Why PR Is Essential To Your Marketing Mix

What are people saying about your micro business?

What’s their opinion about you and your company?

What kind of reputation do you have amongst customers, suppliers, employees, journalists and the public?

And how are you influencing that opinion?

You see, if you want to survive and succeed in business, it’s vital you influence opinion. In addition, you must create, maintain and protect a good public image and reputation for yourself and your business.

It’s a smart goal and done well will make you stand out from your competitors.

And the way to achieve it is through PR.

Let me explain…

Opinions matter

Have you noticed?

We all have an opinion about the people and businesses with whom we come into contact with. And these opinions influence who we do business with, where we shop and who we support.

Reality TV stars are a classic example.

With the immediacy of information now available via social media, your reputation can rise and fall in an instant. Take the X Factor contestants. One day they are strangers, the next they are famous – and we quickly have an opinion on them.

What’s more, during these big programmes, the PR machine goes into overdrive to influence how we perceive the contestants.

The lesson is you too need to manage the way you communicate and build relationships with EVERYONE who has an influence on your survival and success.

And the best way to do that is with PR.

What IS PR?

According to Public Relations News,

“PR is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

Or to put it more simply,

 PR is all about managing people’s opinions of you and your business.

PR is a huge discipline that covers many areas. And it’s not just about getting in the press.

A comprehensive PR strategy will also incorporate other opportunities such as:

  • Radio and television appearances,
  • Community involvement like sponsoring a local football team, a production at your local theatre, a roundabout, or a charity event.

In fact, PR is a creative activity that explores different ways to gain credible exposure that is relevant to the people you want to communicate with.

What can PR achieve?

PR is the perfect tool for building YOUR profile within your market as THE expert on what you do.

It is the only way to do that because it’s all about 3rd party endorsement.

The journalist interviews you and writes about your business with his / her name at the end of the article. So it doesn’t matter that the entire article is your press release (all the better in fact). The reader will assume that the journalist has formed these opinions in the article, and that he / she is therefore endorsing you.

And if you are quoted in a general article relating to your market, you will immediately be seen by your target audience as a market expert.

Communication

Good PR relies upon good communication.

And that is why PR is so important in your marketing. You need to make sure you are communicating the RIGHT message to the RIGHT target audience, whichever media you are using.

PR needs to be incorporated in your marketing mix ALONGSIDE other activities such as your email/direct mail campaigns, advertising, social media etc. The reason – you need to communicate coherent messages and great stories to a strong network of people who will help spread your word.

This is only achieved through a well-thought-out PR campaign that embraces the available tools

PR Tools that influence opinion

You need to mix up modern PR tools with the tried and tested methods.

  • Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great. In my mind, they are the new PR tools of the 21st century.
  • Well written press releases are the route to telling the media what’s current in your business.
  • A positive testimonial incorporated into in an article written by a journalist is much more powerful than saying it yourself in an advert.
  • Combine this with a direct mail shot and perhaps an ad for your business in the local papers.

This mix of advertising and 3rd party endorsement through media appearances encourages your prospect to subconsciously see you as superior to your competitors.

And THAT, is the value of PR!

It’s time to embrace PR

I urge you to embrace PR into your marketing mix.

You can do it yourself or employ an experienced PR consultant who can work out the best strategies for you.

And remember, building relationships can take a long time to get right – but only a few seconds to ruin!

PR is THE most valuable tool in your marketing mix for ensuring your communications are managed in the best way in order to avoid ruin. What’s more, if for some unforeseen reason your business’ reputation is sullied, PR is the only tool to sort that out.

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Really look at how you use PR in your business.  Honestly. And if it is not one of your marketing pillars, talk to an experienced PR consultant who will help you work out what to do.

Lucy Matthews

Lucy Matthews is a freelance PR consultant. She has a passion for the media, an enviable selection of contacts and a proven record in working with businesses to build their reputation and presence in the media.

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Comments

  1. This has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I always thought that PR was about getting into the papers. The idea that it’s actually all about influencing opinion about your business is making me think differently.
    Jo Waltham recently posted..Warning: Do You Spend Too Much Time On Social Media?My Profile

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