Would you rather attend a large, lavish function of 200 guests, most of whom you’ve never met while being served subpar food OR enjoy a fabulous dinner with five of your closest friends? If you are like me, you probably prefer the latter, time spent with the people you know, connect with the most, and in a setting which fosters deep conversation. Measuring the success of media in a PR campaign sometimes reflects these scenarios and it looks like our clients are enjoying the intimate meal with their friends better these days too.
Several years ago, the success of a media push was based solely on numbers. Some of us followed unique formulas that would guesstimate the number of times a magazine was passed on or read in a waiting room, whatever we could come up with the make the number higher. Even if we were promoting a health issue that mostly impacted the African American community, a placement in a mainstream publication like Prevention, with a circulation of 2 million (multiplied of course by 3), was far better than landing coverage in a smaller-reaching African American-focused wellness magazine. But were the readers of Prevention entirely moved by the article? Did it generate meaningful conversation among the people most important to us? Just like the conversation you’re having with a well-dressed stranger reaching for the same passed, stuffed mushroom at the fancy party of 200 plus, it’s not likely.
Today more than ever, we want to reach the right people with our media relations efforts, not just lots of people. With the “intimate dinner approach,” we’re now focused on who our audience is and engaging them on a deep and personal level. We know that our audience is most in tune to our messages and likely to share what they hear through media channels with their closest friends over dinner later that night. And many of these friends are part of our target audience too.
Just like sharing behaviors we see on social media, topics that make an impact in a conversation are likely to be brought up again by those conversation participants at a later time, to yet another group of friends. More than ever before, the way in which our story is shared on social media beyond its initial publication, means greater success. Just like inVentiv Health PR Group’s Marianne Eisenmann said in a Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News article, we need to “speak the language” of our audience, and tell the story through media channels that resonate the most. The Association of Magazine Media last year unveiled its very own Magazine Media 360°, a metric that captures demand for magazine media content by measuring audiences across multiple platforms and formats (including print/digital editions, websites and video) to provide an accurate picture of magazine media vitality. Based on the way it measures the impact of reaching an audience, it gives Better Homes & Gardens top markings among the women’s books, and that spot comes from way more than just a circulation number. A placement in a focused and personalized publication like BH&G is one that is read, shared, and making an impression on its readers, just like that intimate dinner with friends. So pass the salt, and let’s get personal with our media relations.