As a critical business function, Public Relations acknowledges that the media plays a crucial role in creating brand awareness and shaping public opinion. However, those with extensive experience in public relations practice will attest that historically, organisations’ management often succumbs to the temptation to cut back on budgets allocated to media and PR amid tough times.
For some organisations, media spending in difficult times may be perceived as a luxury. This can often be a result of the challenges associated with measuring Return on Investment (ROI) after the expenditure. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that tough times demand increased investment in PR initiatives, including media relations.
Through the creation of compelling content that inspires confidence, educates the audience, and shapes public perception, PR and the media can play a pivotal role in navigating tough times.
While this should be the norm, it is not always the case and as such, the onus lies on organisations and PR professionals to proactively explore alternatives that make PR thrive amid tough times.
In the latest World PR Day Festival Twitter Spaces organised by Global Media Alliance in collaboration with industry professionals, the panelists – including Henry Nii Dottey, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication at UBA; Sadat Laminu, Agency Lead at Irvine Partners; Albertina Kashuupulwa, Founder and Managing Consultant of Tulip Media (Namibia); and Omawumi Ogbe, Managing Partner of GLG Communications (Nigeria) – delved into activities and substitutions that can be made when there is a budget cut.
The Twitter Spaces, held under the theme ‘Media-PR Budget Cut: What’s the Alternative for Agencies and Organisations, saw these four experienced PR and media professionals share insightful thoughts.
For example, Henry Nii Dottey made a salient point about the use of social media and story-telling in a way that brings value to one’s organisation in the wake of a PR-media budget cut. “Not many of us take advantage of the power of digital media that brings value to our organisation. Leveraging the power of story-telling and emotional touch allows us to bring the needed drive to our campaigns. It is such a powerful tool for every PR practitioner,” he explained.
Mr. Dottey added that content marketing in public relations, such as using infographics, blogs, podcasting and business series online, is a great way to interact with your audience despite a cut in the budget.
Tips from the founder and managing consultant of Tulip Media, Albertina Kashuupulwa, on earning media through relationships would be hard to forget. In her words: “Establishing good relationships with media persons serves as an avenue for cutting down budgets”.
Beyond relationships, however, Albertina strongly recommends that crafting newsworthy and compelling content is a sure way to get the attention of journalists and the media without breaking the bank.
Also, Sadat Laminu of Irvine Partners brought illustrations to play as he explained how organisations can make use of their own channels instead of relying on mainstream media platforms.
Stating a real-life example, he shared: “Expand reach on your own channels. If you are launching a new product, you could decide to do a live launch on your own channel as the event is ongoing instead of relying on mainstream media. You could also boost the content so it can reach a varied audience”. Drawing from years of experience as a PR and media professional, Sadat noted that: “Harnessing the power of influencer marketing can be very cost-effective in amplifying your brand message”.
Throughout the spaces, one whose passion for “matching the budget with the work” was clearly visible was Omawumi Ogbe, the managing partner of GLG Communications (Nigeria). Omawumi was emphatic on the fact that “relationships in PR are very key and as such, it is important to provide value for money and work within budgets”.
She added: “The strongest negotiator is one ready to walk away from inadequate money”.
In a little over an hour of the WPRD Festival Twitter Spaces on Media and Budget Cuts moderated by Afia Drah – Head of Communications at the Trust Hospital, nuggets on creating value for one’s organisation without an adequate budget were unearthed.
Through digital marketing tools, newsworthy and compelling content creation, influencer marketing, building relationships with the media, and taking advantage of the organisation’s channels are all great ways to thrive amid turbulent times. Following these exciting spaces, it is worth looking forward to the next spaces that will be held under the theme ‘PR and the Media’.
>>>the writer is PR Account Manager, Global Media Alliance