Publicists work to place their clients in front of new audiences and demographics. This takes effort, but the benefits are threefold. “Expanding reach enables your clients to educate and build connections far beyond the scope of their primary industries,” explains David Watkins of Otter PR. “In addition, reaching new audiences positions your clients as thought leaders and influencers in their fields of expertise.”
Expanding reach educates new audiences
The goal of publicists is to cause the public to think positively about the clients they represent. Publicists aim to portray their clients’ products, services, talents, or insights in a favorable light to the broadest audience possible.
Initially, most clients prefer to focus on their target audiences or industries. “As clients and their brands grow, opportunities to expand reach present themselves,” says Watkins. “Helping a client step outside of his or her primary industry enables that client to educate unfamiliar audiences about the brand’s mission.”
Clients expand reach by making the message relevant
Engaging a loyal network of followers is easy. Expanding and diversifying that network requires publicists and clients to take a hard look at how their message can impact people beyond those already reached by the clients.
For example, suppose a publicist represents a substance abuse expert who owns a treatment center in Los Angeles. In that case, that client is most likely only focused on reaching people struggling with addiction. The publicist’s role is to help craft a story that would be relevant to many more people.
In this scenario, Watkins explains that the publicist might pitch the substance abuse expert to editors and writers in the TV/Film industry. The pitch could highlight the client’s expertise on addiction in reaction to a popular television show or film featuring a character battling substance abuse.
The substance abuse expert could either respond to a single episode or review an entire season. He could use his authority in the subject area to tackle questions such as: How authentic is the show’s portrayal of addiction? What real-world consequences of addiction in the show are most common? Was anything sensationalized for the sake of good TV?
Helping clients broaden their audiences by connecting their expertise to relevant topics outside their primary industry emphasizes their value and positions them as thought leaders. “You are enabling them to prove their insights have wide-reaching authority,” said Watkins.
Expanding reach offers a client the opportunity to share the mission with new audiences and make connections
As clients broaden their audiences, they discover opportunities to share their insights with people outside their primary industry. “After clients share expertise on the subjects relevant to the new audience, the editor, writer, reporter, or podcast host will probably want to know more about them personally and offer opportunities to build further connections,” says Watkins. “This is the opportunity for clients to plug their businesses, share their missions, share personal narratives, or provide links to their products and services.”
Let’s return to the example of the client who is a substance abuse expert. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, workers in the entertainment industry have the second-highest illicit drug use, compared to other major industries, and the third-highest number of workers with heavy alcohol use. “Given these statistics and the entertainment industry’s prominence in Los Angeles, the readers of Hollywood trade publications and TV/film blogs might deal with these issues themselves or know someone who does,” says Watkins. “Exposure and education throughout this industry would provide the substance abuse expert with new contacts and increase brand awareness.”
Expanding reach and growing an audience takes time, hard work, and dedication. In the beginning, clients may feel that pitching on subjects outside their primary industries is unproductive and unfocused. In time, however, publicists can help them discover that demonstrating relevance to a broad and diverse audience is the proven path to becoming influencers and thought leaders.