Your business undoubtedly has a great story to tell, why should you share it with everyone else? Enter: Public Relations – a great way to build on your marketing efforts, accelerate your industry presence and generate company interest. In the modern era of the 21st Century, almost everyone knows what PR is; but it's understanding the fundamental values what PR can offer to your business that will completely transform your credibility and boost your profit margins too.
So, what are we talking about here?
Put simply, public relations can be your most valuable company advocate, providing your communications strategy is well defined and aligned with your business' key objectives. Much more than a carefully thought out press release accompanied by professional images (although, these too, could form part of your communications efforts), it is the culmination of shared thought leadership, brand responsibility and reputation management that truly encompasses the various elements of public relations. In short, it's how you communicate your core message, from clients and customers to business partners, the general public, your employees and even your competition, there are several ways to do this effectively.
In a future blog post, we'll discuss further the different ways to share your company story, discussing how your business can get actively involved with community engagements, employee retention schemes, collaborative campaigns and public affairs, but for now – let's focus on why it matters and regardless of how big or small your company may be, the reasons why you should consider introducing a PR strategy.
Brand Awareness & Exposure.
Number one on our list of reasons why. You could be doing a whole plethora of great and exciting things, but if nobody knows who you are, will it really generate the attraction it deserves? Enhanced brand awareness is one of the most positive impacts of introducing a PR timeline to your communications calendar.
Whichever way your business identifies itself, there are likely hundreds, if not thousands of other companies all clamouring for the same share of the spotlight. No matter your business offering or niche, it's a crowded marketplace and optimising your company voice through PR can offer an alternative and effective route for reaching your target audience. They say there’s no such thing as bad PR, and whilst we might not necessarily agree with this in its full entirety, additional brand exposure can do your business a wealth of good.
Increased SEO opportunities.
Not even halfway through this insight and we’ve pulled out a classic marketing term. Apologies, but this little golden nugget has certainly earned its place here. When we talk about brand exposure, we know that can encompass many things – from word of mouth to doorstep leaflet deliveries, but right now, we’re currently knee-deep in a digital fast world, and a solidified SEO strategy can outperform many other marketing efforts. By ensuring your business makes the most of any digital PR opportunities available, you’re likely to increase your SEO rankings, seeing many more first-page results on a quick google search of your business. It's simple logic – the more places you’re featured and mentioned, the more likely you are to get found.
Additional plus point? Digital news doesn’t carry the same expiry date as traditional news outlets. Search visibility remains intact even with the passing of time, meaning your brand can continue to benefit from the staying power offered through digital PR.
Credibility and trust.
There are several routes to exposure when considering PR, but essentially, the one differentiator between business marketing and PR is the viewpoint from which the story is told. Your general brand marketing will focus on driving sales, encouraging leads and measuring your profitability, but it all comes from you. You spearhead almost every aspect of your marketing campaigns because after all, nobody knows your business better than you do, but with PR, the spokesperson angle shifts ever so slightly. This is a much less biased communications effort.
Offering snippets of information and thought leadership to relevant publications, studies and news features places your business in a position of trust and credibility. Having others within your industry, or even just in general, mention and feature your name, your business wins and successes will elevate your trust margins, with several reports, including the Nielsen 2015 advertising poll, suggesting earned mentions of your business carry more credibility weight than brand-owned media and marketing assets.
Advocating company values.
Today, everyone is talking about brand responsibility. Let's face it, the consumer market has shifted and now buying demographics are interested, if not fully invested, in much more than just the products and services on offer. They're looking for responsibility, and companies that share values and ethics that match their own – in short, consumers want to know, see and hear about the positive impact you’re having, be that in your specific industry, local community, charitable support or eco-conscious efforts.
As business owners become much more engaged in the formation and deliverance of company values, you may have already identified your own, in which case, there's never been a better time to tell your consumers about your promise to do better. Utilise the many avenues of PR to advocate your company values and share with others, your commitment to be honourable. Think there's a gap in your market for your industry to do better? Lead the way with an effective PR communications strategy that positions you as an exemplary thought leader.
You may well be on a mission to change the world, one small act of kindness at a time, but lead generation matters too and profits will account for much of your success as a business owner. There's no hiding from the fact that profit margins need to be on the curve of continuous growth for long-term sustainability, and where better to generate interest and leads for your business than through the public domain?
Choosing your key messaging carefully, then using precise PR targeting methods, you can offer invaluable, decision-impacting information to your preferred consumers. Additional exposure makes you much more visible, whilst all the brand-building encompassed builds on consumer trust – paired together and effectively, you should see a trend of consumer interest converting to sales. Now, that's a pretty good reason to define your comms for the next quarter.
It may not be on this years' agenda to recruit, but as your business continues to grow, how will you attract the talent you feel your business could benefit from? Get your messaging right through public relations and you could be onto a guaranteed employment winner. There's a whole host of opportunities available to you as a business owner, to not only position yourself well for consumer interest, but to also gain and attract the interest of powerful talent.
Does your company have an exceptional workplace culture? Are you winning industry awards for your commitment to employee retention and wellbeing? Sharing your workplace success stories will see your business gain the employment credibility it deserves, positioning you as a leading employer and making you incredibly attractive to like-minded talent just waiting for an exciting new opportunity.
It tells your story.
From those edge-of-your-seat news headlines to light entertainment pieces and conversational starters, we all find ourselves immersed in a story every once in a while. Implementing a PR strategy into your business allows you the space to tell your story, in all its raw authenticity, the highs and the lows, your challenges and successes and your business-specific USPs.
Whether it's a rags-to-riches tale, or simply the narrative of how your business strives for future growth, you have a story worthy of sharing and public relations can help you do just that.
So, there you have it – 7 great reasons to invest in your communications strategy. Need a little support in getting your public relations efforts off the ground? Give us a call and let Ouma talk you through the first steps of planning your next PR campaign.