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PR in Russia: How to Make It Effective?



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PR is an integral component in promotion of any major brand. Despite the rapid development of the Internet and social networks, the media continue to be the main tool in creating public awareness and managing the reputation. Effective promotion is impossible without the competent interaction with the media. How to build relationships with the media and professionals of a desired sector, read in RMAA Group blog.

Public Relations in Russia have a short but rich history: the way that PR in the US had taken over 200 years, in Russia took a few decades. The first signs of PR have been noted in the late Soviet Union, when top officials had spokesmen. The rapid development of the industry in Russia began after the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly on the basis of theoretical and practical experience accumulated abroad. Within 10 years PR in Russia has gained all the features of a separate branch: professional association, legal and regulatory framework, educational programs, the sector's mass media, professional awards. Today PR in Russia functions steadily on the Western model and continues to evolve.

Any public communication should be mutually beneficial. A company receives advertising and references, increases brand recognition; journalists get an interesting, relevant and up to date information. If you work directly with professionals, they must acquire new knowledge or the opportunity to relax. Therefore, before the organization of a press conference or an event it is important to think about how to make it interesting not only for you.

Communication with journalists

The main principle in building relations with the media in Russia is that the information you provide should be interesting, relevant and exclusive. There are many formats of such information: information about the company's plans, expert opinion of the company’s representative, industry analyst, comments on relevant issues, work with negative information, and others. The less advertising a news topic appears, the better journalists will make contact with you.

The most common means of communication with the media remain the press releases. Press releases can pursue different goals. Most often, it is an invitation to an event organized by the company: press conference, or any event. Press releases could be distributed for the purpose of direct publishing in the media, but high-quality publications rarely allow themselves to publish press releases. However, press release can arouse the interest of journalists, then the material will be written on the basis of the press release, and the journalist will address to you for additional comments.

In case of an invitation to the event, press release should be sent in advance, and then one more with revised information just prior to the event. The main purpose of a press release is to attract the attention of journalists. A journalist can receive dozens of press releases during the day and used to look through them without much enthusiasm. Therefore, it is very important to interest from the outset. This requires an informative title, and the main factual information to be contained in the first two paragraphs. If the information message interests a journalist, he will read it to the end. A scheme of inverted pyramid will be more effective here: important - at the beginning, secondary - at the end.

In Russia a press conference remains the most common event where journalists are invited. This is a traditional format of dialogue with journalists convenient for companies. It is the only way to bring the necessary information directly to a large number of journalists and reply immediately to questions. The success of the press conference as a PR-action is determined by the quality of the newsworthy event and the selection of speakers.

As regards other forms of interaction with journalists, their range is quite wide. These are charity events, costume shows, actions with social connotations (often in collaboration with the authorities) and various industry events, if you want to attract the sector's mass media. Such events requires careful organization and some financial investment, but in case of having a good newsworthy event, they will resonate much more than an ordinary press conference.

Paid and free publications in the media

The question of how important it is for a publication in the media not to look like a paid one is often discussed among PR specialists. However, in the Russian media the difference between paid and “free” publication is often that a material will be marked "On the Rights of Advertising". With regard to the price, taking into account the numerous costs a “free” publication will cost a little less but take more time to be made.

Pros of the "free" publications:

• In some cases, they will really be free;

• Absence of the mark "On the Rights of Advertising" will increase the reader's confidence;

• Preparation and formulation of such publications will inevitably be accompanied by a close cooperation with the media and establishment of contacts./p>

Cons of the "free" publications:

• In most cases, the preparation of the "free" publications is linked to the costs of building relationships with editors and other related costs;

• When preparing the promotional material you can fully control the content of the material, it will be agreed with you and edited according to your wishes. In case of the "free" publication, the journalist writes everything he deems necessary, and will not discuss the material with you;

• If the material does not meet your expectations, the loss of good relations with editorial board is very probable.

Thus, there is a risk that eventually the "free" publications will work against you. However, this does not mean that you should completely refuse them and fully commercialize the cooperation with the media. For example, some experts advise to alternate paid publication with the "free" ones. Therefore, the platform will be interested in working with you and is more likely to meet your wishes.

Events for professionals

Another tool in public relations is to establish communication directly with a professional community. We are talking about all kinds of conferences or seminars where professionals interested in your product are invited. Today in Russia, such events are already being used by many companies.

One of the most striking examples of using this tool is conferences for doctors, organized by pharmaceutical companies. A company presents its product (medicines), while creating a casual relaxing environment, for example, taking doctors out of the city. As a result, doctors are willing to participate in such events, allowing them to relax, communicate with colleagues and learn something new. So they keep a good impression from the presented product, and all other things being equal, they will appoint their patients precisely this one. The same scheme with some adjustments is possible for many other industries.

Public relations today are an important tool in creating public awareness in Russia. PR allows to form audience’s loyalty to the brand, as well as to interest and motivate the audience to seek further information about the company's products. The main tools used in PR are connected to engaging with the media, organization of events and creating your own newsworthy event. RMAA Group specialists will provide you with the most effective strategy for engaging with the media and help to draw public attention to your company.

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About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

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