As marketers and executives seek to improve their company’s image and reputation, they often turn to public relations to help achieve these goals. While many believe that PR relates mainly to creating and distributing news releases or handling crises, in today’s fast-moving digital world, PR is so much more.
Ultimately, PR is about persuasion. You are trying to influence your stakeholders. You do this by promoting an idea and engaging your audience, who in turn will purchase a product, support your position or recognize your achievements.
As you begin to craft your PR strategies and tactics, it’s important to keep a few key points in mind to help ensure success.
Tell your company’s story
First, you need to effectively communicate what your company stands for. Consumers are seeking to interact with companies that they can relate to and trust. Today, corporate and social responsibility is just as important as having a quality product or service.
It is estimated that 64% of today’s consumers are belief-driven buyers who want brands to deliver on societal issues, as well as products. Because today’s buyers are belief driven, communications strategies must be more authentic. Customers still care about new products and great experiences, but they also want to know companies are thinking beyond just revenue. Trust is at stake with every interaction and message, and a single misstep can be costly.
Highlight your differentiators and expertise
Secondly, as you tell your company’s story, be sure to continually distinguish your company from the competition. By frequently articulating unique qualities and traits, PR can help businesses communicate in ways that traditional advertising cannot do on its own.
It’s always better to have someone else sing your praises than for you to sing them personally. When done right, PR strategies can secure third-party validation from key publications and websites. Whether the tactic is an on-camera media interview or a thought-leadership article in a national trade journal, PR can quickly position an organization as a leader in the field.
Ride the wave of the news cycle
Finally, pay attention to stories that are currently circulating in the media. If opportunity knocks, you need to answer. When there is breaking news, journalists typically seek a national, local, or regional expert to provide clarity, reactions, or a different angle.
When journalists aren’t knocking on your door, be aware of trending topics you can position yourself into. Again, the purpose of PR is to help provide credibility as an expert. Being available and willing to provide perspectives on a trending subject is one of the basic elements of building relationships with journalists. Once that relationship is built, they’ll keep you and your company in mind the next time a relevant story pops up.
PR is part of an integrated strategy
Remember, public relations is different than advertising. Advertising is paid media, while PR is earned media. Advertising increases exposure, but PR builds trust.
While the lines between marketing, advertising, and public relations continue to blur, it is important for businesses to have individual strategies for each discipline. The strength of your efforts will come by integrating these strategies into a single— and effective—integrated communications plan.
Choosing an integrated communications firm that has expertise in all areas of B2B and B2C is beneficial to achieving sales and marketing goals. Integrated agencies are able to provide a one-stop shop, which eases the burden and responsibility of business owners and corporate marketing departments.