March Your Way To Effective PR – episode 3!

Why do PR?

In my business, a question I’m often asked is ‘why do PR?’

As I’ve previously mentioned, public relations is essential to any business.  In fact, more than that, it’s critical and every business has to do it.

Remember when you understand what PR actually means, it covers the whole of marketing (though marketing companies often claim PR is part of marketing). Confused? Don’t be – you can find out what I’m talking about here –

The tricky thing is to work out which ‘aspects’ of PR will work for your business and when to add in more elements. A successful and growing business will be organically increasing its PR budget, not reducing it.

When I’m asked this question of Why Do PR? people usually mean ‘press’ relations. They also judge the ‘press’ and the ‘media’ based on their assumptions with no clue how the media actually works. In fact, to be honest, many PR professionals have little clue how the media works.

As a general rule of thumb if all you are focused on is ROI, press relations is probably not for you. Why? It’s very, very rare that one story will lead to £10k walking through the door ie. It’s not sales. It’s aligned however it’s a different and distinct discipline.

If you do think PR is for you, the key thing to remember is that it’s all about building a positive reputation. Also ask yourself why all big brands do it? Why do charities do it? Why do they do it if it’s difficult to measure ROI? If in doubt, ask someone in your circle who does it and ask them why.

Here are 13 reasons why you should seriously consider PR:

  1. It makes you visible in the community where your business is based – most businesses get clients and suppliers from a local area.  On average, it takes five to seven impressions for people to recognise, or notice your business brand or name, so the more positive PR you receive, the better.People trust established brands. PR builds confidence.
  1. It shows that another, independent news source is choosing to run stories about you and/or your business and that is very powerful for credibility. PR is three times more effective than advertising. With advertising you tell people how good you are, with PR, other people sing your praises.
  1. It shows you care about sharing your news around your business as you move forward demonstrating a commitment to being part of the business community. This gives people confidence in the validity of your business and the other businesses you are aligned to or associated with.
  1. It allows you to engage and evidence a serious commitment to CSR (corporate social responsibility/social responsibility) – ie. you want to give back to your community or to local charities. This shows people who are watching the progress of your business, see that it isn’t all about you, but that you do actually want to support others too. Any business of any size can do this -it’s not just the big companies.
  1. It helps you attract and retain staff – some sectors have huge problems finding staff and evidence shows the more caring you are as a company the more attractive you will be, especially to Millennials. Research has shown they do consider, a company’s contribution to charities and their attention to social responsibility when applying for employment. When it comes to staff retention, employees are more likely to stay with a company when they are involved in charitable projects, and they often take great pride in the charitable work undertaken by the company. It also means as a company you can raise funds for charities which mean something to your employees.
  1. It positions you as an expert, which is valuable when the media who are looking for key people to share expertise, tips and stories on topics and trends.
  1. It helps if you are bidding for big contracts through a procurement process where a larger potential client might be pulling together a report on its shortlist. The potential client may be looking for a supplier which cares. It’s easy to say ‘we’re great’ yet it’s much harder to prove it (hint, PR proves it). It evidences that your company cares.
  1. It can allow you to raise money for charitable causes by asking people in your circles to support you and then you can evidence their support. Put bluntly there’s a really good reason why charities spend heavily on PR and put it at the centre of their operations.
  1. It offers opportunities which you cannot predict at the outset from making connections with potential clients, collaborators, commentators, celebrities, other business opportunities. This may sound vague but is probably one of the greatest possible outcomes of strong PR.
  1. It evidences your visibility to attract investors if you are thinking of expanding through investment. This might be through crowdfunding where being ‘out there’ will be utterly essential through to attracting a single angel investor who will want evidence of your passion and determination. Saying you are committed and passionate about your business is one thing – proving it is quite another.
  1. keeps investors on side after the investment, as it shows your ongoing passion and commitment to your business. Indeed, you may have to provide evidence for board meetings and reports as part of your investment protocol.
  1. It builds a strong reputation in your business and means when someone is looking for or asking about your product or service, your name or your brand’s name is ‘tip of the tongue’. This takes a long time to build and it takes a short time to wreck. The world is moving so quickly, if you go dormant for a quarter of a year, it will take a year to get back out there.
  1. 13.It makes you visible and it follows logically that the more visible you are, the more opportunities there will be to make sales. This needs to be backed up by a strong and responsive sales process of course.

The last blog for this month is going to look at ‘The disadvantages of PR.’