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It has always been extremely important to get good press for your brand because that is one of the things that can make or break a company.
That is why the word “public relations” is thrown out there a lot when it comes to advertising and marketing in general.
PR is a buzzword that companies hear about a lot, but I have the impression that a big portion of those companies does not really understand the potential benefits of good PR.
Whether you choose to hire a PR firm that is a professional on the subject, or you put your own personal efforts into doing PR right, the result should be reaching a vast audience and you should be doing it the right way.
PR is about shaping and presenting the best image for your brand in the eyes of the public, and utilizing this with other marketing strategies to paint a good picture of your brand that will organically connect with other companies, customers, media outlets, etc.
And that is exactly why PR should be really thought about when creating a marketing strategy for any company.
In this article I will explain many things about PR, what are the benefits, how to do PR yourself, how to choose the right PR professionals, what are the advantages and disadvantages of PR, and much more.
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Benefits of PR
Credibility is one of the most valuable possessions a brand can have. It will not only help you with your customers but also with potential collaborations, or even future buyouts.
Better credibility means better reach out to the press which can feature you in different articles, magazines, books, etc.
Being featured in credible sources can mean a lot for your brand especially in today’s world where social media has the power to distribute your information across the whole internet.
This can be used to leverage the attention your brand is getting into making people support your cause and brand philosophy.
Moreover, being perceived as an honest and reliable company in the eyes of the consumers can be a very strong competitive advantage.
Builds up brand awareness
Another important benefit of using PR strategies in an effective way is that the name of your brand will reach more potential customers.
If you do it in a correct way, PR can expose you to a larger audience through many media outlets that will look at you as a response to your PR efforts.
In this way, people that have never been in contact with your brand can learn about it and get interested in your story.
Additionally, positive news coverage should be exploited too. Adding links of reputable sites that mention your brand, can be sent in newsletters, shared on social media, etc.
New investors and new clients
Although having a very convincing business plan is your first and most important way to get the interest of potential investors, a good brand image is pretty important too.
Having good press in respected publications can be the perfect presentation of your brand’s credibility to the investors.
This is a side of the businesses that investors pay attention to as well when they’re making their decisions.
The same goes for potential new clients and collaborators. People tend to appreciate more organic positive press and tune out paid advertising.
A different perspective on the benefits of PR is the fact that also the potential talent that will be working with your company in the future might look into these things.
Having good press into respectable publications in your industry is a way to make sure that highly talented individuals will want to be a part of your organization.
To take this even further, some of them may notice your company through PR and decide to reach out because they are interested in working in your team.
Being a brand that is desirable to professional talent is also quite important.
Positive brand image
Presenting the compilations of good press on your page is a huge plus for your company.
Having consistent press releases informing your customers about new things in your company can build a strong reputation for your brand in their eyes.
PR is especially important as a way of communication in times of crisis or other extraordinary situations.
In situations where your company’s reputation is taking a hit, having a well-made press release can do damage control.
This helps with building a positive brand image in the eyes of the customers, collaborations, investors, etc.
Intensifies customer relationships
The best PR strategies are built with having in mind the best interests of your organization.
The highest goals of the organization can only be reached with the help of its customers, so building strong customer relationships is always one of the highest priorities.
If the perception of your brand and company on the market is very positive, that attracts and benefits your customers and with that you.
PR in this way both builds new customer relationships and intensifies the already existing ones.
How to do PR by yourself
As previously explained, the benefits of PR are vast and very important for any company.
However, if you have a smaller company or a start-up that is not yet financially stable and can’t pay fees to a professional PR company or you simply don’t want to use a PR agency, then you can do it by yourself.
There are some tips that I have for you if you want to do PR by yourself.
Check if you’re ready for the press
Before you start to do PR, make sure that you have something that is worth saying.
I wouldn’t recommend pitching stories that don’t say anything of any value.
Ask yourself why is my story relevant and exciting, and why would my readers care about this.
If you don’t have a good answer to these questions, maybe it’s not the right time to be doing a press release of any type.
A good tip is to create a “Press” page on your site where potential writers can find everything that they need if they decide to write about you like logos, graphics, other press articles, etc.
This page can also help you with your credibility in the eyes of your readers.
Directly contact contributors
From my personal experience, I know that sometimes all you have to do is directly message the contributors on some of the social platforms.
You will be surprised at how many people will just respond to a genuinely good message with a good idea.
Some tips that you can use to find contributors are:
- Search on Facebook “ *Name of publication* contributors” and you can possibly find groups of people that contribute to the publication of interest
- Try to pick publications that you are qualified to be in and that are well into your niche
- Do an analysis of the articles that the contributors published and try to determine if your story would be a good fit for them
- Send a short, concise, on-point message considering that these people are probably busy
- If they don’t reply to your message, don’t be annoying and rude. Instead, try once again in a few days or a week.
Use HARO for PR
HARO is a great tool that is used by a lot of writers as they are looking for quotes from experts and leaders in their respective industries.
HARO means Help A Reporter Out and when you sign up, you will get up to 3 emails per day that will be asking for your insight on different topics.
Some of these writers work for huge sites like New Your Times, NBC, Forbes, and more.
If you come up with a good answer for them, then you will be featured on these sites along with a backlink. And that’s the goal!
In order to be featured, try being as concise as you can and on-point with the question. Also, have in mind that the speed of answering plays an important role here. You have to be fast.
A good tip is to save your answers in a Google Doc, or Word so when similar questions come up you can easily answer.
Another option that you have is to hire a virtual assistant that will take care of this and be alert all the time.
But you have to be careful with this. The person in charge needs to be trained properly to share your values and thoughts on different subjects.
Be good at what you do
The best version always is to have reporters and interested contributors reach out to you!
To do this, you just have to work hard and be as creative and differentiated as possible.
Keep selling great products or services, post relevant and helpful content, have special offers for your customers, be socially responsible, etc.
How to choose the right PR agency
If you don’t have the time or opportunities to do PR by yourself, or if you just want it done by proven professionals – you need to choose the right PR agency for your needs.
It can be hard to choose the right one, especially if you are new to the industry or the business itself.
That is why I have some tips for you in terms of how you can choose the best PR agency for your needs.
Choose the right time
I think that you should delay hiring a PR agency as much as you can.
The best thing to do, especially when it comes to start-ups, is to do your PR by yourself for different reasons such as:
- Nobody knows your business as good as you do which means that you have the knowledge to make the best PR efforts as long as you know-how
- Doing PR by yourself at least at the beginning can give you a nice practice and make you realize what it is that you want to communicate
- PR agencies can be quite expensive
- You need to devote time for the PR professionals since they need constant input from your side about the news related to the business
Moreover, when you are doing PR yourself at the beginning, you will know how to handle PR agencies later.
You will know how the process works and they won’t be able to play you in any way.
The best time to start looking for a PR agency is when your business expands and grows in different locations, industries, etc.
At this point, it might be too much to handle by yourself or your team and a PR agency can really come in handy.
Size of PR agency
I am sure you have heard it before, that small budgets only work with small agencies, and big budgets only work with big agencies.
However, sometimes when going for a big agency, you usually communicate with the senior professionals during the pitching process, and when the actual work starts, you are stuck with the junior staff.
That is why, looking into small personalized PR agencies can be a good move, as long as it can cover your needs.
This way, you can have senior professionals closely involved with the process and be there for your brand at all times.
Of course, if you have such a large network that you need a large number of people for it, go for the big agencies.
Compatibility with the PR agency
There are a lot of PR agencies out there and some might be more compatible with your brand than others.
For these purposes, you need to do the most logical thing – research!
Do plenty of research into the potential PR partners, dive into their work examples, press releases, advertorials, websites, social medias channels, etc.
Even if you end up not using the agencies, you can learn a lot of useful information and guidelines that you can use in your work.
There are many companies that choose to collaborate with PR agencies just because they fit their budgets and preferred sizes but they don’t really gel together.
Since you’ll be working closely with the agency,, choose one you believe in and that understands the personality of your brand.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from people around you, friends and colleagues who have previous experience ofPR collaborations.
Ask them about their personal experiences with the agencies and what the results were. What problems did they stumble upon, and how did they resolve them?
What did they wish they knew before starting the collaborations, and are they sure they made the right choice.
Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool for gathering different perspectives.
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The size of your budget is something that plays an important role in choosing a PR company.
Before you start looking for a PR partner, have a plan on what your budget can cover and what you can get for that amount of money.
There are some PR agencies that will cost more than 5K per month, and there are a lot of cheaper options with good expertise as well.
The amount of money is not the only thing you need to decide when thinking about the budget.
You should also know how you want that budget to be spent. A good way to see if the companies are good for their value is to try one project and see how things go.
Research their digital capabilities
Lately, the lines between PR, social media, digital marketing, and content creation are all getting blurred.
This is because with the development of technology, they are all interconnected with the internet.
The right PR partner for your company is one that has the digital capabilities to support your goals.
A lot of PR companies are very professional when it comes to traditional PR and they are putting the digital stuff in second place.
True help and integration can only come from companies that embrace both, have the skill sets and they use them in their real-world practice all the time.
Moreover, they should keep in touch with what’s new in the world from a technological point of view and use it to your advantage.
Pros and Cons of PR
Like literally everything in life, PR also has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Cost-effectiveness: PR can generally be achieved at quite low costs especially if you are dedicated to doing it yourself. Even if you decide to pay for it, it can be a lot cheaper than other types of promotional activities.
- High return on investment: PR can have quite high ROI in the long term
- Exposure: if done right, PR can expose your company and brand to many people and companies.
- Reaching a wide audience: depending on the agency and their preferred media outlet, a story about your company or even just mentioning it, can reach very large groups of people which can further influence sharing the story even more.
- Influence: sharing stories via PR channels can be a huge pro because the audiences are more likely to trust it when it’s coming from an objective source as opposed to paid sponsorships and ads.
- Credible: PR is one of the most credible types of promotion and because of that can be very persuasive to the audiences
- Fast spreading: a story that is mentioning a company can really spread very quickly through social media channels using PR campaigns.
- No direct control: when it comes to PR you have limited control over the details whereas in advertising you are in charge of how you’re being portrayed in the social media platforms, when and how your message will be spread, etc.
- Lack of measurability: there is really no easy way or a completely right way to measure how effective a certain PR activity is. Media channels can mention you a lot and publish your stories, but it can be hard to exactly measure that influence over the final results.
- Special skills: even though many people try to do their own PR and do plenty of research, they might find it hard to be successful since PR skills are a thing on their own. This can mean having to hire a professional.
- Unsure outcome: you might do everything right and spend a lot of time and effort into writing a press release. However, when it comes to whether a story will be published and successful, there is not a lot of assurance.
- May be expensive: if you decide to hire a PR agency, the expenses can get quite high depending on what you want to achieve and how many people you need working on your projects.
After reading this article, you should have a much better insight into PR, how it works, and what are the advantages and disadvantages.
The truth is, if used right PR can be an extremely helpful tool that can increase engagement with your community and build up brand awareness.
But as always, there are some risks, efforts, and disadvantages when it comes to PR.
The best thing you can do is start by trying a few PR efforts and see how they work out for you. After that, you can build up on your PR strategies and make bigger decisions.
If you are ready to get started on PR, get your plan here:
If you liked this post and you want to read more on how to improve your brand, check out the following:
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- Creating a logo for your brand
Leave a comment letting me know what else you would like to read about next.