PR shouldn’t stop with press coverage

I spotted a story that was clearly stimulated by a press release regarding school uniform company Trutex that had conducted a PR survey regarding the possibility of including tracking devices in clothes so parents could monitor the location of their offspring.

The first coverage came in the just before 4am – with Response Source carrying the actual release from 7am.  As of 11am, the release is not in the company’s own .

I appreciate that such stories need to be “pushed” at the media – but why isn’t the release also up on the site too?  In fact, the most recent release there is dated 16 March this year.

The company does have a couple of campaigns on its home page – sponsorship of the Anti Bullying Alliance and a petition against VAT on branded schoolwear. 

I really would like to see companies (and their PR consultants) understand that rather than seeking a short-term hit with media coverage, ideas should work much harder.

Another example – earlier this year, I wrote about the MoneySupermarket story of ““.  This was featured in as a case study earlier this month:

The story gained 160 pieces of coverage, including 20 national newspapers, four national TV stations, BBC News 24, BBC Breakfast, GMTV and ITV’s Morning News.

National newspaper coverage included an article in The Times dated 10 April, headlined: ‘Are you surfing your life away on random searches?’

The story also featured on three national radio stations, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Sky News Radio, as well as 22 regional newspapers and 15 ­regional radio stations. In addition, it was covered in 26 foreign newspapers such as USA ­Today, six international newswires ­including Reuters, and 60 online news sites such as Guardian ­Unlimited.

Evaluation carried out by 3 Monkeys also found that 70 per cent of coverage name-checked money­supermarket.com.

During the week following the campaign launch, moneysupermarket.com saw the number of hits to the site rise by 270,000. This exceeded expectations as it coincided with a period of uncharacteristic good weather when internet use can often take a dip.

Since April, wilfing has now become a widely accepted term, appearing in Wikipedia, mentioned by AA Gill in one of his Sunday Times restaurant ­reviews and it was used as a question asked on BBC TV quiz show University Challenge.

3 Monkeys has also highlighted more than 500 blogs that reference the term, many of which include a hyperlink to moneysupermarket.com.

But there does not appear to have been any follow up action since the April release – and the company has not secured its linkage to own the phrase.

Having a good idea to gain media coverage should not be a short term activity.  You need to work this across all possible media and think long-term to ensure commitment to a topic or issue – indeed, such ideas should be derived from the company’s values and then be owned by them.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.