If you want to create awareness about a business, you must first develop a strong, effective, public relations campaign. There is no getting around this fact.
The simple truth is that public relations is the easiest and least expensive way to promote a business!
Public relations is by far the most powerful method of “spreading the gospel” and informing consumers about the benefits and value of the product or service you offer.
This article will attempt to show you how public relations fits into your marketing mix and how to create a PR strategy that gets results!
Why Listen to Me?
It’s a reasonable question and one I’m eager to answer.
I’ve been doing PR, successfully, for a long time!
I’ve been practicing public relations and marketing for over 25 years (I’m not old, I’m “seasoned”)
Prior to launching my public relations agency Foster PR, I was the Director of Marketing and PR at Performance Designed Products, one of the leading developers of video game peripherals in the United States.
Over the last two and half decades I have managed the PR campaigns for countless product launches in the US and abroad and continue to work with some of the most innovative brands in the world.
The Foundations of Public Relations
Recently a company contacted me to ask if I could help them with their advertising. When I mentioned that my agency specializes in public relations not advertising, there was a short pause on the other end of the phone. Finally, the response came: “But isn’t public relations the same as advertising?”
This is not an uncommon assumption. However, the differences couldn’t be starker.
The official definition of public relations is “the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public.”
Allow me to clarify it in simpler (and less boring) terms:
- Advertising means you pay tons of money to create a subjective image.
- ·Public Relations means you plant a compelling story that offers an objective solution to a problem.
The buying public is much more likely to trust information coming from a person writing from an objective point of view (a journalist) rather than from the subjective point of view from a paid advertisement.
To clarify; I am much more likely to buy a new cellphone, drone, or camera, or visit a new restaurant or retail store, based on a review coming from a journalist or blogger rather than a random ad on a web page.
Advertising does hold a valuable place in any effective marketing mix. But before you run out and spend an exorbitant amount of your budget creating and placing an old-fashioned ad, think about how far your dollar will stretch if you can offer the same information to journalists, bloggers, and influencers, who will write about your business FOR FREE.
PR Versus Advertising
When it comes to comparing public relations to advertising, it all boils down to one simple word: TRUST.
Richard Branson, the business magnate who founded Virgin Airlines, once said: “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”
If anyone knows a thing or two about public relations, it’s Richard Branson. He is one of the most successful and FAMOUS businesspeople in the world. And most of his fame and success came from ingenious publicity campaigns that made him a household name.
So, the question is why PR worked for Branson and others like him? Why does public relations often work better than traditional paid advertising?
The answer is simple. People are more skeptical about an ad that someone paid for than they are about a review or story they read by an independent journalist or logger.
Many people simply don’t trust advertising anymore. How many times a day are you bombarded with a barrage of print ads, web ads, phone ads, email ads, billboard ads, and on and on? Eventually, the human mind starts to shut itself off from the constant sales pitch from countless products.
This is not to suggest that advertising doesn’t have a place in your marketing mix. It certainly does, especially if you have a large budget to work with.
But most people are smart enough to know that an advertisement is not objective or impartial. But a story written by a journalist is much more likely to garner trust by the customers you want to reach.
Submitting a well-crafted press release or story pitch to targeted media or social media influencers is one of the most effective ways of creating buzz and nurturing trust about your business. People simply put more trust in reading interesting stories or reviews by people who are objective about the subject on which they are writing.
Therefore, instead of throwing a bunch of money at a traditional ad campaign, first think about how much more effective a public relations campaign can be for your business. Your customers need and want to trust you. A well-placed, professionally written story or product review might be the key to your success. Just ask Richard Branson.
Simple Public Relations Tips That Work
I've worked with many companies on a variety of public relations and marketing campaigns over the years. Many of the companies I've helped didn't have a marketing team in place. I'm always a little surprised by how unprepared many business owners are when it comes to basic PR strategy.
I'm a big believer in keeping things simple. An effective publicity campaign does not require large sums of money or time to execute properly. In fact, if done correctly and with diligence, it shouldn’t cost much at all. Mostly, it comes down to creating a clear plan and following a few simple steps.
Keep it Simple
No matter what kind of business you have, every company needs to develop a strong public relations campaign to succeed. It is imperative that you find effective methods to communicate with your customers and business partners.
As stated, public relations is the most powerful and cost effective means of “spreading the gospel” to your target audience. Here are a few simple steps to consider:
Create a Press Kit
A press kit is simply a compilation of materials that includes any relevant press releases, facts about your company, executive biographies, product specs, and any other information you wish to provide to journalists or business associates.
Write a Compelling Press Release
A press release is to a press kit what a heart is to a human body; without it, it’s a lifeless shell. Writing an effective press release requires the ability to provide maximum information within a finite space. Most importantly, it must be written in such a way that is not only informative but INTERESTING. Learn how to write an effective, interesting press release and the media will respond.
Identify Your Target Audience
It’s imperative to identify your core demographic (customers) so you can focus your efforts and communicate effectively.
Build a Media List
In order to reach the correct media, you have to build a list of contacts and develop a professional relationship with each journalist. This is a long-term task. Building a media list is similar to building and maintaining a sales list.
Secure Media Coverage and Reviews
This is the point of it all! You want the media to write about your product or business. This is the entire point of product PR. This is the goal we are aiming for!
There is much more that can, and should, go into any public relations campaign if it is to succeed. However, as a starting point consider the recommendations above to begin traveling on the road to greater publicity and positive buzz about your business.
*To contact me with questions or a free consultation, please visit https://www.foster-pr.com/