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PR Beyond Media Placements

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When one isn’t embroiled in the public relations industry, it can be difficult to explain exactly what PR is — or what it’s supposed to do. Many people may believe that PR is simply getting one’s name out there in the media, but it’s so much more. 

While media placements are a significant part of a PR strategy, they are not the be-all and end-all. A comprehensive PR approach must include storytelling, brand recognition, thought leadership, and many other factors to be truly well-rounded and effective. A successful PR professional knows how to leverage all areas of coverage and multi-channel marketing for their clients and think beyond media placements. 

Communicating with Critical Audiences 

PR is all about getting the right information in front of the right people and the right time. These critical audiences can be reached through traditional media, but there are also other avenues for reaching these targets. The best PR takes a holistic approach to getting one’s brand media attention and in front of the right audiences. 

Nuance plays a significant role in PR. While stacking up media mentions can feel good, having a nuanced approach to where those mentions are and how one’s brand name is featured can make the difference between effective PR and mentions that simply pile up with no movement of the needle. 

Thought leadership and OpEds are two ways that people can reach and engage with just the right audience for their brands. By positioning oneself as an expert in a field or one who has leadership qualities in a certain niche, the quality of the placements starts to take precedence over the quantity. People will begin to associate the brand name or the client’s name with certain ideas and guidance, and that can elevate that client’s status within their field — even outside of a large quantity of media placements. 

The critical audiences that we mentioned are often clamoring for thought leadership pieces, as they are seeking out opinion pieces and niche market insights. If clients are seeking a direct line to the most impactful target markets, thought leadership and OpEds may be their ticket. 

Building Relationships with Stakeholders 

Many leaders in client organizations or even within communications and marketing departments may believe that PR is simply media placements as well. To educate stakeholders across all channels, the PR professional must focus on building relationships with those key people. 

PR professionals should go into a relationship focused on building an appreciation for the multi-faceted role of PR by highlighting the work they have done for other successful campaigns that went beyond simple media placements. This can include thought leaderships that have been built, events, or increased sponsorships gained for clients. 

Additionally, PR professionals need to be ready to explain the value of different channels to stakeholders. A client may not understand why it’s valuable to have their product mentioned along with other products for a gift guide or why it’s sometimes necessary to do non-promotional, bylined pieces. 

The role of the PR expert is to explain to stakeholders how these moves elevate their brand, get them noticed, and establish them as important people or businesses to watch.

Multi-channel Options 

We have talked about thought leadership, OpEds, and non-promotional expert pieces, but what about other options for PR that go beyond media placements? 

Events are a great way to get one’s brand seen and noticed. Whether a client is hosting an event or taking part in someone else’s event, getting coverage of the event can be a game-changer for a client, especially if they are just getting their brand off the ground.

Sponsorships, like events, can elevate a brand quickly and get their name in front of the right people. Podcasts are incredibly popular today, with 464 million worldwide listeners, so landing a sponsorship on a prime podcast where the brand and product are mentioned can be a huge win for a client.

Influencer marketing is also relevant. There are some social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok where influencer marketing has shaped the way people make purchase decisions or develop loyalty to certain brands. 

Messaging that Resonates

When it’s all said and done, PR is adaptable to the needs and desires of the client. When a client first sits down with their PR professional to hash out their strategy, the publicist should know which channels and approaches will work best for that client’s niche market. 

The most important factor in PR is to spread a message that resonates loud and clear with the right people. Getting media hit after media hit can be great, but if it’s not the right media or the right audience, the numbers mean very little. 

Considering options that go beyond media placements allows a message to grow, adapt, and influence in several places. When both the PR professional and the client are willing to diversify coverage, the results can be better than the client ever expected, and the intended messaging can be heard loud and clear.

About the author


Alexia McKay

Alexia McKay is a working journalist, publicist, publisher, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is a founder and publisher of RoyalTee Magazine, a quarterly publication that highlights young people of color in the business, community, and entrepreneurial fields, and RoyalTee Gen, a lifestyle outlet that speaks to the Gen Z population. She is also the creator of Rattler Girls Rock, a platform that highlights women of Florida A&M, and promotes sisterhood and HBCU unity. She is also a publicist at Otter Public Relations, where she manages media outreach for a diverse array of clients in the areas of politics, lifestyle, entertainment, and business. She has over a decade of journalism experience and has nourished her talents at BET, CBS, FOX, ABC, and Spectrum news affiliates as a television producer.