Red Hot Thoughts | Proactive PR vs Reactive PR

Public Relations is enjoying a resurgence, especially online, with many businesses turning to online marketing and PR tactics to grow their brand presence digitally.
This is becoming more prevalent since the global pandemic, as businesses are looking to invest in top of the funnel marketing to drive growth in a re-awakening market.

Overall, this is great news but it does have some challenges. The increase of competition for journalists attention does make gaining coverage tougher. In order to make our lives a little easier, PR professionals have to work a little harder to make sure our stories and campaigns as are eye-catching as possible. This means building a solid strategy that includes both reactive and proactive PR methods to increase our client’s brand awareness and visibility online.

Proactive PR

This method is built on layers of insight and research, making sure any PR tactics are as tailored to the client and their audience as possible.

Using tools to better understand a client’s audience is crucial. This involves identifying their interests, online behaviours and where they consume their content online. GlobalWebIndex is a great tool to help facilitate these insights.

After learning the type of publications the client’s audience visit, a target media list can be created highlighting where would be a good fit for any press releases and stories from your client.

Lastly, once you know where you want to be featured its time to work on your angles, campaigns and news announcements to be pitched to those journalists. This process is a labour of love, and involves plenty of research, media relationship building, writing and editing pitches, emailing, phoning, reaching out and following up, along with content marketing and social media amplification.

Reactive PR

As the name suggests, this method requires an ‘always-on’ approach and there are several scenarios where reactive PR can take place.

One is where a journalist comes directly to you or your client for a comment or data set to help with a story they are writing, and in turn being cited or even linked to within the article. For larger household named companies, this happens very often. However, if you client is a smaller business, this won’t happen as frequently, if at all, so you may have to be more active to find suitable journalist requests.

And this leads on to the second scenario, where you see a journalist looking for a source of information for a story they are working on. Twitter is a great place to find these by searching #JournoRequest. There are tools available that send journalist requests straight to your inbox, such as HARO and ResponseSource. HARO is a free source so a great option to connect with journalists.

It is worth noting that reactive PR shouldn’t be the only PR tactic, mainly because its very time consuming to go through all the requests and there is no guarantee your comments or information will be used within the story – you need to act fast and there will be a lot of competition.

Striking the right balance

The best method is a blend of the two.

Reactive PR should be a small piece of the strategy and, as previously mentioned, an always-on tactic to run alongside a proactive PR campaign. Proactive PR is the best way to spend your time and effort, to build a more effective and tailored strategy.

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Proactive vs Reactive PR

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