What is PR?
PR stands for ‘public relations’, which is the business of managing communications between a business and the general public. Up until around 15 years ago that mainly meant acting as a liaison between a brand and the media, crafting messages and updating the press on new products, events or services. Now, following the rise of a wide range of new digital communications channels, PR campaigns also encompass other channels such as social media and deals with online reputation management.
So how can PR help your business?
PR campaigns can be targeted to help businesses at different stages of their growth and with different aims. Want to make a news splash about the launch of a new business or product to boost sales? Having your business mentioned in your industry press is a very quick way to get noticed. In some cases, a press release about a product is picked up by a national magazine or newspaper and that’s the equivalent of ‘going viral’! The business gets flung in front of thousands of readers and might even completely sell out. You can also use media liaison to line up interviews in industry magazines with the business owner or key member of staff. This will help to build trust, authority and brand awareness, elevating you above your competition.
How does PR work?
Depending on your aim, a PR professional will write a press release detailing the key features and benefits of your product or service, spinning the most newsworthy angle as a headline. The same applies for an interview pitch; the release needs to pull together the most newsworthy elements. Some journalists are bombarded with email pitches from PRs so it’s helpful to have a headline that will cut through the noise. Professional high-resolution images are essential, especially if you are promoting a consumer product. That might seem like a big investment, but they can be used to supercharge your website, social media and other marketing materials, so it’s worth the money. The PR will also collate a target list of publications and journalists to send it to. That step is key as it’s crucial that your messages are sent to the magazines, papers, newsletters and websites that your ideal customer is reading. The PR then manages the distribution of the release, liaising with the press if they ask for comments, more information or different images. The reward is all the lovely press coverage afterwards!
Surely PR is too expensive for me?
One of the most common misconceptions of PR that I hear is that it’s the preserve of big brands and corporations. Small and medium-sized business owners think that their budget simply won’t stretch to that. While there are plenty of agencies residing in big cities and working out of vast, sleek offices, I’m quick to disagree. That’s because as the owner of a lean and agile PR business, I know I offer excellent ROI for my customers. I also passionately believe that it’s actually small to medium-sized businesses who can reap the greatest reward from a PR campaign. Many smaller organisations get lots of their sales and work via word of mouth and recommendations. PR helps your business grow in exactly the same way; it’s just the journalist or publication endorsing what you do. It’s not scary and it doesn’t have to be expensive – just drop me a line to find out more!