Businesses around the world rely on PR to promote their brand through authentic storytelling. Not convinced it’s for you? If you find yourself justifying your lack of PR in any of the following ways, it may be time to reconsider.
(1) “I don’t need to build a brand; our reputation speaks for itself”
Before the dawn of the digital age, boosting awareness and generating business was primarily achieved through word of mouth. Today, although still important, relying on word of mouth recommendations alone is not enough to succeed. Analysis of consumer behaviour demonstrates that individuals across generations are more likely to purchase a product/service from a brand they know and trust. To engender and amplify recognition of what you do and why customers should buy from you rather than your competitors, a strong brand is essential.
There are numerous reasons why building a brand makes good business sense. Internally, a brand helps to motivate employees. Externally, it increases the value of a company, builds credibility, encourages investment, and develops a loyal customer base.
How do you promote your brand and enhance your reputation? Nearly one third of online consumers trust a stranger over a brand, favouring independent and objective news stories and blogs over promotional and biased marketing materials. As PR is primarily authentic storytelling, it is key to developing trust, nurturing reputations and driving sales.
(2) “I advertise”
There are undoubtedly several benefits to advertising. However, neglecting PR as part of your marketing strategy could be hindering your success. Here are just some of the reasons why PR holds it own against advertising:
PR is more credible
Today, a staggering 69% of people do not trust ads (PR Week). While PR too has its fair share of non-believers, given the recent fake news epidemic, because PR is earned media, endorsed by an independent, expert third party, people tend to trust it more. Effectively, when advertising, you tell people how good you are, while with PR, people sing your praises for you.
PR is more cost effective
Advertising is what you pay for; positive publicity is what you pray for.
Advertising helps you sell a specific product or service at a specific point in time, gaining you as much coverage as you can afford, running adverts again and again until the money pot dries up. Unlike advertising, which runs for a finite amount of time, PR is evergreen- once a story appears online, someone has a radio interview, appears on TV etc, that information will remain archived online for a long time. In addition to its long shelf life, PR also helps you to gain a loyal customer base. Rather than making a one-off purchase inspired by an ad, this loyal customer base will keep coming back to your company because they love what you do and what you stand for. As a result, that one news story could provide you with more bang for your buck than hundreds of adverts.
PR is particularly useful for companies with limited marketing budgets. Rather than trying to compete with big corporations where money is no object, SMEs should consider investing their funds in a strategic PR campaign.
PR makes advertising more successful
Many adverts get overlooked or ignored entirely. Research shows that ‘UK consumers only watch an ad for 2.4 seconds on average before skipping, with the nation’s ad skipping rate at 52%’ (Marketing Week).
One way to convert passive viewers into engagers, is to boost awareness and understanding of a brand or product through PR. Dissimilar to advertising, PR is subtle. Once an individual has got to know a little bit about the company, its services/products and values from information they have read in the news or heard on the radio etc, they will be more interested in its adverts.
(3) “I’ve got a good website with SEO”
An interactive and engaging website with a solid SEO strategy is fundamental for success. But could you be doing more? Why are your competitors still ranking higher than you? Introducing PR, the tool that can see your marketing efforts skyrocket.
How does PR benefit SEO?
Pushing keywords and crafting trending content
A major part of SEO is identifying and taking advantage of trending topics and keywords. If this information is shared with PR professionals, they can mould their copy accordingly, creating on-trend copy to increase your click-through rate and search rankings.
Link building is a critical factor for ranking highly on Google in 2019. Digital PR plays a major role in obtaining these links. Through working closely with influencers, bloggers and other members of the media, communications professionals can acquire high-quality, reputable and relevant backlinks, achieving an increase in traffic to your website and boosting your PageRank on Google.
Business leaders are always looking for the next quick fix, easy and efficient ways to reap results now. If you think that PR cannot generate immediate results, you’d be mistaken. One strong press release can: draw attention to your brand, generate interest, convince readers to take action, stimulate desire, enhance your reputation and credibility.