Do more with less. Be competitive. Stay ahead of the curve. Plan ahead. Drive results. Sound familiar? It’s ultra-competitive out there no matter your industry, and the push for results weighs down on every executive. That’s why leveraging the right resources is more critical than ever. A consistent and proven success strategy is to embrace public relations and integrate it into an overall marketing strategy.
What is public relations (PR)? It’s an ingenious way to put your company on the proverbial map. PR helps shape what is known about your offerings, instill trust and credibility in your brand, and build relationships on your company’s behalf. PR can also educate your prospects, customers, vendors, and investors about what you do, how well you do it, and what lies in your future. Known as “earned media coverage,” PR is not about buying ads, sponsoring social media posts, or paying for an advertorial. Also, since it’s not in the pay-to-play category, your community tends to trust it more. By leveraging an experienced PR firm, you can capitalize on creative ideas, agility, expanded tools, and smart approaches to setting goals and delivering upon them.
A comprehensive and effective PR strategy includes actionable and trackable goals. By building upon a compelling narrative, PR can actually increase customer loyalty as well as provide a valuable shelf-life of the information — essentially creating assets for your company to leverage on-going.
Areas of focus can include:
- Media relations – building relationships with key journalists who can follow and tell your story
- Analyst relations – includes regular briefings with the research powerhouses that track our industry, report on the trends and changing industry dynamics
- Proactive pitching – essential to stay on journalists/editors’ radar in between official company announcements; helps you tie into latest trends and what is hot, along with arming media with great hooks to learn more and tell their audiences
- Bylined articles – a smart way to control the message and get featured in a wide variety of publications
- Social media – although this could be categorized under marketing, social media is an excellent vehicle for amplifying the media coverage garnered; journalists appreciate the extra love too! Make sure you are sharing their articles and coverage as well as following their social handles on-going.
Another dynamic to consider in our digital age, is last year’s regulation set by the European Union, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Throwing a significant curveball to companies across the globe, GDPR was instituted to establish data privacy laws across the EU and protect privacy rights in the age of big data. Almost a year into this legislation, it’s still too early to know all of the effects of GDPR, but it’s clear that it is evolving and will continue to shape how we communicate and use data. Federal privacy laws are rumored to be coming to the US, as well. In light of that, public relations will be more important than ever. Gone will be the days of blasting out email campaigns to a list of contacts. Leveraging news stories, media coverage and bylined articles will take even more importance in the quest to make your company known and solidify your brands.
Public relations isn’t all about dealing with the positive though. If your company is involved in an issue, crisis recovery might be in order. A skilled public relations firm can help navigate through problems and work to repair any damage to reputation, credibility, and brand, as well as contain the issue from snowballing into a downward spiral.
Of course, the key to effective public relations is planning and goal-setting. Measurable results include media pick-ups, website traffic stats, article placements, media interviews secured, social media shares/impressions/ followers, and more.
By leveraging a variety of mediums to get your message out there across a concerted public relations strategy, you can make positive traction across your community, and the marketplace will take notice.