Founder of international agency Believe Advertising & PR | Best-Selling Author.
It’s a fair assumption that many people only have a vague idea of what publicity is and why it’s useful for business. The companies that have figured out the value of having PR as a part of their marketing mix have spent the time staying on top of the most current trends and strategies. We can see this all the time by the way that some of the most well-known companies advertise their products and how they have each found their unique ways of keeping current customers informed while also reaching out to new customers all the while.
Here are five key reasons why your business should have publicity as a part of your communications strategy and what you stand to gain by doing so.
1. Brand Awareness
One of the most important benefits of PR is generating awareness for your brand. This can take shape by working with influencers, gaining coverage in news media or bolstering your thought leadership profile. A common saying is that generating brand awareness is a marathon, not a sprint. However, with the rise of online media, just one good news story can increase your sales and leads overnight. The benefits of having publicity as part of your marketing mix come both in the short-term and the long-term. It’s important to make sure that you are gaining publicity for your brand in places that will allow potential customers to have a strong degree of interest and trust in what you’re offering and why they should have it.
2. Developing A Credible Relationship With Customers
A key benefit of having publicity in your communications plan is the ability to develop a more intimate relationship with potential customers. PR can allow you to interact directly with your target audience from the start, making sure that the right people are aware of your brand and are interested in it. Developing these relationships will not only help you build a strong base of devoted customers, but it will also give you a group of people who will give you honest feedback and hold your business accountable.
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3. Bolstering Your Online Presence
Having a business with a strong and active online presence is crucial. We’ve seen people increase the amount of time they spend on news sites, meaning that a potential customer is only one post or article away from becoming familiar with your business. Having publicity as part of your marketing mix allows you to be proactive in promoting yourself online, reaffirming that you are attracting the right kinds of customers to your business.
4. Presenting A Positive Company Image
Negative press can be anything from an incredibly negative review, a video criticizing your company’s practices or negative comments. It’s important that you have the tools and know-how available to rectify these issues. As a company, you can easily use publicity to help gain positive coverage. Using PR in your marketing mix can turn the tide of any potential negative coverage by continually providing positive news stories, and to top it all off, the positive news coverage can improve your search rankings as well.
Using PR is also about being proactive within your consumer base and community to show that your company has goodwill. Whether it’s creating or participating in a charity campaign, demonstrating your company’s positive work environment or being an active member of your business community, it’s important to leverage publicity to show the world how great your company is and how amazing your employees are.
5. Staying Competitive On A Budget
Refining your marketing mix to best suit your company’s interests can help improve your ROI. You don’t want to invest too heavily in something for it only to give you diminishing returns, and with many companies increasingly relying on online advertising, space has gotten more competitive than ever before. However, with publicity, you can cut through all the clutter and get the results you want. With PR, you can gain credible media coverage across a broad range of news outlets, obtain product placement on TV and even get online exposure through influencers that would often cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars if you were trying to do an advertising campaign.
How To Get Started
Balancing your business’s marketing mix can be difficult. Finding the right combination of approaches that are best for your company’s goals is a tremendous feat in itself. In addition, successfully executing your plan is a tremendous workload.
To make things easier, let’s walk through some easy first steps that you can take to make PR part of your marketing mix. First, it’s important to identify your ideal outcomes upfront. What news outlet do you want to be featured in? What do you want your end result to be? Then, you’ve got to craft a story that you think will work.
After you have your piece ready, go ahead and pitch it to a journalist who writes for the news outlet. If you get rejected, it’s important to remember that PR is about perseverance.
Obviously, the process of PR can be incredibly time- and writing-intensive. If you feel like you can handle that workload, then go for it. Otherwise, you might want to consider delegating that work to a publicist or a PR agency that has a proven track record of putting the work in and getting results.
The most important thing about having PR as part of your marketing mix is setting expectations as a company. Publicity is a reliable way to constantly be moving your company forward, but you’ve got to be willing to do it right the first time so you can stay on top of all the other things your business will be doing. Think about these five ways that your company can benefit from PR, and then identify your goals upfront and work for them.
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Author: Adrian Falk, Forbes Councils Member