This blog is based on an article originally published in VRMA’s Arrival magazine
Think about it.
How would you know anything about any major brand without PR? Airbnb would not be where it is today without us all knowing the story of the three guys who rented out airbeds during a busy San Francisco convention season. Uber would just be another taxi-type ride-sharing firm without substantial media coverage.
More than a press release
A well-developed PR program equals a brand seeping into the consciousness of its targeted audience. Understanding a company’s relevance and an ability to connect that to the needs of potential customers seemingly happens without knowledge of how. PR isn’t just about media relations and storytelling, it’s about influence and building mutual relationships.
There’s a common misconception that ‘PR’ stands for ‘press release’ and that’s the extent of it. Press releases constitute only about 10% of the work we do. Most people can write and distribute a press release. But to do PR well takes skill, experience and a specific type of creative strategic thinking that connects both detail and the big picture. It also helps to have the emotional intelligence that translates into really good relationship building skills.
Reputation equals business
A reputation is by definition the widely-held belief or impression that others have about your business. It is the unspoken link between marketing and sales which translates into leads and ultimately business wins.
A tech client of Abode PR, the PR agency I run, told me once that PR was the last cost they would cut. He said if it ever came to it, they would let go of any other marketing spend rather than stop our work together. He said, “How can we not continue to invest in our reputation?”
Another client told me recently that she sees public relations as, “The secret weapon to our success. It’s like having a hidden army getting behind your brand and elevating it seemingly effortlessly.” That’s the thing. PR works subtly, behind the scenes, raising awareness and connecting dots.
Strategic PR planning will help your business thrive
If you want to build up a substantial presence online, create a sustainable reputation and develop valuable relationships that will help your business to thrive; then it’s worth considering implementing a PR strategy and tactical plan. Developing your reputation and brand through PR takes time and consistent effort. But once you’ve reached a momentum, results will accumulate and your business will be well on the way to reaching the next level.
5 things to consider in your PR strategy:
- Content is king – Every company has a story to tell. Content marketing is the art of using content to expand your business’s audience, strengthen your brand and ultimately drive leads and sales by appealing to other companies. In short, content is everything (when done well). It’s also the backbone of PR.
- Data is also everything – Stories anchored by data are evidence-based, easy to digest and very, very compelling. This is why journalists love them. Content, backed by relevant data, has substance and therefore builds authority and trust. Data storytelling can influence your audience’s behaviour, expand their knowledge and support a shift in perspective in powerful ways.
- Develop your Thought Leadership – According to The Economist Group, after reading compelling ‘thought leadership’ content, seven in ten executives will consume more from that same source. 76% are influenced in their purchasing decisions. 67% would be willing to advocate for that brand and 83% are influenced in the choice of a potential business partner. Powerful stuff.
- Create a crisis communications plan – During the current climate of uncertainty, the knee jerk reaction is often to keep quiet and batten down the hatches. But, in times of crisis, the best way to maintain business relationships and to reassure your workforce is to communicate. The most crucial elements to crisis comms is to be prepared, plan for the unexpected and be ready to talk.
- Combine SEO with PR – Many businesses mistakenly think that SEO and PR are separate. This is not the case. Although PR and media relations are primarily involved in reputation, the results will elevate your online presence in a way that SEO specialists can only dream of. So make sure you are not siloing your PR, social and SEO teams.
In a world addicted to ‘quick fixes’, the power of public relations is often overlooked. However, nothing can raise your company’s profile as effectively and as sustainably as a really strong and realistic PR program.
About Jessica Gillingham
Jessica is the director of Abode PR, a global B2B public relations agency working with technology clients operating in the international short-term rental, hospitality and hotel spaces.