What’s the point of coverage anyway?.

February 21st 2018

By Jo Vyvyan-Robinson…


The PR industry is obsessed with ‘securing coverage’ and ‘YOY increase in SOV’ for clients. My social news feeds are full of agencies shouting about the amazing coverage they have achieved. Even in this day and age of more complex measurement this is still our failsafe indicator of success. We don’t seem to shout about the impact this is having beyond column inches earned. Maybe some agencies don’t know or worse, don’t care? Surely though, this is what matters. Otherwise what’s it all for?

I refuse to let Stir be judged on SOV. Quite simply SOV is not enough for us. It makes us feel good of course, achieving coverage gives us a buzz, but nothing beats the feeling of being part of positive change. Generating coverage that drives behavioural change, positively influences perceptions of a brand, grows a business or results in a product selling out; that’s the real reward agencies should be seeking to be a part of.

I’d love to see more agencies shouting about the outcome of their work, to reinforce PR as a marketing discipline that can deliver genuine impact, beyond column inches.

An example of how our work delivers more than SOV:

On the 5th January the Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announced plans to introduce a 25p ‘latte levy’ on paper cups to support the UK’s ‘war on waste’. This provided a great opportunity for us to highjack the news for relatively unknown Frugalpac, who creates innovative packaging that can actually be recycled. With a simple message: If coffee shops switch to these cups, the need for the levy dissolves. Through our extensive media contacts we achieved widespread national and broadcast coverage and interviews with the founder and creator. It was this timely media moment and an engaged audience (in this case coffee shop owners), which has resulted in five coffee chains and a major retailer seeking more information which will lead to new contracts for our client in 2018. Securing BBC Breakfast, Sky News and BBC One Show, to name a few, felt pretty good, but knowing our work has resulted in new contracts and increased revenue streams for our client in 2018 felt a whole lot better.