Two Ways to Better PR Efforts that Get the CEO’s Attention

December 6, 2009 · 5 comments

2Do you want the CMO or CEO to pay attention when you share the results of your PR efforts? Do you want to significantly increase the chances of them seeing your work as a critical piece in moving the business forward?

If yes, then I have a single, four-letter word that is left out of most PR plans and certainly out of most PR results reports, which will help you do just that – data.

I’m NOT talking about evaluating total impressions and number of placements and increase in online mentions. I’m talking about planning your efforts against actual market research and tying your results back to that.

The Bad News
Most PR and corporate communications budgets don’t provide enough money to do research.

The Good News
Within most companies’ marketing departments is a rich deposit of market research that you can use. You just have to ask for it.

Here are two ways you can use existing market research to create more meaningful PR plans by next week.

Better Targeted Geographies. Too many PR pros have a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to planning, especially within media relations. “We’ll target the top 50 markets, as well as online media and bloggers.”

Here’s my question. If the CEO and CMO place the San Francisco market as a low priority based on results of the company’s market research, how excited do you think they’re going to be when you update them on the great placements you got in the San Francisco Chronicle and on the city’s local NBC station?

Leaders within most well-run companies make decisions with a good deal of data in consideration. You should, too. Market research will help you better define the primary and secondary markets you should focus on. Spend more of your time – and your clients’ budgets – in those areas.

Better Targeted Messages. Market research can zero in on the cities, counties and states where your brand is the leader, as well as where you fall behind the competition. Group those places into buckets and tailor your proactive messages to those markets accordingly, instead of creating a one-size-fits-all “editorial calendar” of what you’ll pitch across the board for the year.

For example, you don’t need to pitch stories to the Houston Chronicle as part of a mudslinging battle of strong competitive messaging and comparative claims against your foes if your market research shows you own 85% of the Houston market. Use your time and energy there to tell a different story and act like the market leader. On the other hand, if you’re targeting areas where you trail, you may want to focus all of your efforts on competitive claims, experiential events with side-by-side comparisons, etc.

These are just two ways I’ve found that market research and data can create PR efforts with more impact – both in the eyes of your customers and in the eyes of the C-suite. What other ways would you add?

*Image by M.B.X.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Batt December 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

I appreciate you starting this conversation! We (PR folks) do forget to be more strategic in utilizing our time and resources. I like to do an assessment with the executive team about the company’s strategic goals and initiatives, targeted audiences that will get them there, their concerns, and finally assess how they are communicating with these folks. This spells out a much more strategic – and often data-driven – approach to media relations (both traditional and social).

Plus being strategic with you results will best supply the real bread winners (the salesforce) with the best targeted validation that they need to increase sales…something the media coverage may or may not directly impact.

Great conversation!


2 Mark McCulloch December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the quality of information you are sharing on here as I am learning so much from you.



3 David December 16, 2009 at 2:29 am

Thanks, Mark. Appreciate the kind words.


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