Media Relations: A Marathon – NOT a Sprint

Alert the media! We have a shining business over here! Who? You!

You may not realize it yet, but your business is full of exciting stories and expert insights the media, and more importantly their readers, viewers and listeners, want to hear about. Not sure what kind of stories to share or which media outlets to target? That’s where an ongoing media relations strategy can help.

A strategic, ongoing media relations campaign allows organizations to connect with their target audiences and raise awareness of their brands. We’ve helped countless clients more than triple their media relations coverage through continuous media relations efforts over the course of several years.

“Media relations takes patience and persistence and it truly pays off! Each placement brings a new opportunity to expand your reach, share your knowledge, and engage with a new customer or future business partner. The Bottom Line team has been a true partner and a member of our team, helping our business grow to new heights.” – Ted Uczen, CEO of FEI Behavioral Health

A common misconception is that media relations is a sprint, not a marathon, and a few months of pitching results in instant hits across numerous platforms. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. To have successful results, media relations requires continuous work and ongoing pitching to create relationships with the media and get your company’s name on their radar. Think about how long it takes your sales team to turn a lead into a customer – the same is true with media relations.

How it works

We train for the media relations marathon by pitching your expertise and story ideas to various publications in your industry and target markets. When media are interested in publishing an article on your business, we help remove the barriers to provide them with a professionally written content piece or arrange an interview with one of your experts. Placements across local media and trade publications raises awareness of your services to consumers in your target markets as well as generates new leads, in turn creating more business opportunities for you.

For example, the first year we did media relations for a community health center, the organization received eight placements and 462,664 impressions. Not a bad start! That interaction snowballed as the media became more and more familiar with its brand, and in just two years, its media relations reach expanded by 69 percent with 38 placements and 1,500,499 impressions. This included placements in multiple local print outlets, spots on local TV stations and a monthly column in a trade publication. This kind of media engagement turned a local health center into a household and community name.

If you’re interested in getting your name out there and expanding your business, give us a call! Let us help run down some leads and showcase you as an expert in your industry with the help of a media relations program. We’re ready to help you win the race!


Bring Your Brand’s Future into Focus

So you want to take your business to the next level. Knowing what your customers, employees and the public want and what they think about your brand is sure to set you up for success. Since we’re not psychics, we can use focus groups in place of a crystal ball to see inside the minds of your audiences and bring the future into focus.

Crystal Ball

Focus groups can be used for a variety of marketing projects, including product launches, employee engagement campaigns, brand assessments and more. Focus groups are a useful tool to benefit your customers, employees and overall public perception.

Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes

You’re serving your customers, so you should be aware of what they think. When conducted by a third party vendor, customer focus groups create an engaged discussion providing you with an inside look at your audience’s thoughts on a number of topics. For example, we partnered with a national real estate developer to facilitate focus groups that gauged residents’ satisfaction with rental units, staff and amenities to find what sets the developer apart from competitors. Additionally, you can experience the language of your customers and weave that into future marketing campaigns to better target potential customers. The expression, tone and attitude of an individual also can be captured and added to the research results.

Focus groups can be especially beneficial if you have a wide customer base of differing demographics. Splitting up your participants into groups based off of similar characteristics, such as age and gender, will create engaged conversation specifying their feelings, perceptions and opinions. It provides you with the opportunity to compare and contrast the views and opinions of varying groups and utilize that information to enhance your brand.

Keep your ear to the ground on the front lines

Focus groups aren’t just for gaining insights from consumers. You also can observe your internal audiences and set up a focus group for your employees. Our same real estate developer client held employee focus groups in addition to customer focus groups. This allowed the developer to discover ways to improve processes and procedures to make work more efficient and improve employee happiness.

Creating a team of satisfied employees carries outside the office and creates a great reputation for your company. Internal focus groups led by a member of your HR team, or by an impartial third-party like Bottom Line, can ignite opinions from employees they’d be hesitant to share in regular business meetings. This type of focus group can elicit discussion and give you an honest assessment of job satisfaction from across your workplace to help identify discontent and areas of improvement.

Employee focus groups can identify gaps between leadership and frontline perspectives. Feedback from frontline employees can often get isolated and fail to make its way to the leadership team. Make sure all levels of employees are engaged in the process to gain valuable insight and keep your employees happy and your brand strong.

Take a look at the big picture

In addition to gaining the inside scoop on your customers and employees, it’s time to examine how the public views you. The public’s perception of your brand identity is essential when it comes to growth and awareness. By only focusing on the customers you already have, you can become stagnant and sales can decrease. Focus groups allow you to manage your reputation in the market and gain an understanding of what draws people in or pushes them away.

Focus groups provide for engaging interactions and cook up new ideas for you to improve the interaction between your customers, employees and overall public. Not only is it accurate, it’s directly received and allows for companies to take action immediately.

Tired of staring at a blank crystal ball and guessing what your target audiences are thinking? Contact Bottom Line Marketing & Public Relations to set up a focus group based on your company needs and we’ll bring results into focus.   

New Year, New Plan – Using a PR Agency for Next-Level Strategic Planning

We’ve counted down and popped some champagne, so it must be true – it’s the New Year! With each New Year come resolutions – what will yours be this year? Will you eat healthy, get to the gym more or just resolve to smile? It’s great to make personal changes in the 2018, but consider what resolutions you can make for your organization as well. We at Bottom Line suggest a strategic planning resolution – don’t just prepare for a single new year, but three to five by creating a strategic plan!

A strategic plan is important to help set the direction, vision and expansion of your organization. Just like New Year’s resolutions, strategic plans don’t last forever. If five years—or more—have passed since your last planning session, it’s time to look at revising and changing your plan.

Not sure where to start? Here is a guide for achieving this New Year’s strategic planning resolution:



Like any good New Year’s resolution, begin your strategic planning by gathering ideas and establishing your organization’s goals, guiding principles and mission. These will reinforce the direction for your plan.

Next, gather information on your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, things going well and things to be improved. Engaging staff, decision makers and stakeholders can give you a diverse pool of information to analyze for key results and new ideas.


After information has been gathered and key takeaways have been identified, it’s time to gather to create your actual plan.

It’s important to ask a number of questions in your planning sessions: what do you want to accomplish? What will you do to get there? Who will be responsible, and how will you track if you’re making progress?

After these questions have been discussed and your ideas have been built on, it’s time to draft a plan to be shared with stakeholders and, eventually, finalized.


Don’t let your strategic plan be something you write and forget. After it’s finalized, it’s time to put it into action!

Depending on the size of your organization, it’s likely not everyone was in the room for planning. If so, be sure to distribute the plan and explain it to all employees of your organization. Responsibilities also should be delegated to involved parties (action teams) by managers and leaders as specified in your plan.

Once the plan is in action, managers should make sure to track progress and monitor how successful the implementation has been.


Keep in mind, your strategic plan is a living document. If something isn’t working, change it!

Weekly or monthly meetings with managers and actions teams can reinforce goals, deadlines and responsibilities, and reporting on what’s working and what isn’t can help keep the plan up-to-date. If major changes need to be made, you may need to reconvene planning groups to make changes, update your plan and circulate those changes to employees throughout your organization.

Resolve to better yourself and your organization this New Year. Hiring an external public relations agency can make a world of difference in your strategic plan. Our approach is flexible, offering everything from day-long planning sessions to several shorter sessions spaced out over months to match your organization’s resources.

Give us a call! Our best practice strategic planning process and third-party facilitation will guide your team to a tangible plan and a path to begin executing that plan, helping your organization make serious changes in 2018.

Elevate Your Brand in Today’s “Trust Gap” World: PR Answers the Call

Trust GapPublic relations can deliver the authenticity and distinctiveness to elevate a brand, bridging the trust gap in today’s world in ways that advertising cannot. Numerous studies over the years have suggested that public relations often may be more important to building and maintaining brand value than advertising, especially for purchasing decisions related to complex products and services.

Consumers are demanding greater transparency in nearly all aspects of public life: transactions in the financial services industry, executive compensation, government spending, even transparency for social networking websites. In this environment, the most effective messages likely will be those that are transmitted through trusted third parties or by word-of-mouth.

As third-party validation becomes more important, public relations also matters more to brand value. In a recent Nielsen report, researchers asked consumers what factors would increase confidence in the safety and soundness of their financial institution. Only 21 to 25 percent reported that consistently seeing internet and regular advertising would boost their confidence. Nearly 45 percent of consumers reported that reading positive news stories would increase their confidence.

A recent study by Content Analytics assessed how both earned media and advertising spend contribute to brand value. By looking at the relationship between brand value, the study found that media prominence accounts for 27 percent of the variation in a brand’s value compared to only 2.3 percent for advertising. For perspective, research using similar methodology has demonstrated that high SAT scores account for only 10 to 20 percent of the variation in whether or not the first-year college student will earn a high GPA. 

In his book, Unleashing the Power of PR, Mark Weiner reported on AT&T’s marketing mix. In the model, he compared public relations to outbound telemarketing, direct marketing and advertising. The model revealed that positive media coverage of AT&T increased the success of other marketing efforts, but the effects were not reciprocal.

A key takeaway: the more complex purchasing decisions a product requires, the more likely it is that buyers will research the category and seek information that they can trust. The current cultural tensions and the economy only serve to amplify the importance of trust and marketing via third-party influencers and neutral venues. These third parties vary widely, from mainstream media to blog, to forums to friends, but consumers are going to rely more and more on trusted third parties for advice.

The bottom line: public relations can be just as effective, and often more cost-efficient, than advertising for building long-term brand value. How are you using public relations to build brand value, both short and long term? Let’s have a conversation.