Sonam Shah
Guest Article

Timely public relations can work wonders for brands

To break through the clutter of content across media formats, brands need to strike when the iron is hot, says our guest author Sonam Shah.

We live in a fast-moving world. There are constant and continuous changes around us – not just within the industry or at a professional level, but also at an individual level.

Human beings’ attention span is probably at its lowest across any period. Our moods get affected by every notification we get. We get distracted by the smallest of actions or friction by people around us. Even the continuous news we receive, can trigger our well-being. With little time on hand, we are exposed to multiple pieces of information – of all kinds, relevant and irrelevant – throughout the day.

So, when a brand, company or individual is exploring or implementing PR activities, it is crucial to understand the value of having a timely strategy. Consumers, audiences, and readers are all bombarded with multiple forms of content – short videos, memes, quick news, in-depth stories, etc., across categories and interest areas.

So, a person who has a keen interest to know about a particular industry, will be able to do find more information about it via multiple platforms. And, since he or she becomes an active user, the social media algorithms with keep feeding content, which may not be of their interest area. This gives brands a short time to grab anyone's attention with their key message, especially via earned media channels.

PR is an important tool in creating the right message, if executed over a period of time. When a brand or a company is regularly in news, especially via earned media routes, it brings out a high recall and trust value.

The core purpose of PR is to create buzz around any recent update or activities by the company. So, when it is not rightly capitalised in a particular timeframe, it loses its sheen and news factor. And, the audience who has access to brand new news daily, will not be interested in reading even a piece of day-old news.

Time-bound PR also reflects that the company or the brand is keen on keeping its TG abreast with the happenings. While social media plays a larger role here, it is equally essential to have PR executed simultaneously. A cohesive approach is essential in building a stronger impact.

PR representatives are often chided as being too pushy or plugging in stories. To avoid this, PR fraternity must stick to exercises within a certain timeframe. A press release shared after three days of an event or a launch, will not garner much coverage as it will if it’s shared on the first day. Following a certain method of disseminating, a press release goes a long way in building and maintaining media relations.

With print media back in the game and readership soaring to pre-COVID times, one must understand that a newspaper holds its strongest relevance on the same day it’s published.

Are clients/brands following timely PR?

When brands or clients focus on creating news or being in news, they, more or less, don’t follow time-bound and strategic PR. Timely PR isn’t just using one or two PR tools, but capitalising on all forms of PR tools. A balance between press releases, thought leadership articles, paid media, industry story participation and interviews goes long, as it is not possible to focus on any one angle to sustain and achieve long-term PR goals.

A recent and very impressive example is how the newly launched digital marketing agency Talented (by ex-Dentsu Webchutney employees) created PR buzz at the time of its launch. Talented used all PR tools – press releases, interviews, guest articles and quotes, striving for a balance between all key spokespeople. They smartly piggybacked their way to create word-of-mouth publicity within the industry. It is not often that you see such good PR, in a strategic manner.

Clients need to listen to PR professionals and consultants, and follow them to the T. Media relations are built over long periods, and if they have onboarded a particular agency or a consultant, to use their media connections, this becomes more imperative. Brands don’t understand what PR professionals mean when they say timely PR, as they are more focussed on SEO-related goals or being in only well-known publications, even though there is no relevance.

Timely PR will always work towards building long-term visibility and hope this will also change with the rapid evolution of the PR industry in India.

(Sonam Shah is founder and CEO, Treize Communications)

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