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Your Utility Shouldn’t Overlook Radio When it Comes to Public Relations

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Managing Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 33 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Oct 19, 2021
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A key part of any public relations practitioner’s job is to work the angles. That means coming up with story ideas and media outlets that others haven’t considered.

Television remains the king – and the most common target of PR campaigns. Social media isn’t far behind, but it’s more fragmented and there are more issues with credibility.

Then there’s the bedraggled print media, which once was the dominant force, but is increasingly battered and, sadly, increasingly irrelevant.

That leaves radio.

Yes, radio has lost clout, too, diluted by satellite competitions such as SiriusXM and internet-based outlets like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and many more.

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But remember that there are more than 15,000 radio stations in the United States, so you will have multiple options for coverage in nearly all markets. Many of those stations are on the AM dial and have a news or talk format (or some combination of both). These should be your targets.

Why, you might ask?

Radio stations often are desperate for content and can be a terrific landing spot for friendly coverage. If you make one of your executives available for an on-air interview, it likely will be positively received. And it’s not like the gang from “60 Minutes” will be grilling your executive – these stations are big into public service and feel the information presented by upstanding corporate citizens like yourself will interest their listeners.

When it comes to pitching story ideas or interviews with your executive interviews, brainstorm plenty of ideas in advance. Anything that helps put a face to your utility (or, in this case, a voice) will be good. So will consumer-friendly topics and stories about employees succeeding in difficult conditions, especially if there’s a weather element.

Some of the more general hot topics for utilities may resonate, too. Discussions on green energy, the pros and cons of burying power lines and consumer choice in selecting utilities are a couple of examples.

You may scoff at the idea of using relatively small outlets to get out your message, but remember to repurpose the interview or story segment by promoting it on your website and linking to it on your social media.

Small numbers of hits add up over time, and remember that this is just one part of your overall public relations effort.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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