Just like social media and journalism, public relations is constantly changing and remains malleable to the mediums and channels that each specific audience prefers. It has transitioned from solely focusing on print media to mostly focusing on digital media, which can come with upsides, but also a fair share of issues.
With that being said, it has become harder to define and maintain a good grasp on who your target audience is. In regards to crowdfunding campaigns, you need to know what PR can actually do for you and how it can help and hinder your campaign.
After recently attending an event with a journalist from TechCrunch as the keynote speaker, PR professionals sitting in the room were schooled on how to “correctly” pitch and know which outlets to reach out to for effective coverage. While public relations professionals have relationships with journalists that they know they can always turn to for an article or feature; those journalists might not have the right audience for your campaign.
While you may think that reaching out to top publications will boost your campaign funding into outer space, it also has the potential to harm your campaign. Reaching out to the wrong journalist, at the wrong publication, at the wrong time can seriously hurt your online reputation. For example, let’s say your campaign features a $600 coffeemaker that you can customize with your favorite sports team and you pitch to publications that college students would look at, thinking they will like to put their team on it. In your eyes, that seems like a great idea, however, a student journalist that writes for that popular online blog may look at the price of your product and either ignore you, or write a satirical article about the inconsideracy of your pitch because it’s too expensive for their respective audience.
The journalist might even go as far as printing your product’s pitch online and tearing it apart line-by-line, leaving your brand and product with a negative taste in your audience’s mouth, and your PR person with one less relationship. In order to avoid negative attention from journalists, it’s important to know your audience and what publications are the best fit for your product before pitching.
It’s also important to remember that pitching the right online publication is important. Again, while you want to pitch the big league publications like TechCrunch and Mashable for every important milestone of your campaign, you need to remember their brand and what they represent. Another example: if you are crowdfunding a beach blanket accessory, you wouldn’t want to pitch that to a tech-based online publication because it has nothing to do with tech products. As much as you want to be featured in these big publications, it might make more sense for you to reach out to influencers, such as mommy-bloggers. They might be able to do a review in trade for a sample, and their audience could help boost your funding.