 million, or 16.0%, from December 31,
2019, with a $148.3 million, or 53.8%, increase in non-interest-bearing deposits.
3. PR Really Stands for Problem Resolution
When promoting the need for the United Nations after World War II, Winston Churchill once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
He wasn’t wrong. There is a lot of public relations opportunity in chaos because it creates a problem that begs for a solution and a savior. With some quick preparation, your brand can benefit greatly from a crisis.
During the darkest days of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, for example, people were becoming gravely ill at an alarming rate in the New York/New Jersey region. There was already a nursing shortage to add to the mix. Intensive Care Units were slammed with demand.
CMA’s PR experts positioned the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) as the defender of nurses to its members and as part of the solution to a raging health care problem in a year full of crisis. The campaign told the story through every step from nurse recruitment to advocating for patient care with government officials to increases in personal protective equipment to vaccine distribution.
To begin the PR outreach, CMA’s PR experts built a crisis communications campaign, NJSNA issued a statewide “call-to-arms” to all nurses, summoning school nurses, company nurses and retired nurses to the frontlines of COVID-19 when New Jersey found itself at the epicenter of the initial viral outbreak.
The recruitment drive, which CMA supported with media relations, social media and email marketing, brought 1,610 additional nurses to hospitals throughout the state, which already was facing a nurse shortage. Several key state and regional news outlets picked up the news, including NJ.com (two times), NJ Spotlight, Burlington County Times and New York Public Radio (four times). In the summer months, CMA placed NJSNA on a panel discussion to talk about the role nurses play during the pandemic, which aired six times on Think Tank with Steve Adubato on several public television channels, including WHYY and PBS THIRTEEN. During the winter, NJSNA discussed nurses with post-traumatic stress disorder on several radio stations, including NJ 101.5, 95.4 The Point and 92.7 WOBM-FM.
CMA’s PR Department worked with editors at NJBIZ to craft an opinion piece from NJSNA’s CEO that underscored the daily trauma that nurses endured during the worst days of the viral outbreak. For safety reasons, infected patients, who were not permitted to see, or touch loved ones, would have died alone if not for their nurses. The placed feature article, “They Don’t Get to Hug Anybody – How Nurses Met the COVID-19 Challenge” captured one anecdote about a nurse who went to extremes to give her patient and his family one last moment to connect—through her.
The crisis communications campaign built NJSNA’s reputation, relationships and membership. In total, 1,610 additional nurses answered NJSNA’s call to action to join the front lines against COVID-19 between March 22 and April 7. Six key media outlets published the press release during the call-to-arms campaign, reaching a total audience of 237,836. WNYC Radio (NPR affiliate), which has a monthly audience of 24.3 million people, conducted an interview with a retired NJSNA nurse—and aired it four times. During 2020, NJSNA membership increased from 6,034 to 6,710, which is an 11% increase.
In boiling down public relations, media relations is about protecting and promoting your brand’s reputation and relationships, which are the roots of any successful business.