The term ‘Public’ in Public Relations may refer to an organisation’s external stakeholders such as customers, investors, regulators, and local communities. Public Relations is essentially a communications practice. The role of Public Relations is to communicate the positive roles the brands play in the lives of the public – directly and or indirectly.
Public Relations heavily relies on media, especially the press. Consequently, some of the key deliverables of Public Relations are: organising press meets, creating press releases, and interacting with journalists.
However, Public Relations does not have to be media driven always. It can also use non-media means such as organising customer meets, investor meets, community events, and publishing its own newsletters or magazines, to create brand awareness.
Both advertising and Public Relations have the same goal, which is ‘brand promotion’. However, there is an ocean of difference when it comes to how these two disciplines try to achieve their goals. While advertising relies on ‘paid’ media such as advertisements in newspapers, TV channels and now internet portals, Public Relations focuses on ‘earned’ media, which is all about earning the trust of the publications and getting coverage in their articles, reports, interviews, and other media assets.
Compared to advertising, Public Relations is certainly cost effective. However, Public Relations is not here to replace advertising. They both usually need each other’s support. Typically brands allocate 70% of their promotion budget for advertising and the rest for Public Relations.
When your brand is mentioned in media, it
- Increases awareness of your products and services, boosting your sales
- Provides a comprehensive financial picture about your business to banks, financial institutions, and others in the ecosystem
- Convinces new dealers, traders, agents to establish business relations with you and it also helps to retain the existing ones
- Promotes goodwill in the society and boosts the morale and esteem of your employees.
- Makes it easy for you to attract new talent
- Gives you a competitive edge
There are two types of Public Relations services: (1) News based, and (2) Events based. Catalyst PR is extremely focused on press-based public relations services. Our key services are:
- Press / Media Releases
We create press releases about you and distribute them to your target publications, TV channels, and portals.
- Press Meets
We organize press meets for you to directly interact with the representatives of your target publications, TV channels, and portals.
- Exclusive Interviews
We organize exclusive meets and one-on-one interviews with journalists, TV reporters, and experts who conduct special TV programs.
Catalyst PR does not do direct mailing, paper inserts, newsletters, road shows, exhibitions or any similar brand promotion activities.
Having a great news will not automatically translate into good media coverage. It calls for expertise in presenting the news in appropriate format and distributing it to the right person / division in the media, and often, follow-up.
Take the case of issuing a press release. The news must be prepared and presented to the press in a particular format. This helps journalists quickly understand what is news. Then the press release should be reached to the journalist / reporter who specializes to cover such news. It should be done at the right time. Above all, it requires appropriate follow ups.
If you do not have the expertise or do not have a dedicated team that enjoys a rapport with the journalists and publishing houses, then you will need a PR agency.
You can go by three factors:
- Necessity for interactions: You should consider organizing a Press Meet only when you have an important news whose dissemination requires direct interactions with media professionals or a product launch or of the kind that demands explanation or demonstration to the journalists. Otherwise, what you have is a routine news (example: financial results) that does not demand intensive interactions, a Press Release is often enough.
- Cost is another factor. Press Release costs you less than organizing a Press Meet.
- The rate of press coverage and response from the media is usually high for a Press Meet than they are for a press release.
However, whether it is a Press Release or a Press Meet, it all boils down to the newsworthiness of your message. You should have an important, interesting, and relevant message in the first place.
For the business / financial press, the following items are generally considered newsworthy:
- Business expansion / diversification plans
- New product launches
- Introduction of new concepts, new ideas, tools, machinery or technology
- Future plans of an organization
- Tie-ups or signing up of agreements
- Big-league business orders or orders worth in crores
- Receiving or presenting awards
- High profile appointments
- First-of-its kind happenings
- Pressing problems of the industry
- Business events such as seminars and exhibitions
However, even when you are not doing any of the above things, you may have news. Things that might seem ordinary to you may qualify for a news coverage. It surely takes a trained PR mind to identify news or modify/project it to fit the news column of the media or its requirement.
No PR agency – including Catalyst PR – can guarantee 100% news coverage. What we can tell you is what will make news and what will not make news.
At Catalyst PR, we understand your message and needs for coverage. Then we come up with a ‘Media Plan’, including a list of publications that are likely to carry your message. Usually, the success rate of news coverage is about 60%.
We must understand that there are several constraints such as: editorial policies, lack of time or space, and non-availability of particular reporters, can come in the way of news coverage.
In India, most English press have national focus. In contrast, the publications in the regional languages such as Tamil have state focus. In other words English newspapers will have very little space for news pertaining to local stories, and the regional language press will have plenty of space for covering regional news. If your news is relevant for the whole of India, you will get the coverage both in English and regional language press. Otherwise it will be limited in the English media.
Unlike advertisements, the news coverage cannot be planned by us. One cannot dictate to the media with regard to the size or the date of coverage. Depending upon the factors like the importance of the news, editorial policy of publications, and the availability of space, your news will appear as a small news bit or a big story. And yes, sometimes it may not see the light of the day at all.
Many PR agencies operate based on a retainership model. You both agree to pay a fixed fee every month and sometimes, even when you want to remain silent or do not have news or do not get news coverage, still you will have to pay, going by the agreement.
In the case of Catalyst PR, we operate on a pay-per-performance model. That is you will pay X amount only when a publication covers your news. Otherwise, we will not charge you, other than the actual cost of creating a press release or organising the press meet. It is that simple and straightforward.
If there is something truly newsworthy, your firm can send out releases even once a month. Many corporate companies send out media releases every two weeks.
There is a standard workflow of organising a press meet. As per that, we:
- Identify newsworthy information
- Formulate a fool-proof PR strategy and chalk out a relevant & target-oriented media plan
- Prepare press releases both in English and relevant regional languages
- Create informative and attractive press kits including boilerplates and backgrounders
- Arrange the right venue and fix the schedule for the press meet
- Design press meet invites for the media
- Arrange for photographers and videographers, when necessary
- Craft the agenda for the press meet
- Send consistent remainders and work for the maximum participation of the press
- Provide all necessary information about your company to the members of the media at the press meet
- Provide you with the questions you can anticipate during the press meet and help you in preparing the answers
- Follow up with the media for the news coverage
- Track newspapers and other publications everyday to know the news coverage
- Organise all the published news clips and present them to you in the form of a comprehensive ‘Press Clippings’ album
The minimum time span required to organize a press conference is about five days to a week’s time. However, under extraordinary circumstances, a press meet can also be organized in a matter of two days.
This depends solely on the importance of the news. If the news is considered very important, it will appear in the papers, TV channels and Online the very next day or instantly. Otherwise, it may take two to three working days in print or next issue if it is a magazine.
Gifts are not important or mandatory. In some cases, they are not even desirable. All what media expects is only newsworthy information. That is the best gift.
When a press conference is organized, you are required to have: company literature and logo, photos of products/facilities, business cards, scribbling pads and pens.
To a large extent, the cost of a press meet depends on the Media Plan. If you require the news event to be released in many publications, then the cost is high. Otherwise, it is considerably low. Press Meet is cost effective when compared with advertisements, event management, fashion shows or exhibitions.
As for your payment for our services, you will pay an advance of 50% and balance 50% after completion of the assignment.
The members from the press are friendly. However sometimes they may ask critical questions during the press meet. But the real intention behind such questioning is only to evoke a good response. They may also publish stories that are not in the lines of your expectations. They apply their own discretion and we need to respect their stand – though we can always go back to them with our own clarifications. Usually, publications carry the factual corrections.