I’m often asked what exactly it is that I do and why should companies do public relations (PR).
So I thought I’d start out by telling you what it is that I do and why you should consider it as part of your overall marketing strategy.
PR is the way companies and individuals communicate with the public and media to maintain a favourable professional image.
A PR specialist communicates on behalf of companies or individuals with their target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience.
So what is the difference between marketing and public relations?
Marketing is traditionally viewed as promoting goods and services to be sold to a consumer at a profit through paid-for mediums such as advertisements or advertorials. PR promotes goodwill and communication between the company and consumers. PR builds up credibility through trusted journalists and influencers who will act as filter for their audiences, who trust them to do so. So in a nutshell, good public relations builds relationships with your customers.
Effective public relations specialists can not only promote your organisation, but can also help communicate during a crisis or defend its reputation from attacks people make on it in the media.
PR has long been a powerful marketing tool for companies and in today’s digital world the impact is greater than ever.
The advantages of PR include:
· Influence – audiences are more likely to trust messages coming from an objective source rather than paid-for advertising messages
· Reach – a good story can be picked up by several news outlets, exposing your message to a large audience
Here are eight reasons why every company should hire a PR agency:
1. Allows a company to tell its own story. Companies that fail to invest in PR are essentially giving away their narrative to others such as the media, unhappy customers and competitors. PR professionals can help you to tell your story to create new consumer interest in your brand.
2. Helps your business to increase your presence A robust PR strategy typically includes a media relations component. Working regularly with journalists who cover your industry ensures that your company is receiving its share of earned media. Companies will also increase their online and social media presence with stakeholders and influencers.
3. Creates content. PR professionals can assist in finding newsworthy stories and identifying content that would resonate with stakeholders. Continuous new content is created that is relevant and of value to stakeholders. This ensures that companies are always thinking about their content, helping them to remain sharp and attractive to search engines, potential and existing customers.
4. Builds authentic relationships with customers. Unlike traditional advertising, which is often a one-way dialogue between a brand and its customers, PR is built around creating and nurturing two-way relationships between a company and its customers.
5. Builds bridges in the calm for a future storm or crisis. It is important to invest in regular public relations that nurtures regular media interaction and that builds strong media relationships. I call it building bridges in the calm to help mitigate the future storm. You don’t want your first interaction with the media to be when your company is at its worst, when you need support. Media also tend to hear you out when a relationship already exists.
6. Enhances a Company’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Online earned media can have a powerful impact on SEO and keyword rankings. This will assist in improving companies’ website rankings on google search.
7. Complements a company’s existing marketing and sales efforts. Nothing is more powerful than an objective, third-party endorsement of your company in securing a sale. There will always be a need for marketing initiatives and sales brochures, but they become more powerful when PR is used to amplify the message.
8. Helps with recruitment. PR allows companies to attract the right talent by branding themselves as employers of choice and to communicate the type of work environment they cultivate.