26/07/2011

By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and owner of Energy PR

I was recently delivering a talk on Public Relations (PR) and the discussion quickly moved onto social media. At this point my audience of successful business people said: “Don’t worry about twitter — that’s not relevant to our business, let’s just focus on LinkedIn”

These were vastly different businesses — targeting a real mix of audiences and with a massive range of plans, visions and dreams that they wanted PR to help deliver.

How could they ALL have this view?

The reason was that while their businesses were different, the business owners were broadly the same. They all were on LinkedIn and liked it. None of them were on twitter. They didn’t see it as relevant to their lives and so couldn’t imagine that their customers or prospects were using it!

I call this ‘media blindness’ — and to be honest we’re all guilty of it. We rate and value the media we like, and tend to devalue the rest. It’s human nature, it’s understandable, but when it comes to PR it’s dangerous.

For instance while we’re all enjoying the general noise surrounding the Murdoch empire, people (possibly your customers) are out there buying The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. These media titles are reaching a large audience and so cannot be discounted.

Don't Fly 'Media Blind'

The media that matters to your business is the media that reaches your target audience. Forget what you like. You need to get passionate and smart about the media your audience likes and uses — and if you don’t know what media that is, ask them. Don’t assume...ask.

• Look in their reception areas — what media is there?

• Casually ask when you meet

• Formally ask via a survey

• Use incentivised promotions

• Search for your customers on twitter, LinkedIn, facebook. If they are using these media then your business needs to be in these media places too

• Look at the shows your customers attend — what media officially support the show? What other media are the show organisers using?

A Banker’s Tale

Media blindness is not new, or confined to social media. I've seen it a thousand times. For instance many years ago I was handling PR for a bank. Its target market was Sun and Mirror readers and we got lots of coverage in these tabloids. But the Chief Exec wasn’t happy. He wanted more reporting in The Times. When I asked why, it became clear that he read The Times, as did his peers and pals at the golf club. So that’s where he wanted to be seen! Madness. He didn’t care about PR reaching his customers; he wanted it serving his vanity. Now, he had a huge PR budget and lots of people working on the bank’s PR — so he could afford to divert a little attention to his personal cause. But most businesses cannot afford to waste any of their PR resource in this way.

If you want to find out more about how you can make your business famous visit www.prpro.co.uk or contact me Louise@prpro.co.uk 01993 825916

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