Everyone seems to know the term ‘public relations’, yet I’m always amazed by the lack of understanding people have and what it really means for their business or brand. It’s absolutely essential.
Though many organisations understand that public relations (PR) is a great way to enhance their marketing approach, very few know why they need PR, or why so many organisations invest so much of their time and efforts to stay at top of the stack.
They often see it as pointless, doesn’t require any particular skill and they don’t see any outcomes at all, because they judge it based upon immediate results.
PR is the most important tool for a business and when it comes to getting your brand seen and known; building and protecting your reputation, boosting your brand awareness and establishing your credibility.
In simple terms – it makes you and your business visible in the right way with the right messages consistently so that you are in the best position for customers or clients to buy from you.
And I am going to tell you why PR is vital for ANY brand, not just the big boys.
So, PR is for you if…
You want organic growth:
If you find yourself saying “I need to get out there…” and believe me, this is often said by start-up business owners who suddenly realise that they need to do more work than just their day-to-day role or selling their product to grow their business.
They need to spread the word that they exist and PR is one of the most consistent ways to build awareness for your business and spread the word in a cost-efficient way. By getting your company consistently mentioned in the news, on social media, via blogs like this, you can generate organic leads in an impactful way. You have to recognise those leads and get on and sell…
You work in the third sector:
If you run a charity or any kind of social enterprise, building the awareness of the organisation or your charity event is important in order to encourage donations and support for the cause, and PR is an essential tool to do so.
In order to encourage and nurture support, you have to evidence what you are doing from day one whether it is through case studies or client testimonials. Even if you attract funding from other sources such as local authority grants, you will be required to demonstrate how that money has been used and how you have impacted your service users. Public relations is a great way to build awareness for a charity, grow the brand, communicate to a target audience and encourage support. It demonstrates to your funders and for compliance that you have met your responsibilities as a charitable organisation. It’s a no-brainer.
You need business growth:
If you want to crowdfund for growth, almost every crowdfunding platform will require you to be visible and to increase your marketing and media relations, they benefit from your brand’s amplification so you’ll be expected to shout loud and proud!.
Get ahead of the game and start off the PR process early. You’ll need to get some creative ideas flowing as nowadays it’s very common to use crowdfunding, and you’ll need to focus on standing out. Here’s a tip – journalists will rarely write about anything that’s ‘everyday’, common or mundane, they want fresh new ideas that capture their audiences’ attention.
You want more visibility:
If you are frustrated that others in your sector get more ‘airtime’ than you do, then it’s time to start investing more in your brand. It’s not an accident that others are being seen, they are investing more than you, it’s that simple. Whether that’s time, budget, energy, effort or, most likely, a combination of all of these.
So, what does more investment get you? More visibility. You will have to spend more to get more and I’m sorry guys, but there’s no way around that – PR is worth its weight in gold when done and used correctly.
You want brand awareness:
If you are taken aback that no one has ever heard of your product or service, it usually means you’ve been lucky so far or perhaps you’ve had one main client so you’ve rumbled along nicely making enough income. However if lockdown has taught you anything, it should have taught you that that’s a dangerous way to do business.
Let’s not be naïve, you will not always be so lucky, especially with the continuing and growing importance of the digital world. Let’s say you lose that client – you could become invisible very quickly and get lost amongst your competitors who are showing up consistently. Great PR will always boost your brand awareness and in order to get to the great part, you need to show up and be visible, that’s how you’ll build your client base, become better known and, in turn, become more profitable.
You need to rebuild a reputation:
If your business is stuck and is flatlining, you need to create a strategy and develop new ideas from someone outside of your organisation that has no agenda. This will enable you to move forward and seek new and exciting opportunities.
Be aware, not everything will work, but if you want things to change by doing your usual routine, then you are kidding yourself. Media connections can help you to repair any damage through a well thought out strategy and fresh new ideas!
You are overwhelmed:
If your business is growing rapidly and your in-house team is totally overwhelmed, then it’s time to hand the reins to an expert who has the time and knowledge to deal with your PR. This is where someone like me can come in and take on that task. You cannot just opt out however a lot of the legwork you’ve been doing, can be taken on by someone who has better skills than you and, more importantly, better contacts and the ability to make a deal when it comes to advertising or advertorial.
Then there’s the next step. This is rarer, but I have seen it happen. When a business gets to a multi-million turnover, the marketing often means splitting PR responsibilities for different areas of the business. For example, I’ve done PR for a couple of very big brands which you might not expect for a little business like mine. Firstly, I did some CSR (corporate social responsibility) for a client as it couldn’t be done in-house with everything else going on. Secondly, I did local PR for a big client so that they raised their profile in just one of the geographical areas in which they operate. This shows extremely intelligent PR as that brand values its local teams and local communities – now I will only work with bigger companies like this.
Take PR seriously – it’s your shop window:
PR is vital, and shouldn’t just be shoved into someone’s job, or given to someone inhouse who doesn’t want to do it and won’t make it a priority, or given to the most junior person in the room who hasn’t been trained. They will avoid doing the ‘difficult’ bits.
Hiring an expert if people are at capacity or you don’t have the expertise in-house, will always be more cost efficient and impactful.
Through effective marketing strategies, PR promotes its clients’ agenda. Public relations is an area that can change the future of your business, and when used appropriately, PR can give a business or organisation the power to overcome almost any obstacle.
If you need a helping hand to get started doing PR, my online course, the Online PR Toolbox, has everything you need and can be applied to any community worldwide. The first module is free, try it out here – https://courses.fionascottmediaconsultancy.co.uk/available-courses/