Four reasons why PR should be part of your communications
Public relations and the maintaining of a favourable public image of one’s company has long been an important element of energy, health and tech companies’ communications strategies. Yet too often, PR is seen a standalone element or isn’t adopted to its full potential.
Why PR is so important:
1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
PR is an integral element of a full marketing and communications campaign and is much more powerful when supporting other activities, from branding and messaging through to advertising and social media profiling. You might have a fantastic new brand and logo but it could be the industry’s best kept secret if you don’t get the word out to current and prospective clients.
PR means taking forward your brand and company differentiators to specific audiences across your sector. It’s not just press releases but also case studies, by-lined articles, event support, awards submissions and much more.
2. It’s cost-effective, credible and can deliver strong returns
PR can be highly cost-effective getting the word out to many with free editorial. Any publication that charges for content is essentially selling advertorial (paid for content) and should on most occasions be not considered. With PR the cost is in running and maintaining the activity, securing the editorial, building relationships, finding opportunities and angles which will excite your audiences. The results? Cost-effective, credible awareness building.
3. PR creates a company reputation for years to come
PR is enormously effective in positioning a company as a genuine industry-leader, leading the debate and setting the agenda. How do we do this? One way is through issues-based articles. Many publications have industry slots where senior executives can talk about where they see the sector moving. Such pieces can really move the dial in terms of a company’s position and reputation in the marketplace.
4. There’s so much you can do with the end results
PR is a content generator that can be used to support other marketing-related campaigns. For example, reprints of articles can be ordered and disseminated at trade shows and to customers, and – as they are essentially a third-party endorsement of the company – can often be more effective than other marketing literature. Such coverage can also generate traffic to the company web site, be used as a catalyst for social media campaigns, and be incorporated into industry papers.
1. Don’t simply halt PR because you don’t think you have anything to say!
All companies – if still in business and looking to recruit customers – have something to say and just because you might be having a quiet year on the new product or contracts front (all the more reason for PR!), there are always ways of keeping your profile high in front of target audiences. What this requires is a creative approach to PR including interesting news hooks, maybe from a mini-survey, issues-based opinion piece in target media, or profiles. Every company has something relevant to say.
2. Don’t engage in a stop/start PR campaign
Some companies think they can simply turn on and off the tap when it comes to a PR campaign. The best PR campaigns, however, are long-term awareness building campaigns where you gradually increase the company’s profile and get in front of journalists. An enormous amount of preparation goes into putting in place the building blocks for a successful campaign – from developing briefing documents, researching the latest editorial calendars, introducing the company to journalists etc. Stop the campaign and start again and you are almost back to square one with a negative impact on budgets and returns.
3. Don’t target any publication without doing due diligence
Sadly, in all sectors there are publications who promise the world to ‘would-be’ clients saying that they have readerships in the hundreds of thousands and that a small investment can give a huge impact on your company’s profile. Stay away! No self-respecting publication is going to charge you for editorial and all the reputable publications conduct independent audits so you can see who actually reads the publication.
4. Don’t ignore the ‘so what’ test
Many companies get so wrapped up in their own products, technologies and activities that they sometimes start writing press releases without fully asking themselves the question – ‘so what?’. In the wider world, however, the launch of a new web site, the decision to attend a trade show, or a very small upgrade to an existing product is simply not newsworthy. Make sure you focus your time on news announcements that have a really strong news hook and get a third-party perspective if at all possible.
If you want to be an industry leader, create a buzz in the marketplace, reach out to key target audiences and ensure that communications activities have a positive impact on the business, the bottom line and market share, PR remains a hugely valuable part of the marketing mix today. Use it the right way and the benefits will be there for all to see.