Keep the PR and Marketing Faucet On

We find that many companies view a PR program like a faucet – you can turn it on for a while and then turn it off when the budget gets tight or priorities shift. Oftentimes, public relations, marketing and advertising agencies have clients come to them in November and December and say, “We’d like to shut our effort down for the rest of the year, but we’ll pick it back up again in January.” We discourage this type of thinking for a few reasons:

  • Coverage will cease – If you “turn off” PR in Q4, you won’t receive any coverage in Q1. That means you’re starting the new year off in a hole. Much of the work with the media is for stories, articles and features that are two and three months out. If we stop pitching your product, service or business, you won’t see any coverage for the next quarter, at a minimum.
  • The media will think you’re dead – The best PR professionals and publicists build relationships with the media. Our media contacts become accustomed to hearing from us as we share news from our clients or pitch clients for features. If you stop PR, we stop communicating with the media about you. Our contacts start to think, “Is X still in business?” and “What happened to Y?” The “PR magic” happens when reporters and producers start to call us about our clients instead of us calling them. This takes time and repetition, which is curtailed when a client puts the brakes on.
  • A widely held “rule of marketing” will be broken – As a general rule of thumb in marketing and public relations, you need to “touch” a prospective target five times. The average person sees more than 5,000 different brand messages daily. With that kind of clutter, companies need to find ways to rise above the noise and set themselves apart. Our PR plans for clients include multiple touchpoints including traditional media and social media over the course of a year. It’s a shame to take two steps forward, put PR on hold and take two steps back.

In short, turning off your PR or marketing program is a bad idea any time of year, but it’s worse at the end of the year. Instead of stopping public relations in Q4, you should be planning your strategy for the coming year. Come January, you’ll be ready to go with your PR team on cruise control rather than trying to re-start the engines and finding your place on the crowded road again. Putting public relations on hold ends up being a short-sighted approach that will actually cost you more money in the long run to get you back to where you were and achieve the results you desire.