During my time working at Work PR, I’ve seen many changes in the PR industry – especially over recent years. But one thing that remains the same is the lack of understanding around Public Relations and what it is, meaning I still often encounter questions like;
- “What is PR?”
- “Is PR just the same as marketing?”
- “Isn’t PR just for celebrities?”
There was a time I’d dread such questions and would typically respond with some long-winded spiel which didn’t really shed much insight into what PR actually is, what it encompasses, or how it fits in with marketing efforts.
Yes, PR and what we do as PR professionals may be difficult to sum up in a few sentences but basically, we’re storytellers who work to achieve earned media for our clients.
Once upon a time, the distinction between PR and marketing was quite clear but nowadays both disciplines are often seen working together in unison - though, admittedly, at varying ratios. It is certainly rare to see a marketing plan that doesn’t incorporate PR, mainly because PR offers a power of influence that other communications strategies simply don’t come close to.
Achieving marketing goals with PR
Some of the objectives set out in your marketing plan are likely to include increasing website traffic, media coverage, name recognition and brand awareness. There are various communication tools used in PR which can help get you on track to achieving these goals, such as:
Creating and distributing newsworthy press releases is one of the most effective ways to generate interest and build trust with both potential and current customers. Online coverage will also provide links back to your website, which can help increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and traffic.
Another way to achieve these goals is through editorial media pitching. Less formal than press releases, this offers the added bonus of helping to establish you as an expert in your field which will, in turn, help boost your credibility across a wider audience.
Publishing quality, helpful posts on your website regularly shows search engines that your website provides value to internet users and can greatly increase your ranking in search results. Writing quality content helps to target customers, drive traffic to your website and can influence sales.
Organising events can also be a great way to connect with your customers and possibly earn media coverage, providing another avenue to promote awareness of your brand, along with the goods or services you offer.
Maintaining a presence on the social media platforms your audience use is important. Whereas advertising isn’t essential, an organic strategy for managing social media provides a forum where you can reach out to your target audience and it’s a convenient way for customers to communicate with you.
There are many other ways PR can be used to protect, enhance or build the reputation of your business. So, if PR doesn’t play an integral role in your marketing plan, you are limiting your opportunities to gain credibility and promote a positive public image of your business.
Though you may be unsure of how to incorporate PR into your strategy, any agency worth their salt will be able to work with you or your in-house marketing team to formulate an action plan that works in harmony with your efforts.