Many businesses find it difficult to get a grasp of what a PR agency actually does and whether they need PR or not. Because it can be harder to measure compared to other avenues, a lot of businesses also find it difficult to see and understand the value of PR and what they can expect in return. PR is a long term investment and whether you do it in-house or outsource it, when done well and strategically, PR can help elevate your business and grow your customer base. Here we go into more detail as to how and why.
Whether you’re a new or established business, brand awareness is key. Yes, press, has the potential to drive sales, however, one of the biggest benefits (from good PR) is having your product seen by your target customers. Regular coverage in publications and spaces where your target consumers are, means your brand is always at the forefront of people’s minds; even if they do not need to buy your product or service straight away, they know of you (and is constantly reminded of you), which means you’re already one step ahead of your competitors. That is why knowing your core customer is key so that you (or your agency) doesn’t waste your time or efforts on targeting the wrong publications.
Support your marketing activities
PR and marketing goes hand-in-hand. That is why both should be an integral part of your strategy and why your marketing plans should align with your PR efforts. Moreover, If your marketing is not up to scratch (that includes your social media, website, content etc) then you you will probably not see the full return on your PR investment. We’ll illustrate this with an example. Let’s say your brand/business is featured in a number of high-profile publications with big and loyal readerships. Photos of your products are included alongside write-ups communicating your business and your ethos. Some of the coverage leads to huge spikes in website traffic, however, monitoring your Google Analytics (or alternative platforms) you notice that the new website visitors drop off straight away and you haven’t made any sales. It is important to highlight that coverage doesn’t always automatically lead to sales straight away, however, if you have had some great coverage and you haven’t made a single sale (or a newsletter sign-up) then there might be something that is not working from your side. This could range from your website navigation and user-friendliness (the easier you make it for your customer to get a feel for your brand and to make that all-important purchase the better) to your social media presence. Equally important is how you capture new potential customers. Do you have a newsletter? If yes, what ‘incentives’ do you offer to encourage new customers to sign up? Where is your call-to-action and how effective is it? Do you know who your customer is? If not, now is the time to really map out your core customer’s demographic and start engaging with them. We could elaborate on this subject for ages, however, all of the above are key examples of what you need to have in place alongside PR to make sure that you maximize your potential and efforts.
Everything is going digital so why do I need PR?
This is a question and a concern we hear a lot. Whilst traditional press outlets may be having some upsets at the moment (even online publications), PR still holds a level of credibility that cannot be matched by any other avenue. With such little control over what information is floating around online, there is even the argument that PR has become more relevant in the digital age. And while print publications might be constantly challenged by the ever-changing media landscape, traditional media is still equally relevant and highly influential.
Gain trust and credibility
Regular pieces of press (gained over a period of time) build recognition and credibility. The lack of immediate results is usually how a lot businesses justify writing off the need for PR, however both recognition and credibility are essential to not only building your business now but also securing the longevity of your business. Whether your aim is to drive sales, gain new stockists or increase your brand awareness, having the press’s sign of approval is a massive boost.
As you’re growing (or evolving), many consumers will also be interested in hearing about you and get a peek ‘behind the scenes’. So when your business is ready, don’t be afraid to take part in interview or profile pieces that focus on you as a founder alongside product placements and similar; if people emotionally invest in you and your story/ethos they are more likely to emotionally (and financially) invest in your product. These kind of spaces are generally quite competitive, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a response or a ‘pick-up’ straight away. Once you’ve had a number of press coverage, it is more likely that publications will bee interested in running a longer form piece on you and your brand/business.
To sum it up, there’s no denying that the world of PR has changed (and will keep changing), however, PR is still key to the growth and development of brands and businesses wanting to get their products and/or service seen by the right people. Similar to digital marketing and sales, PR shouldn’t be an overlooked part of a business’ strategy. Despite the rise of and continuing influence of digital, press coverage in traditional outlets, are extremely powerful and can help boost your business.