Why Companies Need to Start Planning a PR/Media Relations Strategy in Q4 for a Successful Year in 2018

Hiring a PR Firm to Plan a Full Year’s Worth of Advertising, Public Relations (PR) and Trade Shows is the Best Way to Generate Brand Share Awareness and Increase Sales

By Robert Hoskins, Front Page PR

Dallas, Texas – Employing a PR firm like Front Page PR in Q4 to help your company begin searching for free editorial opportunities, trade show speaking engagements for executives, building relationships with reporters and other types of marketing opportunities is the best way to make sure that your business will be able to maximize its mindshare awareness in the marketplace, while maintaining an affordable 2018 advertising, public relations, social media and trade show marketing budget.

Its time for Q4 planning ensure that your company has a great advertising, PR and media plan for 2018
Its time for Q4 planning to ensure your company has a great PR media plan for 2018

Media Planning for Small Businesses

The main difference between small companies and large corporations is how much time and effort is spent searching for public relations and editorial opportunities for the coming year and putting them into a media plan.

Small businesses typically have a CEO that is overloaded with work from wearing multiple hats and doing their best to navigate their way through the complex maze of PR opportunities within their various vertical B2B industry segments.

In many cases, many small business owners do not spend a lot of time thinking about PR or media planning because they have a small marketing budget. The good news is that public relations is by far the most cost-effective way to promote a small company’s products and services, but it is not as quick as spending money on paid advertising.

And sometimes when they do decide to gamble and hire a PR firm, they are prone to give the PR firm only a couple of months to generate publicity and they expect immediate results. What they fail to realize is that there are plenty of great editorial opportunities out there, but they exist on a media outlet’s editorial calendar and may only be available certain times a year.

However, being patient and working to target planned editorial articles such as inserting a product into single Buyer’s Guide and/or winning an Editor’s Choice Award could generate enough revenue to pay for a public relations campaign many times over. And building relationships with the editorial staff on known features articles may also lead to news articles when the company issues press releases.

Thus, writing an annual media plan Q4 for the coming year is the key to knowing when and where these opportunities can be found.

Media Planning for Companies and Corporations

Mid-sized companies and larger corporations dedicate percent of their gross profit to a integrated marketing communications budget, which usually includes a mix of advertising, PR, marketing, social media and trade show event marketing.

And while having a multi-million dollar marketing budget to work with may seem like a dream come true to a smaller business, it also comes with a fiscal responsibility to make sure that every penny is spent on the best marketing opportunities that provide the best return-on-investment. This is why most larger firms have a large corporate communications department and/or outside advertising agencies and PR firms to manage this entire process.

Smart companies hire a seasoned PR firm to write a media plan for the coming year, which takes a lot of time and effort, but is well worth the effort. To give readers a good idea of the work we do and what types of editorial opportunities Front Page PR can uncover and plan for in 2018, we have included a list of possible advertising, public relations, and marketing opportunities below for your review.

Advertising Media Plans

Every media outlet has a media kit that they provide to advertisers to potential customers know how much digital and print advertisements will cost. In addition, they provide an editorial calendar that lists many of the planned stories, product roundups, feature articles, trade show coverage, industry awards events, etc. on a weekly or monthly basis.

An advertising firm will use these editorial calendars to look for advertising opportunities where they can place advertisements adjacent editorial stories, which are the best match for their client’s products and services.

This allows clients to target buyers who are searching for products and services to buy based on the editorial information provided magazine editorial team in each article. When they read the article they will also have a chance to read the carefully placed advertisements adjacent to the news article. The problem is that if you buy a $1 million worth of advertising space, you only receive $1 million worth of media exposure.

Public Relations Media Plans

A good PR firm follows the same process, but instead builds relationships with reporters and editors to get their clients products included in the news, feature article or product roundup for free.  Instead of spending $l million on advertising, spending $120,000 on PR may generate several hundred thousand dollars worth of free publicity.

And, the publicity a news article can generate is five-times more effective and credible than any paid advertisement’s written sales pitch simply because they are written by journalists, not advertising execs.

Writing a 2018 Public Relations Media Plan

Generating free publicity is one of the best ways for both small, growing companies and large corporations to generate maximum mindshare awareness for their products and services on a cost-effective budget.

Here is a list of useful marketing information that can be extracted from most editorial calendars and media kits and written into a cost-effective 2018 Public Relations Media Plan:

Editorial Calendars – These contain a year’s worth of editorial opportunities and provide great insight into a media outlets editorial environment.

Product/Service Roundups – These will provide what types of products/services are planned to be reviewed and tested along with the deadlines products need to be submitted to the editorial staff.

Mastheads – These include a list of the editors and reporters, the news beat they cover and their contact information.

Building Media Relationships – Instead of sending cold media pitches reporters, working through this process allows PR contacts to begin building relationships with a real purpose based on future editorial opportunities, which also will lead to timely news articles.

Industry Trends – Reading through multiple publications’ media kits will also reveal the latest trends of leading edge technology products/services that reporters know buyers will be researching to help them evaluate new technology help improve their business operations.

Readership Research Studies – Readership research studies are great sources of information to learn about a media outlet’s target audience. The same is true for certified audit statements. They detail information such as geographic location, their job title, purchasing authority, plan to buy statistics, and other types of very useful facts and figures.

Trade Shows/Event Marketing – Important trade shows are listed on editorial calendars and for publications that have bonus circulation issues that are distributed in publication bins on the trade show floor and distributed to attendee hotel rooms.  This will allow a company to get a story published before or at the trade show and help drive booth traffic when attendees read about the new products being demonstrated at their trade show booth.

New Product/Service Rollouts – Timing product rollout announcements before or during a trade show can help any company double the effectiveness of a company’s press releases. All industry reporters and industry research analysts attend large trade shows and it is fairly easy to invite them to stop by the booth for a product briefing/demonstration.

Sponsorship Opportunities – For corporations with large budgets, there are all kinds of trade show sponsorship and marketing opportunities, which are contained in their media kits.

Speaking Engagements – Once a list of trade shows has been defined, PR folks can look for free speaking engagements where they can place their subject matter experts such as targeted panel discussions and keynotes speeches beside other leading industry experts, which are great for business development and a great way to collect business cards.

Industry Awards – Many magazines and trade shows also hand out critical industry awards that PR execs can target to get their products and services included in for possible consideration similar to product/service roundups.

Competitive Research/Analysis – This process also allows Front Page PR to learn an entire industry, its buzzwords, whose it’s industry leaders are, and how reporters are covering certain subject matters, which is the key to knowing how reporters think and write their stories as well as what media pitches they will be open to receiving.

Targeted Vertical B2B PR/Media Relations

As you can imagine this step-by-step methodology can take hundreds to thousands of hours to complete and amount of detailed work depends on the planned budget desired to be spent on PR during the year. Key factors include are the breadth and depth of the products and services offered to their customers and the number of VPs, directors and senior mangers that the company wants to promote through positive PR and news coverage.

For example, the client may be a solar installation company, but we can target multiple types of vertical business industries such as apartments, commercial buildings, warehouses, medical buildings, hospitals, churches, non-profits, waste management, dairy farms, etc. – all of which may have different valued-added business benefits from installing solar on their rooftop. Each segment will have its own category of B2B magazines that serve up editorial for their respective industry.

Smaller companies may only have enough money to target solar publications, but for companies that have enough money to target rooftops by vertical B2B industry segments, targeted PR messages developed for specific customer bases can very, very effective.

With smaller budgets, Front Page PR can help a business target only the top 20 A-List publications such as business journals, newspapers and broadcast outlets in their industry or geographic location and grow their business until they can afford to spend more and more on PR, advertising, and social media as their business grows.

With larger budgets, Front Page PR can repurpose a lot of information and simply change some keywords in the press releases and press kit materials so that solar apartment PR materials can be easily repurposed to target dairy farmers.

This is effective because pitching a dairy farming magazine on how free solar can help save dairy farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars on electricity bills will be a breath of fresh air to a dairy farmer reporter because it’s not the same old milking technology they write about every day, yet still highly relevant to their publication’s readers because it shows dairy farmers how to save money with solar.

If you would to learn more about utilizing Front Page PR to help your company write a PR Media Plan for 2018, please contact us at (512) 627-6622 or fill out this form to take the next step.

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