Men and women both regularly experience successful publicity campaigns, promoting their position as authorities in their fields by being quoted in the press, interviewed on the air and building a following on social media.
But (sorry, men) I think that women often enjoy an advantage on the PR front.
Why do I say that? When you think of consumers, who is really doing the buying across the United States? Hint: It’s not the men. Women account for a staggering 85 percent of all consumer purchases, a fact not lost on advertisers.
Because the media depend on the dollars they receive from advertisers for their very existence, they play to women and that means women have an advantage when it comes to seeking publicity.
We’ve seen the effects of this phenomenon when we send what we refer to as “hot sheets” to our media contacts. A hot sheet is a list of our clients in a particular field who can speak on the issues of the day.
Here’s something interesting we’ve encountered when we do that. If there’s a woman’s name on the hot sheet she may get a little more attention, assuming she has the same high-quality credentials as the men on the list.
The media may see her as someone who can speak directly to the concerns and interests of that highly coveted female audience.
But beyond the fact that the media often plays to the interests of women, there are other factors that in some cases can give women an edge in PR.
- Women bring a different point of view to the table. Everyone has experiences that shaped them, but women are more likely to have had experiences in line with that majority of consumers. One example is a client we had who was a financial professional. She put an emphasis on helping women with their retirement because she had taken on the role of caregiver and financial provider for her aging mother and an elderly aunt. She understood at the most personal level what it means for women to have a longer life expectancy than men, increasing the odds that they will outlive their money and need long-term care. In addition to advising clients, she also was able to use that knowledge to great advantage in her publicity campaign, getting featured in such top-tier publications as USA Today and Money Magazine.
- Women are good at recognizing and seizing opportunities. I always like to point out that public relations isn’t about direct sales. Instead, it’s about the credibility you gain from publicity and then leveraging that publicity so that potential customers or clients see you as a go-to authority in your field. One client, another female financial professional, did this in a marvelous way one day. She was speaking with an older couple who were considering hiring her. The husband appeared skeptical and quizzed her on how she would handle a specific situation. She replied that she could answer him, but Fox Business had just interviewed her on that particular topic and she suggested he read that article when he got home. He didn’t wait. He pulled out his phone right there in her office, found the Fox Business article that quoted her, and decided to hire her on the spot, impressed that a major media outlet considered her an authority on the subject!
Publicity is very much about building relationships with the media in print, broadcast and also these days through social media, and studies on leadership traits have shown that women outshine men when it comes to building relationships.
Of course, anyone can have a great PR campaign if they are willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to build those relationships with the media, and to persevere and try new tactics when it seems that the media just isn’t that interested in what you’re offering.
But for women, the efforts involved with a great publicity campaign may just come more naturally.
P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!