First, let’s be clear what we mean by public relations, or PR, as it can mean different things to different people.
PR targets earned media, which means achieving editorial coverage in third-party online and print media, speaking opportunities at conferences, briefing analysts or other influencers who talk or write about you. The key is that you don’t pay for the publicity, you earn it by means of having something insightful to say or delivering thought leadership content.
So much for defining PR – what can it do for your business?
When you write a thought leadership article and place it in an industry publication, you gain the benefit of independent third-party editorial credibility. In other words, the editor of the publication has deemed your opinion to be valuable and you have earned that media coverage. This is unique to PR and cannot be achieved by advertising, sponsoring content on paid channels or publishing your own web content.
A regular stream of high-quality content is the lifeblood of most marketing campaigns. By embarking on a PR campaign your agency should brainstorm, research and write your stories to sustain your PR programme, repurposing that content to feed your other marketing channels.
Using PR to engage the media will support your future growth ambitions by reaching wider audiences than other channels. PR supports sales by boosting brand awareness and credibility, helps to educate prospects and paves the way for a positive reception to sales messages. Furthermore, it is one of the few ways you can reach senior executives in target companies with your key messages.
How do prospective customers and stakeholders know what you stand for? PR can build your reputation because it can reach audiences with consistent messaging that helps to build your brand. A positive reputation increases brand loyalty, helping to attract and retain customers.
Editors love content that adds value to their readership, so if you can write with authority about market trends, technologies, regulation or other issues affecting your target sectors, you will showcase your brand in the press while informing prospects in a way that makes them receptive to your solutions.
It’s hard to maintain a competitive advantage through your product or service offering alone. If you are successful, sooner or later a competitor will copy you. However, by building a media profile, you put up another barrier to your competitors. Doing PR well supports your value proposition.
Building your brand equity through a PR campaign will raise awareness with a broad range of stakeholders including business partners, potential investors and regulators. A regular cadence of press coverage also helps to reassure investors – current and future – that your business is ‘out-positioning’ its competitors. Ultimately, strong brand equity enables companies to charge higher prices and increase profit margins.
Investors feel reassured when they see an investee featured in the media, as it demonstrates that the business is building the value of its brand. By building a media profile that outshines your competitors through PR, you will enhance industry-wide trust and credibility with both existing and potential investors.
A consistent set of messages is critical to communicating successfully and will underpin all your communications across multiple channels, regardless of whether you implement campaigns in-house or using an agency partner. Embarking on PR can be the catalyst to sort out your messaging.
Apart from giving your brand and technology a platform and voice in the industry it also helps with credibility, content, sales, reputation, investor relations, differentiation, profit, and messaging. Isn’t it about time you step into the spotlight?