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Quality vs. Quantity: What Works Best for Media Placements?

Anna Shymanski

Anna Shymanski

At Walker Sands, we’re big fans of using data-driven PR to get our clients great results. Across all of our practice areas, every client can use surveys and data to tell compelling stories that align with their larger business goals and position them as thought leaders in their industry. Even when our clients’ studies aren’t as successful as we expected, it presents a challenge of turning that data into something newsworthy. Earning a data study placement is kind of like eating a Dove dark chocolate — once you have one, you need at least three more to feel satisfied.

It’s easy to become placement hungry in media relations. But who’s to say earning 10 small placements in a given month is more impressive than one high-quality, top-tier placement?

In my experience, both answers can be correct. When clients kick off a PR program, they usually determine a target number of placements per month. While we’re always on the lookout to get clients both quality and quality placements, different clients prefer different outcomes. Ultimately, the client themselves must decide what will best help them meet their company goals.


If a client is looking to drive a large number of leads, racking up placements every month might be the solution they’re looking for. In this case, hitting trade publications might be more of a priority than larger pubs like the New York Times or TechCrunch.

This doesn’t mean that trade placements are considered low-quality by any means — for a marketing technology client, for example, landing a placement in Direct Marketing News or Marketing Land is considered a big win. In some cases, too, a “smaller” placement is just as hard to earn as something in the Wall Street Journal. Because trade publication reporters are somewhat more accessible than reporters  at larger pubs, there are more opportunities to develop strong reporter relationships that benefit our clients. Placements in trades are great because, although their audiences are smaller, they are often more targeted than a big pub, allowing clients to drive quality leads.


While raking in hundreds of placements in a given year is remarkable feat any PR pro should be proud of, sometimes a few high quality placements go  further than a bunch of smaller ones. If a client’s top priority is building brand awareness, a handful of top-tier placements that tie in their messaging to a larger trend might be the right goal to aim for.

Securing these kind of placements, however, can take more effort than others. Corresponding back and forth with a reporter for one story in a given week can take up as much time as standard media outreach, and when working with several different clients, a PR folk’s time is precious. Pursuing a top-tier feature or trend story may mean sacrificing thought leadership pitching or newsjacking one week to keep workloads balanced, but this can be the right choice to achieve certain business goals.

At Walker Sands, we strive to give our clients a balance of both quality and quantity placements every single month. Choosing one strategy over another may not be realistic, but with a true understanding of a client’s goals, any PR pro can determine what the best course of action is. Our strong relationships with our clients give us the flexibility to create tailored programs that can change throughout our partnerships based on need.

Being placement hungry isn’t always a bad strategy, but it may not always be the right one.

Which media placements strategy would your company prioritize? Check out our approach to media relations!