Quantity or quality in media coverage... what's better?

A signpost silhouetted against a sunset sky

Quality versus quantity media coverage. It’s a conundrum so many people struggle with when they decide to start pitching to the media as part of their marketing strategy. Do you wait for those big, juicy, dream opportunities to come through, knowing they are likely to happen far less often, or do you pick up smaller opportunities (for example, replying to journo requests) on the regular in order to create a kind of drip-feed of publicity for yourself, knowing it won’t be as impactful as the bigger stuff, but that it will look good to be regularly appearing in the media?

It’s something I know that people doing their own PR and PR professionals think about regularly and it can be difficult to work out what’s the best way to track your success.

Here are my thoughts on it.

It’s all in how you measure quality

You probably think that securing a multi-page feature on your brand is a bigger win than a one-sentence mention in several others, but there’s more to it than that. Quality coverage shouldn’t just be judged by how prestigious the media title is - it should be measured by whether or not that piece is going to be an effective form of marketing for you. If it’s not reaching your target audience or helping align you with wider business goals you have (for example, securing more investment, being seen as a field expert and getting invited to talk on panels etc) then it doesn’t matter how fancy the media title is, it’s not really a piece of quality coverage for you.

…But quantity shouldn’t be sniffed at, either

Going after those smaller hits might not feel as exciting as landing a big feature, but there are some real benefits to it. Firstly, sharing another piece of coverage with your audience gives them the impression that you’re regularly being called upon by the media, and therefore must be deemed a real expert or talent. And when you’re deemed a real expert or talent, it must mean that your product or service is of high quality. This makes it much easier for them to trust you and buy.

On top of that, going down the quantity media coverage route will put your business in front of more eyes and, even if they’re not necessarily those of people who would buy from you, they might be the partner/ family member/ friend/ colleague of someone who would. Never underestimate the power of a personal recommendation.

There’s also the fact that the more media coverage you get, the more it’ll boost your website’s SEO.

The answer? Go for both

I know that might be an annoying answer, but I’d suggest aiming for both. You don’t need to be going for media opportunities all the time, but try to see the smaller opportunities - responding to journo requests, providing a quick quote in a larger piece, etc - as a great stepping stone to the big ones. Getting smaller bits of media coverage can help you secure the larger ones, because journalists can see you’ve been trusted by the media before.

In the end, I think the smaller (quantity) pieces of coverage are a great way to cut your teeth and practice getting ready for the bigger ones, whilst the bigger (quality) pieces will come around less often, but act as major marketing juggernauts for your business.

Just try to be strategic about the smaller opportunities you go for (making sure they fit at least one of the benefits I mentioned above) and those bigger ones will definitely come. The important thing here is just to get moving.