For 25 years, Oprah ruled the airwaves and the ratings with The Oprah Winfrey Show. And during that time, the one constant for all PR pros was the no-fail fact that every client wanted to be on the show.
Oprah was the jackpot, the ultimate prize. Clients thought the show was the golden ticket to awareness, book sales, donations, and all their dreams coming true.
Now that the show is off the air, clients may not be asking for Oprah, but the “win” often materializes in other ways – Good Morning America, Fox News, The New York Times, People, etc.
Everyone has their perceived idea behind what will propel them and/or their organization, book or movie into the spotlight. And while, yes, these outlets all have massive audiences and – we admit – can do wonders for awareness, they aren’t the sole way by which you should judge the success of your PR campaign.
A successful public relations campaign is built around reaching the right audience with the right message. No doubt, as you build your strategy, it should include some big media goals. But, the reality is that unless you are a seasoned professional, you shouldn’t expect these outlets to come knocking on your door as soon as you begin executing a PR campaign.
Whenever ALRC engages with a client, we make it a point to ask what the “wins” will be. This isn’t because we guarantee results but rather because we want to know the expectations of our clients and do all we can to help meet them. We regularly hit-the-ground running with a campaign pitching national media, but we also know the importance of the snowball effect.
We have seen time and time again the value of a client engaging with “smaller” outlets to not only build brand loyalty with new audiences but also to attract the attention of bigger fish.
One such client is Autumn Miles. Autumn is a women’s ministry leader with a compelling personal story involving domestic abuse. Autumn partnered with ALRC in the spring of 2014 and was relatively new to the world of media. That fall, the NFL domestic abuse scandal dominated the news cycle for several weeks. ALRC pitched Autumn to speak into the news flow and received numerous opportunities for her to be included in stories to share her experience and expertise. Over the course of a few weeks, Autumn conducted dozens of interviews with local radio shows and online outlets.
From the beginning, one of Autumn’s personal goals was to use the platform of television to share her message. Soon after her flurry of interviews, Autumn was invited to appear on CBN’s The 700 Club, which solidified her status as a leading Christian voice. Her Facebook page doubled in size in one day, and Autumn began receiving more interview requests.
In December 2014, the Agency responded to a request from The Stir on Café Mom for a Christian leader to speak into the concept of submission in a biblical marriage. Autumn was featured in a story that was widely read and shared on the secular website. Soon after, she received a call from TLC asking if she was interested in filming a docu-series on the topic of biblical marriage, which ultimately resulted in a pilot episode airing in May 2015.
Our team could rattle off a number of examples just like Autumn’s from self-published author Wesley Hobbs Bauguess appearing on Fox & Friends and Heather Avis interviewing on NBC Today to Pastor Choco De Jesús landing on the cover of TIME magazine.
PR is an art, not a science. It takes time, strategy and the appropriate skills and relationships, but if done well, it can be one of the most important investments you can make.