Using Media Relations to Drive Demand

Overview: Learn how to use PR to capture your audience’s attention with Anna Crowe CEO of Crowe PR.

About the speaker: Anna Crowe is founder and CEO of Crowe PR, a recognized public relations and marketing expert, best-selling author and speaker. Anna has spent nearly 20 years working for iconic brands in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego, pivoting from a Big 4 CPA track, to scaling and leading a bi-coastal public relations and marketing agency.

Anna’s focus on developing extraordinary leaders and growing her clients’ businesses has led to a number of notable recognitions, including PR Team of the Year, 40 Under 40 Business Leaders, Women Who Mean Business and more. Anna’s book ‘Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture and an Authentic You’ earned Amazon Best-seller status in 2019 and continues to sell globally.


Hi, my name is Anna Crow, and I’m the CEO of CrowePR. I’m thrilled to be here today and be part of Demand Gen Summit 2020, to discuss brand building basics that break through the noise and help gain traction. Building brand awareness is one of my favorite topics, and one of the most important and critical pieces of marketing. So let’s dive right in.   

When we’re looking at this funnel, or a variation of a marketing funnel, we’re really placed brand awareness at the top, we first have to educate our customer, we’ve got to tell our story, we’ve got to be clear, consistent, compelling, and we’ve got to get the word out. But not only that, we need to garner interest. We need to be able to explain what we do, why we do, why we do what we do how we do it.  

And we’ve got to capture that attention, and build credibility and trust. Because at the end of the day, the credibility is what’s going to take a business to the next level and beyond and create a sustainable brand, versus an overnight sensation that fizzles out. So today, we’ll talk about those tactics that generate that awareness, build that credibility, and really drive and take the customer through the funnel to acquisition.     

To quote one of my favorite marketers, today, brands are born not made, a new brand must be capable of generating favorable publicity in the media, or they won’t have a chance in the marketplace. So why is that so important? Why is generating publicity in the media so important? We’ll get to some of the tactics and the tools. But first, I want to really discuss why that is several reasons.   

Number one is media, whether it’s TV, magazines, newspaper, digital news, online, anything, are credible representations, they are credible sources of information. So instead of the brand, telling everyone, they’re great, you’ve got someone else educating on the story in an authentic organic way. And non partial or impartial is a better word. So we must utilize and leverage and educate through those sources. It’s two way street. Right? The reporters and journalists are not there to sell on behalf of the brand, they’re there to tell a story. And they’re there to create value. So we as brands must also do the same for them, we must create some real compelling information that’s going to be interesting for their viewers, their readers, their followers. And so therein lies Media Relations, which we’ll talk about.   

But before we get into all of that, let’s go back to the four Ps of Marketing. Now, one may argue that today there are more than just four ps. And I can see a couple of conversations around that. And I and I believe that there may be more. But we do have the traditional four, we’ve got our product, our place, our price and our promotion. Without a product, we don’t have a brand, the product is the P that creates the brand, from a logo standpoint, a messaging standpoint. And that’s an important piece of awareness as well, without a place, we don’t have anywhere to showcase our brand.  

We don’t have anywhere to sell it. We don’t you know, it could be a website, it could be a retail store, we need a place that can actually create that interaction. Without a price, we don’t have know how to put monetary value on our product or service. And so those are all very important, and they are part of awareness. 

But the biggest piece of creating awareness is of course, the promotion. And we’ve got different vehicles from PR and advertising, digital marketing, all sorts of things that can generate noise, some in an organic, authentic way, others in a more in a way that really encourages behavior and takes it to the next level. So we’ll talk a little bit about that awareness. We’ll talk a little bit about credibility, and really about the tactics that can help get us there. So let’s start from the top.

The first piece is the message. What’s our story? As a company as a business? What do we stand for? And why? That’s a very important piece of building brand awareness and moving down into the credibility factor. We have to get it right. We have to be compelling, we have to be clear, we have to be consistent. So understanding what that story is, is very important.  

The second thing is so what and Who cares? We call that the sniff test. When any company decides to put out a piece of news that they believe the world is going to go crazy for. They have to ask themselves the question. So what Who cares? We launched widget 22 out of 27 series. So what Who cares? Is our customer going to care about that? Is the general public going to care about that as an industry going to care about that? Are we innovating are we doing something different? What are we doing? So that’s another important piece of building awareness is really understanding who we are and what value do we bring to the market.   

Then get into some of the tactics. We’ve got Media Relations, we’ve got thought leadership, we have social. And we’ll talk about those in the forthcoming slide. But we really start at the the conversation piece, leveraging media relations to amplify awareness to tell the story. We do that through news launches, press events. They all look different today in the in the COVID, in the post COVID era, but there are still credible ways of getting the information out there. Thought Leadership, does an executive on your team have something of value to add to the industry? some commentary to add articles to contribute webinars, speaking engagements, etc. Community Relations is also important. Are you a great community partner? Do people want to work for you? Are you giving back to the community where you live and work, social media profiles and engagement.  

That’s also become part of this awareness piece. And it continues to grow. It used to be an afterthought. And it used to be something that an intern would do at a company or someone a low level here come to our social media, that doesn’t exist anymore. Social media must be strategic.  

If you’re investing dollars in your website, you better be investing dollars in social media channels, as well as write organically and on the paid side as well. influencer marketing varies, whether you’re b2b or b2c. But it’s also important, and we’ll talk about that. And then a few other ways that we’ll discuss content creation, blogs, videos, podcasts, and of course, crisis communications. While they may not be helping you build a brand, and it’s going to help you protect your brand. And as many have heard before, it takes 30 years to build a reputation and 30 seconds to destroy it. So if we’re not going to have a plan in place for protecting it, you might not want to invest in building it all together.  

So I’ll start with media relations. This is when we’re communicating your brand story through credible sources. We want to build credibility, and we’d like to establish that thought leadership position and industry expertise. Another really cool thing about media relations is that Google which we’re all familiar with trusts credible sources, such as publications, TV, online publications, more specifically, more so than brand websites. 

 Why is that important? Because when you get coverage, or editorial placements in those publications, Google recognizes them. And your brand goes higher and higher in terms of rankings. So another very important piece of media relations that may not be talked about as much, but very important in today’s digital world.

And of course, controlling a crisis when something happens, how do we control it? How do we leverage media? And how do we get the story out there? How do we get the facts out there very important. Speaking of facts, the Fun Fact is, PR and media relations generate 10 to one more ROI than traditional advertising when it comes to credibility and way more trusted sources. Here are just some examples, where there’s the today show, which in our experience has created sellouts outs for clients websites, to entrepreneur to a local TV station, various different various tools, various publications and outlets that helped deliver and communicate the message.  

And having a strategic Media Relations plan in places very important. It’s not about being everywhere at all times. It’s about the right outlets that your customer in your industry pays attention to. And it’s about that right message in those outlets also very, very important, which we talked about in the beginning.

Now let’s look at the online component. Let’s look at social media and influencer marketing. And here’s some interesting numbers. So the 3.5 billion users, this is actually pre Tiktok search. So I would assume that we may be even higher at this point. But there are over 3.5 billion users on social media. And 90% of millennials use it while 78% of Gen Xers and 48% of baby boomers are so on social media. So if your customer falls within one of those groups, and highly likely that they they do, you’re going to be wanting to communicate with them through social media, you’re going to want your brand to be out there and generating that favorable publicity, favorable awareness through social media.  

Here’s some other stats. 200 million users visit at least one business profile per day. And 71% of customers who had a positive experience are willing to recommend. so we’ve got that NPR component as well. So very important to have someone strategic and creative, working on social media. And it’s not about being the loudest it’s not about the frequency of social media in today’s world.

Yes, it’s important to be continuously out there. But it’s also about the message. It’s about your graphics. It’s a really interesting, interesting time to be in social media and you’ve got to do it right.

Similarly influencer marketing. Now there are millions of influencers out there. In fact, anybody with a cell phone can call themselves an influencer or podcasts, but that may not be the case. However, 82% of today’s consumers were very likely to follow the recommendation or influencer that they follow. So there is that all credibility factor that we also see in media relations. We see that in influencer marketing, the thing to be wary of is who are the influencers? What does the collaboration look like? Is it authentic? And is it organic? Is it paid? eight out of 10 people will make a purchase decision after relevant influencers recommendation, those are high numbers. Right.  

So, how do we do it? Well, what are the right channels? Again, there’s people like, you know, people like us who spend their livelihood understanding what those communities are like and what the ROI is. So really utilize a trusted partner. And understand what we’re getting for influencer collaborations. Do we need to spend money? And if so, what does that look like? Because you don’t want to be spending thousands of dollars in influencer marketing, if it’s not moving the needle, if it’s not speaking to your customers, or properly connecting.

And then moving into content creation, we hear that buzzword a lot. You create content, you got to put some content. content is king. That’s an old one too. But content is very important changes and evolve year over year. What is content do? Well, number one, it does drive traffic to your website, it increases SEO, again, it was composition, your company or your executive as a thought leader, you can help develop better customer relationships. You can showcase your brand values and a brand promise. Some of the vehicles, of course, the company blog, the company blogs have been around for, a long time now actually. They continue to be important because we’re online. We’re consuming information online. We’re competing for eyeballs online. And so adding that content creation to a successful Media Relations or social influencer platform, it’s really important.

Newsletters are another types of content. And you can see the rest on here, podcast netcast webinar, right valuable tools to communicate your knowledge and educate your customers, case studies to showcase the type of work that you’ve done ebook videos, different ways. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be doing all of these. But those are some really effective tools of building awareness, and building credibility and trust to keep going to that marketing funnel. 

And then finally, crisis management. Now, as I mentioned, you do not want to be investing your hard earned money into building a brand if you’re not going to protect it. So my advice is have a crisis plan in place. Here’s a little framework that our team at CrowePR puts together, it’s a step by step guide. And the first piece of the guide is anticipate the crisis. It doesn’t have to be a major environmental issue, or impact lesson affected the world this year. It could be a slight product defect, it could be a misspoken executive or an employee, it could be a lot of different things. But know that something will happen and you’ve got to have a plan in place.  

So building that awareness is important and essential piece. But don’t forget to protect that reputation. Don’t forget to take the time to establish the right spokespeople, the right process, both through media and social media. Because as we’ve seen this past year, particularly anything can tarnish your brand, anything can make a brand vulnerable. And so take that into account when you’re building that brand awareness, protecting it and going down into customer acquisition. Thanks so much for having me on. I look forward to staying connected.