In anticipation of our next Monthly Mingle focusing on the Power of PR, this blog is a back to basics look at what Public Relations (PR) is, how it fits into your overall marketing and communications strategy and why it’s so powerful and cost effective. And who better to talk us through it than founder of BrightWord PR and Collective Ambassador, Rachel Soothill.
What is PR?
Public Relations (PR) encourages people to think and speak positively about your business. It improves the reputation of your business and its products and gives you exposure that you do not need to pay for – at least, not directly. A good PR practitioner will analyse the organisation they represent, find the positive messages and translate those messages into engaging stories that appeal to the minds and hearts of your target audiences.
How does PR differ from advertising?
Advertising, promotions, social media feeds and email marketing are all important tools in your marketing kit. However, ask yourself, when was the last time you bought something, went somewhere or employed a service without reading a review or getting a recommendation from someone you trust – a friend, colleague, journalist, blogger, vlogger, celebrity? PR uses trusted rather than paid sources.
PR is all about encouraging and generating opportunities for ‘OTHER PEOPLE’ to think and speak positively about your business. For example, generating online and print coverage means a journalist believes in your brand. That coverage will interest, instruct or inspire readers, which gives your brand greater reliability. Readers will get to know your brand and ultimately trust you. And, depending on how you measure and monitor, an article is between 10 times and 100 times more valuable than an advertisement.
“Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for,” the old saying goes and this table by Forbes contributor and PR practitioner Rober Wynne illustrates well the power of earned Public Relations Vs Paid Advertising:
|Builds exposure||Builds trust|
|Audience is sceptical||Media gives third party validation|
|Guaranteed placement||No guarantee, must persuade media|
|Complete creative control||Media controls final version|
|Adverts mostly visual||PR uses language|
|More expensive||Less expensive|
|“Buy this product”||“This is important”|
How does PR work?
PR works when you build a brand through raising awareness and understanding. This can be done in several ways:
A good PR practitioner prides themselves on being an excellent storyteller with an ability to create a narrative that captivates, inspires and compels audiences to engage with brands on another level. At BrightWord, our news savvy team secures national, local and specialist coverage for clients through our relationships with journalists and industry influencers across print, broadcast and digital outlets. By combining complex market intelligence, industry knowledge and consumer trends we gain maximum publicity for our clients. We help our clients feel confident about engaging with the media so they can respond to requests to be spokespeople for their business as well as providing comment, case studies and real-life examples to make a journalist’s copy interesting for their readers.
Events can be an excellent platform for your brand to engage with its target media and consumers – both on and offline. Whether it’s a product launch, workshop for bloggers or immersive experience, the key is ensuring there is a compelling story behind the event that will get clients noticed and talked about.
As professional PR practitioners, we are always listening to the conversation so we understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of engaging in the discussion. Leveraging these skills, we identify relevant social media influencers, bloggers and vloggers who can help amplify a brand’s story and raise its profile to a potentially untapped audience. We are then able to successfully orchestrate and execute key influencer collaborations and creative campaigns, generating organic engagement and increasing online visibility.
Partnership marketing utilises and builds relationships with likeminded brands to share your story to new and engaged audiences. By identifying synergies and affinities with other brands we can generate opportunities for our clients to reach wider audiences through activity such as content sharing and events, PR campaigns and social takeovers. Bringing the right brands together can have phenomenal and incredibly powerful results.
Content is an integral part of any marketing strategy. A PR expert’s knowledge and understanding of their clients’ business and key messages leaves them perfectly placed to be at the forefront of their content creation. Indeed, your public relations activity should sit directly alongside your website and your brand image to ensure you are creating a consistent message across all channels which is why web copy and refreshes, product descriptions, marketing materials such as brochures and newsletters, and blogs all come under the umbrella of Public Relations.
Thank you Rachel for that really inciteful and useful guide to PR. We can’t wait to talk to you more at our Monthly Mingle next month!