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Experience: 5 years
Implementing a successful Public Relations strategy is a very complicated process. It involves a number of techniques used in other forms of marketing; which seems to confuse many of todays up and coming business owners. Understanding its importance is the first step you need to take. From there you can begin developing the strategies, or possibly hiring the right people; to get the job done effectively.
The first step to understanding the importance of PR is to figure out exactly what is involved, and sadly; there is never going to be an exact answer. Every PR strategy is going to be custom-tailored to the individual business, as any well-executed marketing plan should be. The following include some of the more commonly used techniques and can be used as a guideline for the things involved:
Press Releases– Press releases are an excellent way of updating the public about recent changes regarding your business and its products. They are often distributed online. Websites such as PR Web allow you to distribute your press releases throughout major news sites and search engines extremely quickly.
Media Alerts– Media alerts are similar to a press release. Instead of providing information about your company changes or products, you would inform the media about a conference or event you are holding. The idea behind this is to encourage photographers or reporters to attend, providing exposure for your company.
Press Tours– Identify the important and influential journalists or bloggers within your industry. Then provide a reason to get them to meet with you, or simply have a conversation. Create an interesting and newsworthy topic to do with your business for them to write about, aiming to make it interesting enough to the readers of the journalist or blogger. Hopefully, your company will then be put in front of readers that are directly interested in your niche.
Trade Shows- Attending trade shows specific to your industry are an excellent method for networking with influential people. It allows you to build up connections, develop your brand, and generate interest in your company.
Email Marketing- Whilst this technique is often heavily associated with internet marketing, it often plays a key role within a PR expert’s toolkit. The idea is to create a database of potential and existing customers. You will then use it to email them with information regarding your industry, or present them with your new products.
Social Networking- With the recent rise in active social media users, the purpose of social media from a business perspective has risen dramatically. The idea is to build and maintain relationships with your potential and existing customers.
Understanding these techniques and how they work is one thing, but actually implementing them effectively requires an expert; or at least someone that has some type of experience. This is why most businesses are choosing to hire agencies or freelancers to carry out their PR. When you combine the above techniques with a clear plan, and you have the right resources to carry it out, the end result is hugely beneficial for businesses.
The Benefits of Successful PR
Cost Effective Brand Awareness
Developing a Public Relations strategy has often been described as the most cost-effective method for raising brand awareness, and it is obvious why. The majority of PR can be done at a surprisingly cheap price, in comparison to traditional advertising methods. It doesn’t cost a great deal to distribute a press release, develop a social presence, or attend a press tour. And when you do these things correctly, your products or message will be placed directly in front of the eyes of the right people.
Using PR as a marketing tool also allows you to gain credibility for your business. Reason being, PR presents people with information from a third party. We are much more likely to trust positive coverage about companies that we read in a newspaper, magazine, or on an online press release. Compare that to the only alternative that will reach the same volume of audience, such as using television, billboards, radio or other advertising methods. When you compare the two, you can see why more and more businesses are starting to develop PR strategies.
Overall, developing a successful PR strategy is fundamental in taking businesses to the next level. To summarise, it provides the following benefits:
- It provides a vital role in promoting businesses to their customers.
- When done correctly, it can often provide a greater result than advertising, whilst costing less.
- It allows you to quickly respond to opportunities within publicity.
- If you ever experience bad press, having a solid PR strategy in place will reduce the damage caused.
- It can improve the overall image of a company within the community.