It’s no secret that the broadest PR coverage is usually born of topics tangential to our clients’ core brands.
While chat about the specific product we’re trying to sell might be advantageous from a conversions point of view, finding a journalist willing to feature what is essentially advertorial content within their editorial platform is nigh on impossible.
That’s why savvy PRs - of the traditional and digital variety - have found creative ways to expand their reach, often tapping into topics that might seen in no way relevant to the brand they’re intended to promote, solely for the purpose of achieving the feature or the link.
But (hopefully) we can all agree that - especially when it comes to digital
practices where the relevance of a link is as important as the quality of the site from which it’s given - the very core of PR still lies in our ability to position our clients favourably and with the right messages in the right places for them.
Take Response Source as an example. It’s a fantastic platform (and I’d recommend it to anyone in the PR industry). It’s a way of connecting us to journalists and vice versa so that, when they have a need, those journos send out requests and PRs respond accordingly with comments or content from their clients.
The benefits of this are obvious; a direct link to the media means more opportunities to connect and the fact we’re responding to them means we’re able to position ourselves - the PRs - as useful
But when you’re on the receiving end of dozens of requests each day, it becomes almost like an addiction. You can fall into the trap of trying to respond to everything, to gain your client as many features/links as possible - regardless of how relevant it is, or how tenuous the link to their brand.
Take another example: content marketing. It’s an area of creative marketing that’s really grown in recent years and for good reason, too; content marketing is all about broadening your audience by creating content in a more engaging, more valuable, more useful way than anything else already out there.
However, when we stray too far away from what we’re actually supposed to be promoting, we can end up with content that looks really cool, but the likelihood of its audience to actually go on to buy something is slim-to-none.
That’s why frameworks like circles of focus
are so valuable. Through this simple way of thinking, we can ensure our campaigns retain an appropriate level of topic relevance and that they feed the conversion funnel
as opposed to simply gaining mass coverage.
Here’s how it works. Imagine a target, like an archery target. At the centre lies our core focus. This is the topic(s) we/our client is best placed to be known for. If your client sells cushions, their core focus is cushions. If they sell digital marketing services, their core focuses are SEO, PPC and so on.
The next circle encompassing the core is known as the ‘secondary focus’. This comprises anything which is related to the core topic but a step further away. For our fictional cushion client, this might be soft furnishings, home improvement and design. For our digital agency, it might be marketing more broadly, offline marketing and business growth.
On the outer layer sits our tertiary focus. This is where we move even further from the core, but the topics should still be relevant and you should still be able to see how someone interested in one of these topics could eventually be interested in your core topics, too. For our cushion client, this could be broader design considerations, the psychology of colour, how to add value in property development, and so on. For our digital agency, it could be topics related to making money in business, or to the location in which the agency is based.
The point of this exercise is that we’re considering how the topics we seek to promote our client within are related to their core areas of expertise. Not only does this ensure we stay relevant, it means we are able to show credibility in our clients when we put them forward as ‘the expert’. It also means we can talk to the client about how our work is feeding the conversion funnel, and work with them on techniques to move our tertiary audience through the secondary and into the core - where conversions are much more likely to happen.
PR is all about positioning our clients favourably in front of their target audience and with messages that are relevant to their brand. Let’s not forget that.