We’ve written a lot about how to make your PR efforts more effective, how to measure results, and the importance of accurate reporting, but today we thought we’d answer a more fundamental question about PR.
Executing a well-planned and effective PR strategy is not easy, so why bother? It’s a fair question, so here are the most important reasons that PR matters to organizations like yours.
PR Helps Build Message Clarity and Consistency
You can create an advertisement without a clear understanding of your brand’s story, but without it, effective PR is impossible. PR shapes the brand narrative, and develops the themes and personality that will run through all of your communications.
Good PR Makes Marketing and Advertising More Effective
One main function of PR is to shape the public’s opinion of your brand. Why does this matter? Because it sets the stage for more direct marketing and advertising messages. If a potential buyer has read a positive media mention, or read a great review, they are far more likely to respond to an ad, open an email, or stop by the store.
Reputation Management is Essential
These days, people have an unlimited number of channels to talk about their experience with your brand. This can be fantastic (ask Kohl’s), or devastating (check out this story). It is the role of PR professionals to build a positive online reputation and to react quickly and smartly to negative comments or reviews. According to Nielson, people trust the reviews of friends and even strangers on the internet more than messages received directly from brands.
If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Someone Else Will
Markets and the media don’t like voids. If you aren’t out there telling the story of your brand, you are essentially leaving it up to journalists and your competitors to do it for you. It is a far better idea to get out there and shape the conversation yourself.
Potential Buyers Aren’t the Only Audience that Matters
Marketers and advertisers, rightly, focus on reaching people who have the potential to buy from you, but they aren’t the only audience you want to attract. You also want to convince potential employees, investors, partners, and current customers that your brand has value and that they should be proud to have an association with the organization.
No matter how hard you work to prevent it, every brand is vulnerable to a PR crisis. The middle of the disaster is not the right time to decide you need PR. PR professionals know how to react and attempt to minimize the impact of bad news. It is also helpful if you have existing relationships with journalists and others who might share your side of the story.
PR isn’t a “nice to have.” It is a key function of modern business. Fortunately, it is extremely cost effective and there are sophisticated tools to help monitor the PR landscape and measure results.