In our previous article, entitled What is public relations?, we looked at what is meant by the term ‘public relations’ (PR). In this article, we look at why you need to have a solid PR strategy for your business.
Reasons you need PR
Advertising on its own doesn’t work
People often ask us why one would need a PR strategy when there is advertising which does exactly the same thing – in other words lets the public know about what products and/or services you offer.
In an advertisement, you have a limited amount of space to communicate what you need to. This limited amount of space is often further decreased by graphics that are necessary to make your advertisement visually appealing. This may not be enough to convince your target audience of the necessity of buying your offering.
Advertisements play an extremely vital role in your digital marketing campaign but these must be supplemented by well thought-out PR media releases and thought-leadership pieces that elaborate on the benefits of that your audience will gain from purchasing what you have to offer.
You can measure digital PR’s results
Today, most publications have an online presence which have as good a reputation as their print counterparts do. They are always looking for content and – if they decide to run it – they won’t charge you. However, whether or not the article is published is at the discretion of the editor of that particular publication. If they do decide to publish it, they may edit it to fit in with the tone of the magazine. If you decide to take out a press office on a particular platform, and pay for this service, publication of your piece is guaranteed.
If your piece is published, as a courtesy they will link back to your site. This means that – using your analytics tool such as Google Analytics – you’ll be able to track the traffic you get from that particular site. So, judging from this, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you want to invest more heavily in that site by, for example, taking out a paid-for advertising campaign.
PR doesn’t usually carry as big a price tag as advertising
In most cases, PR doesn’t come with as hefty a price tag as advertisements do. As we mentioned previously, if the editor of a publication is interested in featuring your article they won’t charge you for featuring it.
In addition, PR has longer legs than an advertisement does. This is because once an advert stops running its reach stops with it. However, a PR release will be indexed and linked to by other bloggers or publications. As such, long after the release is off the front page of the publication’s website it will still be getting eyeballs on it and, as a result, may be bringing in business for you.
Leverage publicity opportunities
Just as in brand management and digital marketing, you want to keep a high profile in your PR efforts. The difference between these efforts is that by using PR you get free or low-cost exposure via publicity if you are actively seeking out events where different media are present. It is the difference between paying thousands for a television ad or simply being present at a televised expo in your industry and scoring a free interview. A good PR strategy will diarise these events to exploit the PR opportunities.
Planning for a crisis before it even happened gives you the upper hand to protect your company’s reputation. A PR strategy should contain at least a basic crisis management plan for company mistakes or occurrences that are out of management’s control. Though crisis management is an uncomfortable topic, having the skills to address these crises is crucial. It leaves you prepared to address your stakeholders and potential media enquiries and rectify the problem to protect the brand.
It strengthens your network
Having a large network with key, non-competitive role-players can assist in various departments of your company. Planning an event to promote your unique selling point? Use your network to invite key people and influencers. Planning on expanding your workforce and hiring the best personnel in the industry? Use your network to source the best recruits available by asking for referrals. A PR strategy will allow you to expand your network and foster mutually beneficial relationships.
Stay relevant by telling stories
People are almost always in for a good (but true!) story and PR gives companies the platform to share their narratives. By sharing newsworthy developments about the company, it may resonate with stakeholders and stay relevant without spending much money. A newsworthy product launch or philanthropy effort to inspire the masses are great ways to keep the company on everyone’s lips.
Do you want to get into the exciting world of PR? Or do you just want to learn more about PR and how it can help your business? If you answered “yes!” then the Digital School of Marketing’s Digital Public Relations Course is just for you! With essential modules such as developing a PR plan and how to create content that is specific to PR on offer, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity. For more information about this course and our other online digital marketing courses, visit our website.