Public relations (PR) is an important component to any business marketing plan. Typically, a marketing plan has three parts: marketing, advertising and PR. All three parts need to have a strategy that complements the other.
The purpose of having a public relations plan is it helps you outline the key objectives for your organization and how you want your brand to be positioned in the market. Public relations helps you manage the public perception of your organization. When you have a plan, the brand gets clear on its business goals and develops the main stories that will be told about the brand.
Examples of PR and media exposure are getting featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, or other top-tier large publication. Guesting on podcasts and TV appearances are great media exposure as well. These are just a few examples, as there is a wide array of media coverage opportunities. Whether it is local coverage, national, international, or all coverage, a PR spot will always be a good thing.
Until it’s not, then should that happen, especially in today’s cancel culture climate, you will need your PR agent to do damage control and preserve your reputation.
It is essential for a brand to be in good standing with public opinion.
A public relations plan has several goals in mind. Here are a few of them.
Define your target audience. You need to understand who it is you want to reach. Know your product and the problem that is solves for people, then know those people and where to find them. For example, if you are selling hair accessories made for women, it would not make sense to target men. Knowing who your audience is will help you get their attention easily.
Determine your key stories. When you create the key stories for your brand that your audience will relate to, you can better capture their attention. You can create stories that evoke an emotional response from people who will feel more drawn to your brand. Having a few key stories will result in a clear message.
Choose the outlets that you want to reach. You need to know where your audience is at, and you must align your media goals around where they are. There will be very little value to land a TV appearance on a morning show if your people are not watching. This is why it’s essential to know your customer and know where they are at. If you are a consulting firm and your clients are on LinkedIn, creating a platform on Instagram will yield few results.
Measure the success of your campaign. If you put tons of effort into a PR campaign, you need to measure the results as well. Based on your PR goals, you will use the following to measure your results: social media reach, social media engagement, media impressions, website traffic, and keyword rankings.
Now that you understand what goes into a PR strategy let’s review some of the benefits of PR.
There are a few ways PR can help your business:
- It is cost-effective
PR is cheaper than purchasing ad space and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. If you engage with a PR agent you will need to pay for their services for setting you up with media exposure, but reputable media outlets will not charge for the actual exposure secured.
- Better than advertising
PR is a word-of-mouth basis where advertising you can pay to get the word out. Consumers are smart and aware, and they know when they are being sold to.
- Boosts brand visibility
When your brand gets into the media spotlight, it elevates its visibility and authority and lives on the internet forever. The segments and pieces will always be accessible and can be used and reused to remind consumers that you are the brand expert.
- Creates a relationship with your customers
The stories told about the brand and how those stories invoke an emotional response from your audience build a relationship with your customer because the content is relatable.
- Increases sales conversions
The recipe to a successful sale is the know, like and trust factor, and when a customer has felt those three ingredients, they are more likely to purchase from you. PR helps position your brand as the expert, makes it visible, and your client will get to like you through relationship building.
The bottom line is PR is a strategy that will yield a higher return on investment through the reach that media outlets have and should be used to help businesses build their brand, visibility and authority. It is a cost-effective strategy that helps places you on top of the minds of your clients and customers.
Written by Melissa Houston.