If one were to analyse monthly news coverages of an organisation, it would appear that these coverages are a result of around 6 different taps or pipelines.
Further, which of these contribute the maximum to an organisation’s news coverage would also indicate whether the PR & Corporate Communications machinery is just a news management or dispatch function or takes up a higher altar of brand management.
First, let us look at the Taps or Pipelines that contribute to the coverage:
Tap 1: Organisation’s Planned News, Views, and Key Messages across Reputation Pillars
This is the most important tap or pipeline that should occupy the maximum share of an organisation’s monthly news visibility. This is all about the Organisation’s news, views, and key messages (across each of the 8 reputation pillars) that have been pushed into the media for the stakeholders to read and form an image or perception of the corporate brand. Further, it should nudge the stakeholders to get into another cycle of interaction or do business (transact) with the organisation. However, to achieve this successfully, the first and foremost requirement is a brand-building mindset as against news management. Secondly, a lot of effort needs to be put into monthly planning and its serious execution.
Tap 2: On-going/Adhoc Top Management requirements
Adhoc or ongoing news management support that top management requires – news push, crisis, etc. – is the second news coverage contributing tap. In other words, when the management does not have any news push or needs corporate communication support, the month turns out to be a lull period. Share of voice scores and other data parameters take a beating.
Tap 3: Response to ongoing media requests
Media or journalists calling for information or clarification about the organisation, requesting a meeting or interview, etc. form the third category. Here, the work involves largely coordination between Top Management and media. Of course, this needs on-ground hygiene requirements of fact-checking the veracity of the information being passed to the media, language quality, and so on.
Tap 4: Response to Business developments
Many times, positive or negative developments outside the organisation or in the business environment warrant a response from the organisation. Such initiatives help build, maintain, and modify the thought leadership in the minds of stakeholders. In these situations, organisations push their views, not the news. Views on business trends like taxation, supporting the LGBTQ community, green energy, business role in employment generation, or even a new business policy announced by the government need for balanced and uniform education.
Tap 5: Passing mentions
The fifth category that contributes to news coverage comprises those news clips where the organisation gets a passing (one-liner) mention somewhere in the middle or end of the news write-up. The news peg or trigger because of which the media title decided to write and publish the story may not have any direct link with our organisation.
Tap 6: Carry forward of previous month’s (residual) coverage
This is a no-brainer. A specific month’s media relations initiatives may not give us the targeted news coverage turnaround in the same month. Some may appear in the following month. Hence, every month will have a share of coverage that is a residual or carry forward of coverage that was planned for the previous month.
While the above are various taps or contributors to an organisation’s news visibility, it is imperative not to forget the big picture. Data shows that brand reputation of those organisations is stronger that focus on dedicatedly on Tap 1. Which means taps 2-6 act as top-ups! Not just the brand scores, even the balance sheets of such organisations are stronger.
This the first baby step for PR and CorpComm to transition from news management to brand management.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.