Public relations are all about cultivating a positive reputation with the public. If the public thinks highly of your brand, then Public Relations has done its job. Advertising and PR may be closely connected, but they serve different purposes. Advertising is all about sales, while PR is all about a brand’s image.
All corporate giants invest in Public Relations, but that doesn’t mean PR is only effective if your business is making millions. Smaller companies often overlook PR, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from some positive exposure.
Want to know how PR can help your business? Keep reading to find out why PR is so important!
PR vs Marketing
PR and marketing are not one and the same. Marketing is all about effective and targeted advertising that seeks to return direct sales and profit to the company. On the other hand, Public Relations focuses on reputation management and making sure that the company’s well-received with the media and the public.
They also target completely different audiences. PR aims to maintain positive relationships with customers that are already interested in the brand, while marketing aims to reach current, but also new customers.
Marketing teams focus on strategies that will make a brand’s products or services attractive to the public. Public Relations is all about selling the brand by managing the communication channel between a business and its stakeholders.
Marketing strategies focus on instant and tangible sales success. A PR program is a long-term investment that takes time to show visible results. Marketing may involve investing in SEO or social media ads, whereas Public Relations works behind the scenes.
PR is difficult because there’s only so much a company can do about it. A company can spend millions on marketing, but you can’t bribe people into liking your brand, at least not directly.
To make sure that your voice is heard, you’ll need to convince influencers that your brand and its products are worth their time and money. This lack of control may seem scary at first, but with a clear plan in mind, you won’t find it hard to sway opinion in your favour.
Why Is PR so Important?
Marketing is great, but if your business doesn’t focus on PR, you’ll be missing out on necessary and valuable exposure. PR Agencies have grown 30% yearly in the past five years. Public Relations is crucial for a brand because:
- It increases brand credibility. You want people on your side. Some call it trust, but that may sound too dramatic. If you’re credible, then people like your brand because they know you have authority and put their needs first.
- It increases sales and profits. An enhanced reputation will bring in more customers and keep current customers content.
- It changes the way people think about you. In the online world that we live in, people can freely express their opinions and concerns. It’s easy to earn a bad reputation due to an honest mistake. By raising awareness for your brand, you can change the way people think about you—for the better.
- It helps your online presence. Our interconnected digital world demands that we maintain an online presence. PR can help build a brand image that resonates with Internet and social media users.
Getting the right media coverage is key to successful PR. To get the coverage that you need, you must know your niche industry well. Ask yourself these questions:
- What media outlets are relevant and important to my industry?
- What stories/news interest them?
- What is their target audience?
But this is only the beginning. It is often the case that multiple contacts serve different roles within a media outlet. Knowing who does what will help you reach out to people that could potentially help you get the coverage you need.
You also need to consider connecting with media contacts and publications on social media. Keep reminding them of your brand’s value and contribution to the target industry as a whole by staying active and being responsive. Make sure you like, comment and share their posts frequently.
Media coverage is the cornerstone of public relations and can generate fantastic brand awareness. If you’re on a tight schedule and need to get media coverage fast, make sure you do your research. There’s nothing worse than spending time trying to get coverage from media outlets that couldn’t care less about your brand or product.
Media coverage is one way to generate brand awareness but it’s not the only one. What about recommendations and awards? Businesses that have won an award get a huge credibility boost.
Local business journals will often award small business with special awards. These are extremely valuable to a brand as they help showcase achievements and make connections with larger businesses so much easier.
You may also want to consider speaking or contributing content at special industry events. Speaking opportunities are rare, but with a killer idea and a confident winner’s attitude, you might just be able to secure a spot.
You’ll have to fill out several applications outlining your contribution and topic. Speaking is competitive so you’ll need to be prepared and come up with something interesting that you know people will want to hear.
If you have the extra cash and are willing to try out something new, you may want to consider connecting with popular influencers. 60% of PR executives believe that the influencer marketing is becoming more important.
Influencers have a strong social media following that you can use to your advantage. They can bring your brand to new audiences and offer much-needed exposure to your product or service.
Do Public Relations Right
Public relations are not easy. To do it right you must have the necessary knowledge and understanding of all the possible factors that can influence the public’s attitudes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to successful PR:
- The first thing you need to do is assess the situation. You believe your company is the best company in the world, but what do people think? What are the key factors that might influence their opinion?
- Prepare for the campaign. Define the goals and desired outcomes, as well as any problems or constraints. What do you want to achieve and what are some challenges you might face?
- Come up with a viable plan. You know your audience and you have an idea of where exactly you want to be. This is the time to outline the brand’s strategies and tactics. Be creative and try to think outside the box.
- Now you need to start communicating with your targeted public. How do you intend to reach your audience? Some techniques include press conferences, social media campaigns or other events.
- You did your best. This may be a stressful time, but feedback is crucial to developing better and more effective future PR strategies. How did the public react? Did everything go as planned or where there unexpected developments? Assess the campaign, make adjustments and start over.
This may sound like a lot, but as long as you have a plan and are consistent with your approach, PR will quickly become second nature. Remember that Public Relations is not just about influence. It’s about communicating values and ideals. It takes confidence and determination. Before convincing the public about the value of your brand, you first need to convince yourself.
This is why you need to build a strong brand identity. Find out how you can effectively communicate your brand’s story here!