Why Successful PR Programs Need External Influence

So often, a brand’s executives say they want to be in the New York Times. So the PR team reviews relevant reporters  and identifies relevant topics/trends that will catch the reporter’s attention. When you turn the conversation over to the client’s thought leadership and expert reaction to the trends, all you hear is crickets.

This happens more than we’d like. The target publication may be different – trade publication, blog, business press – but the result is always the same: the client knows his or her goal (New York Times) but they don’t have a fresh or interesting perspective to achieve it.

Successful PR programs are truly a mix of inside and outside forces. Inside forces include tactics that help the company achieve its business objectives, including markets it needs to grow into by the end of the year, specific prospects it wants to turn into customers, and strategic business plans. The PR program should complement the other marketing tactics the client is using to drive leads and communicate with customers, such as SEO, content, ad words and paid advertising.

Most clients have the inside forces down pat and when we speak with their CEO or other executive team, they can eloquently describe the business goals.

But a PR program that only encompasses the inside forces is tone deaf and will only achieve so much. To truly increase brand awareness and drive leads, the PR program also needs to incorporate outside influence. That includes:

Industry topic/trends

Spokespeople must be able to share an interesting, fresh, provocative or counterintuitive perspective on the trends that currently dominate the industry the client is in. This includes obvious ones, but it should also include trends that appear to indirectly influence the market.


What topics/trends are they owning, what ad words are they buying, what publications are driving the most website traffic for them? This does not mean that the PR team should be laser focused on copying the same strategies and tactics; competitive analysis can ensure you’re doing the opposite.

Relevant businesses

Your brand may not compete with Google, but your ability to explain how Google’s latest news is relevant to customers and prospects is a smart way to jump on larger business trends and provide a fresh perspective.

Breaking news

Whether it’s new data, a merger/acquisition, or an innovative technology breakthrough, knowing what reporters – and customers/prospects – are covering, reading and discussing is critical to strategically pivot on a dime.

A strong and successful PR team will serve up ALL this information to clients daily, along with recommendations on how the team will leverage the information for earned media coverage, content and social media engagement. However, for this to be successful, the brand’s spokespeople MUST have an opinion to share  and the availability to give it. The PR team can help bring that out by showing topic analysis and data research on different topics, including the “white noise” that no one yet owns, but even the very best PR team can’t create the CEO’s opinion on a specific trend; that must come from her.


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