Public relations (PR) can be an incredible tool for organisations, but not many understand the true value it can bring to a business. If there’s anything that can summarise its true meaning though, it's the old saying, “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for.”
Public relations can help a company, or an individual, build a positive brand image through a variety of pathways, including traditional media, such as newspapers and magazines, in-person engagements and unpaid communications. It can be key in building a good reputation, and defending a reputation in a crisis.
Whether it’s sending out a press release, securing a comment piece or voicing an opinion as an important industry news story breaks, how can PR enhance the image that the public, and other members of your sector, have of you and your business?
Regularly getting your name in front of your target audience will build brand recognition. Securing at least one piece of coverage a month will ensure that your name appears in front of the right people, consistently. The more they see it, the more they’ll think of you should they need the product or service you offer.
It can also be key in creating public awareness of your key messages and ideas. If you need to realign your brand’s messaging, getting it in front of the people in your industry on a regular basis is key.
Appearing in magazines, blogs, and newspapers can get your company’ name in front of the people that matter the most.
For B2B, there are plenty of trade publications for each sector that are read and digested by industry leaders. Writing an article, or getting your news in these publications will help to get your brand in front of a relevant audience. Likewise for B2C, there are plenty of sector specific magazines and websites that are read by your customers daily.
From simple editorial pieces right through to securing speaking opportunities and industry awards, getting involved in your industry and voicing your opinion and knowledge will build undeniable credibility.
In terms of content and editorial, advisory pieces work excellently to position you and your brand as industry leaders. Similarly, crafting whitepapers or added-value content such as ‘how-to’ guides or industry reports can help you to provide an authoritative breakdown on issues in your industry, as well as increase your contact database significantly.
Speaking at events, conferences or exhibitions can have a similar effect, allowing you to showcase your industry knowledge amongst those in your sector, as well as allowing your company to stand out from the crowd.
Taking the time to go through an awards process can also be key in terms of cementing your status as knowledgeable experts in your field. At the very least, being shortlisted for a prestigious award can place you amongst other industry leaders, however, being able to say you have been awarded and recognised for your activity can put you at the forefront.
Going through the awards entry process allows for a vast amount of networking, so prepare to be chatty and forthcoming and you’ll build a great brand reputation and be collecting business cards in no time!
Crisis Management and Prevention
With all businesses, a crisis could occur at any time. It’s imperative that a plan-of-action is ready should something go wrong, especially for brands where issues are more likely or have happened in the past. This could be something as simple as a customer sending angry messages on social media about an order not being delivered on time - to much higher profile crises which could put key company stakeholders in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
In this scenario, public relations can manage the backlash that a business can face, reaching out to publications in order to turn a bad story into a good one, or offer an alternative, more positive story that can rebuild the brand image. But the main positive of PR for crisis management is that crises can often be prevented from happening in the first place, as long as you preempt what could happen and when, and have a plan to manage the worst-case scenario.
Support Marketing Activity
A reason that many brands turn their heads at PR is that it’s hard to prove that sales have taken place as a result of a piece of editorial, news coverage or other PR opportunities. But it’s important to remember that it does help with improving the lead-to-sales ratio as customers will have a higher awareness of a brand, along with a more positive perception of them - putting the brand high up on their wishlist for when they do have a requirement for your products/services. On top of this, it can support other marketing activity, reinforcing the overarching campaign implementation for a particular service, event or business as a whole.
So, with public relations able to build your brand reputation in a way that other marketing channels will not, isn’t it time you implemented a PR strategy? Finding good PR people can be very tricky, and that’s why many businesses opt to work with an agency on their PR strategy; with access to skilled and experienced PRs who will already have key press contacts and be able to make an impact from the get-go.
If you’re ready to start building your PR strategy or looking to work with a new agency that doesn’t treat you like a ‘client’ (jargon-filled monthly reports, infrequent communication, lack of understanding of your business model and objectives!) - get in touch and see how we could help to add value to your business...