We’re already halfway through 2017 and, whether you’ve just started out on the road to making your business a success or running a tight ship at a well-established company, you might be considering how you can better spread the word.
Here are a few tips to help you decide whether PR is right for you and your business.
Back to basics
Do you really know what PR is and how it can benefit you?
I still get quizzed by my family about what exactly it is that I do for a living, and it can be hard to explain PR’s role in the world. There are so many differing opinions and PR success is notoriously difficult to measure.
In its simplest form, public relations is about raising profile and managing reputation; by now we’re all used to hearing ‘strong and stable’ as a phrase but, as a business owner, it should be in your best interests to form relationships with your stakeholders that are exactly that.
In most cases, PR agencies are hired to gain media coverage that highlights the best elements of a business. The best agencies will also support you with your marketing efforts and social media presence but, ultimately, they’ll help you to tell your story to a wider audience.
There is real value in this approach when compared with advertising, which anyone can do if they have the money. Landing a great editorial placement proves that your story is worth paying attention to – after all, reporters and editors are under no obligation to care about how your business started or your latest product launch.
Contacts plus content
Where possible, you should be doing your best to familiarise yourself with the media world and develop an understanding of what stories outlets are looking to cover – particularly those in which you’d like your business to be seen.
You’ve already got your partners, staff and investors on board so, if you can sell your story to them, you can certainly sell it to journalists; I’ll let you in on a little secret: reporters are people too…
If you’re willing to devote a little extra time to the media, it can pay dividends. Forming relationships with journalists will help get your news releases read by reporters and producers, and they’ll take your call even when they’re on a deadline.
However, unless you can tell a compelling story to the right journalist at the right time, it may be challenging to maintain momentum when it comes to gaining coverage.
The more an outlet knows about you and your business, the more likely they are to engage, and journalists may even begin to approach you for comment or give you first refusal when a news story breaks.
Dream big, but be realistic
It’s important to align your communications objectives with your overall business goals, and it’s crucial to ensure they are realistic.
For example, if you begin by asking your PR agency for a front-page splash in the Daily Mail or Metro, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and ruining any chance of forging a productive, long-term relationship. And if you think you’re going to achieve even your realistic goals in just a few months, think again: good PR takes time, and it’s not fair to put that type of pressure on your team.
Besides, solid media placements don’t always lead to increased sales. Frustrating though it may be, media coverage isn’t about conversion; it’s about building a meaningful, layered brand that is set for years of sustainable growth.
As a business owner, there is no one else who understands your brand better than you do; a committed and creative PR team can certainly help tell your brand’s story, but you’ll need to be prepared to work as closely with them as possible to ensure success. Communication is key!