Public Relations Is The Idea Of Getting Coverage For Clients!

Praveen Nagda, CEO, Peregrine Public RelationsPraveen has been associated with Peregrine for over eight years now, prior to which he has been a Guest Faculty at multiple Educational Institutions, and even held key positions at Candour Communications, Brodeur Worldwide, Clea Public Relations, and Urja Communications.

Coverage is a tough word in the public relations industry for its practitioners. And ironically, it is as sensitive and sophisticated as tough it is depending upon which side of the fence you are, how do you view it, and what it really means for you. Almost each constituent of the ecosystem around which a PR Campaign is built associates or relates with the term coverage or rather `media coverage' and exhibits relevance with it. Key constituents of this ecosystem being the Client, Agency and Media. The issue of media coverage appears in early stage planning of any PR campaign, sustains all through the campaign, and becomes most significant while concluding the campaign.

Look at the client's perspective ­ What am I striving for? What is it that I am looking for coming out of this campaign? What should I be able to achieve? What are my campaign objectives? Why is the need of this PR campaign? Coverage will eventually be going to address all of such concerns and provide answers to everything a client has in mind.

And how does a PR Agency see the coverage ­ Which media? What media opportunity? How much space the story has garnered? What is the positioning? What kind of story has appeared? What is the tonality of published con-tent? What is the gap between key messages and achieved outcome? Does it address the set objectives or not? Is the coverage outcome in line of the planned campaign or it deviates? Is it helpful in creating or changing the perception or not? What has been the reach? What category of media it has appeared? Many such questions keep floating in their minds as the campaign unfolds and until the campaign is concluded and probably reviewed by their clients at a later stage.
Most importantly, the one which plays a major role in influencing the opinion significantly is the media. Media has a role of being unbiased observers, reporters and commentators, which they play religiously, screening through the content pushed to them via corporate communications or public relations agency channels. Having accepted, understood, analysed, verified and used the content in their stories would be leading to establishing of certain messaging, influencing certain opinions and creation of certain specific triggers that will eventually build or form an image.

Questions media is having in mind usually are ­ what agenda the story or coverage is going to serve? Is it appropriate for my audience to read/view what I am going to write/air/show? Is this coverage going to be a part of a larger agenda? Am I being completely unbiased in reporting this news? Is my analysis factual and appropriately matches with the direction of information presented to me? Are there any ethical issues in reporting the content pushed to me? Is there even need of such a story? So, there are plenty of intervening thoughts in the minds of a media towards the final outcome of any coverage.

Like content is the King for journalism, coverage is the King for public relations and corporate communications industry

Common thread and the most important bridge between the clients and media are the people from public relations fraternity. And the coverage outcome probably is the most import-ant reason for their very existence and being in the business. All the learnings & understandings, domain knowledge, expertise that public relations practitioners, consultants and advisors develop over the years are eventually leveraged towards bringing-in desired outcome in clients' image through media coverage. Strategy, counsel and advisory roles; all in some way or the other converge towards ensuring a high-quality coverage both in terms of quality and quantity.

Coverage is probably one of the most sought-after parameters of any public relations consultancy's performance review. Well, review is one part, but it also sets benchmarks for various communications professionals within the public relations agency and beyond in the peer group. In a competitive matrix of agencies, media coverage output is considered among the most preferred mode of evaluation while selection of agency even through a competitive bidding. Historical achievements of their client campaigns, and results achieved purely from a media coverage perspective matters a lot, while strategic inputs and counsel still remain good seconds.

Like content is the King for journalism, coverage is the King for public relations and corporate communications industry. At least that's the most practical side of industry, and ironically, it is one fact most of us from the fraternity of public relations practitioners completely fail to accept and acknowledge. And, why should it not be? If your issue is genuine, if your communications strategy is right, if your messaging is appropriate and if your execution/implementation is flawless, why should your coverage not be as desired? Nothing is possible without adequate and excelling media coverage. So, for the practitioners of public relations & corporate communications, Coverage is the King!