opinion

How Pleasure Brands Can Leverage Strategic PR Amid Mainstream Media Layoffs

How Pleasure Brands Can Leverage Strategic PR Amid Mainstream Media Layoffs

Thanks to the mainstreaming of intimacy products, pleasure brands can now gain broad exposure in all kinds of publications, from Cosmo to Allure to Good Housekeeping. Unfortunately, the economic uncertainty dominating the world and challenging businesses has hit the media sector particularly hard. It seems like every time you refresh your LinkedIn feed or check the news, more people are being laid off. Fewer staff writers means overtaxed editors and more competition among freelancers.

With talented media pros losing their jobs, and budget freezes slashing money for commissioning articles, how can pleasure brands’ marketing departments, and the PR companies they work with, maintain the level of exposure and publicity they need to stay competitive — while simultaneously supporting now-struggling media outlets that in the past have helped the pleasure sector reach new heights?

Consistency and visibility are vital for long-term success, and you can't achieve those things without long-term investment in PR, in good times and tough times alike.

Keep your foot on the pedal

When times are tight, it is natural to hesitate, be cautious and buckle down. Yet even when it feels like we are in a state of emergency, with many companies making tough budget decisions, pleasure brands need to maintain their public relations efforts. In fact, it is now even more important to have effective PR, in order to get your brand seen through all the chaos.

Brands need to continue reaching audiences effectively, communicating specific points about what makes their products special. When a brand’s messaging and outreach disappear, that signals to its audience that this company is not important, or even that it isn’t around anymore. Consistency and visibility are vital for long-term success, and you can't achieve those things without long-term investment in PR, in good times and tough times alike.

Give journalists and editors what they need, when they need it

Send freelancers unique pitches that haven’t already been sent to every other journalist in their field. Writers often receive tons of generic pitches that don’t necessarily translate into eye-catching stories. We can alleviate their pressure by coming up with timely angles or story titles and pitching them at the right time.

Patience is also key. These days, pitches are taking longer to land, and editors often require more time to get back to writers. Give journalists time to properly shop the story around. Follow-up is certainly important, but so is giving them space. After all, many freelance writers have lost what used to be a steady source of income, so they’re hustling extra hard.

As always, it’s crucial to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with writers. Send personalized emails, rather than ineffectively broadcasting hundreds of identical, generic messages. Inviting writers on press trips can also increase the likelihood of getting a story off the ground — but remember that in these difficult days, they likely won’t have expenses covered by their commission editor. Offering to cover all costs can certainly help your brand stand out.

With layoffs happening unpredictably, ask journalists if they would be comfortable providing their personal email so you don’t lose contact should something change suddenly. If you hear they lost a job, you can check in to see if you can help.

No matter what the economy is like, providing timely and well-developed story ideas helps remove the guesswork for journalists, speeding up the process on their end. This also tends to move things up the chain of command much more quickly and efficiently. Competition in the editorial world is tough, and journalists aren’t looking for fluff; they want a real news story with a sharp angle that will capture their audience’s attention.

Work smarter, not harder

Focus on niche marketing and speak to your audience concisely. Mass marketing may offer broad reach, but homing in on demographic factors like salary, location, job title and values can maximize your budget by directing your story at people who want to hear it.

Regularly revisiting strategy and messaging tactics, along with clearly defining metrics, are other ways to stay nimble and ultimately solidify your brand’s standing in the industry.

Remember: journalism and PR work hand in hand. They can’t exist without each other. So lead with empathy, and don’t give in to panic. By standing by each other and choosing tactics that help us adapt to changing times, we can all survive the current crisis as well as inevitable future industry shifts.

Kathryn Byberg is the founder and CEO of Little Leaf Agency, a PR and communications agency dedicated to sexual wellness.

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