Why publicity is more powerful than advertising

Have you ever read a positive news story or glowing feature about a specific brand and wondered, ‘how did they pull that off?’ Chances are the brand is working with a publicist – and they haven’t paid a cent for advertising space!  

In fact, you may be surprised to find that publicists are behind many of the news stories that appear in websites, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, radio, and television today. This type of coverage is referred to as ‘earned media,’ because it uses unpaid communications strategies to attract a journalist’s attention and unlock access to their audience. 

According to a Neilsen study, ‘earned media’ is 90% more effective than advertising. This is because audiences are more likely to trust articles written by editors, journalists, and other prominent content creators – as opposed to simply being convinced by an ad. 

Publicity allows you to access highly engaged media audiences for free, and your message always appears more credible coming from a third-party source. For this reason, good publicity can be even more persuasive and powerful than advertising.

As an example, imagine your vegan leather brand took out a full-page ad in Vogue. This would set you back at least $250,000 based on current advertising rates. Instead, imagine a publicist was able to advocate to Vogue’s fashion editor on your behalf, and this resulted in your signature handbag being lauded as next season’s must-have accessory. Readers would be more likely to pay attention to the article than an ad – and you will have just saved a cool quarter of a million dollars.

So, what do publicists actually do?

If you were to compare a publicist to an advertising executive, you would find that both professionals share the same goal. We both want our clients to be seen by a specific audience, and perceived in a manner that is appealing and compelling. However, a publicist’s toolkit is very different from that of an ad exec.

Where an ad exec might develop a slogan, manage your online ad funnel, or design your next print campaign – publicists will develop a newsworthy ‘story’ about your brand to attract high-value media attention.

Newsworthy stories may highlight your brand’s latest products and services, showcase innovative changes to your business model, or offer a profile about your founders and team (as some simple examples.)

To develop a successful publicity campaign, the team at Plant Powered Press will:

  • Interpret public opinion, attitudes, or current issues that may impact your brand.
  • Identify a unique point of interest (an ‘angle’) that will elicit interest from the media.
  • Set a KPI for the number of ‘press clippings’ (appearances in media) that we’d aim to secure throughout your campaign.
  • Develop well-written media materials (including a formal press release and personalised ‘pitches’), designed to engage a targeted list of journalists. 
  • Represent and advocate for your brand amongst our media networks, to build relationships with key journalists on your behalf.
  • Leverage our existing media network to secure high-value editorial coverage for your brand.

In addition, Plant Powered Press will measure the effectiveness of our PR efforts by providing a comprehensive post-campaign report. Our post-campaign report will evaluate every press clipping in terms of its audience size, demographics, and equivalent advertising cost (termed the ‘publicity value’.)

For example, we were recently able to secure $125,000 in publicity value for our client Cale & Daughters. This valuation reflects current advertising rates for the newspapers that featured Cale & Daughters in their Business columns, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and Brisbane Times.

Finally, it’s important to remember that publicists work both proactively and reactively. If you are in a situation where ‘bad publicity’ arises, publicists should be your go-to experts for crisis management. We understand the communications strategies that can minimise damage to your brand, and help to rebuild trust with your audience. 

Put simply, bad publicity can break a brand and good publicity can make it! If you’d like to see your brand showcased in high-profile media and engaging quality audiences, contact the team at Plant Powered Press today.

AUTHOR: Jessica Cotton

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