Executive and marketing leaders know the importance of public relations and the credibility earned media generates. For some companies, the goals behind getting ink go well beyond brand building and visibility. They are focused on leveraging PR to own and define a category. (Check out the November blog on how to own a category.)
While the idea of owning a category or getting maximum velocity PR coverage is exciting, executives want to understand how that translates into real metrics. First, though, let’s define what category ownership for earned media really represents.
Category ownership public relations is a combination of product and/or service media coverage that focuses on the market innovation and differentiators of the offering. Typically, PR placements reflect the following: 1) product and/or service reviews; 2) product and/or services news pieces often related to a new version, new offering and/or advancement; and 3) thought leadership oriented around the product or service offering and its innovation in the market. Category ownership PR, for example, would not encompass general corporate news, such as acquisitions, culture pieces, personnel announcements, or anything other than how the product or service impacts its market.
Executives want metrics on the number and depth of media placements per month a PR firm can attain toward category ownership and high velocity PR. While an estimate can be given, to garner greater precision, research must be undertaken to create a composite of what the potential for coverage could be related to the specific category. Based on the potential number of relevant outlets and reporters, as well as overall interest in the category, a data-driven hypothesis can be formulated for metrics.
Here are some of the questions and research that needs to be conducted to assign metrics:
+ How deep is the coverage relevant to the context of the solution/product/thought leader concept?
+ How many reporters within the target universe of media outlets are likely to cover this?
+ What is the product/service competing against? Is there a competitor who has literally laid the groundwork enabling us to pinpoint the exact universe? Or, is this more of a broader / newer concept altogether and we need to be more conceptual to pattern out coverage?
An example: A mega tech company launches X software product. The company has the clout to demand all tech press covering X genre of products. Between the product launch coverage, product thought leadership and reviews, the company secured 26 stories from May through July, but the composite shows that there were seven other primary media targets that did not cover the news in any form. Based on an analysis, the anthonyBarnum team believes the messaging behind the offering did not or could not focus on Y differentiator and/or did not clearly validate the product to Z market.
By researching the environment, quantifying the potential, and meticulously evaluating the angles and interests of the media, there is an opportunity to quantify the outcomes for a competitor innovating on X software product.
Powerful media results come from knowledge of the sector, the specific media universe interested in the subject matter and the unique category-defining or redefining characteristics of the offering. Then, it’s all about the presentation of those differentiators in a way that is going to pique the interest of intelligent, well-versed reporters to garner coverage.
Instead of seeking nebulous metrics, executives should seek a discerning, targeted approach to understanding what is the real potential for coverage.