Do-it-yourself PR tools are so helpful, but they’re not a substitute for a real PR campaign.
As a seasoned PR professional, I have spent years answering the question of whether businesses can handle their own PR.
I get it. You have more options than ever before for marketing and publicizing your business…
From AI Public Relations tools, to DIY press release distribution, to an influx of marketing freelancers available at your fingertips for a fraction of agency costs, it can be tempting to avoid agencies altogether.
While I understand not wanting to throw away hard earned money, and I agree that there are so many things about the traditional PR agency model that need to be changed (that’s a story for another day!), I don’t think it’s time to discount the value in a good Public Relations agency just yet.
Alongside the influx of PR options, is also the influx of competitors vying for your customer’s attention. Cutting through the noise of the 24/7 news cycle and social media to reach your target audience has become increasingly challenging over the past decade. This is where PR agencies shine.
What is Public Relations?
In today’s world, public perception can make or break a business, and PR is a much needed ally for business owners.
Public relations is often referred to as the art of reputation management; it’s about fostering authentic communication, credibility, and trust. It serves as a bridge connecting businesses with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the media.
Image Source: Unsplash
Benefits of Public Relations
- Public relations ensures effective communication. A good PR campaign employs various channels to convey a consistent message that aligns with the company’s values and goals. This can be done through press releases, emails, social media announcements, and events.
- Secondly, PR builds credibility and trust. By actively engaging with stakeholders and the public, brands can listen, address concerns, and establish a two-way dialogue. This open and transparent communication fosters trust, instills confidence, and reinforces the business’s public image as reliable and ethical. A trustworthy and credible brand naturally has higher sales conversion rates, and greater customer loyalty.
- Lastly, PR plays a pivotal role in brand management. Through strategic storytelling, PR is about crafting narratives that resonate with the target audience, portraying the brand’s uniqueness and value proposition. By nurturing positive associations, PR cultivates brand loyalty and drives business growth. People don’t remember facts, but they do remember a good story.
Consider this example:
Several years ago, we worked with a new startup in the SaaS space. They didn’t have concise messaging in place, they’d never received any publicity, and their marketing strategy was severely disjointed. By helping them create branding guidelines, refining their website message, and creating a strategic media outreach strategy, we were able to triple their website traffic, land them over a dozen media interviews, and drive significant sales growth over a 12-month period.
Our tailored PR approach transformed their brand perception, positioning them as industry leaders and providing the momentum they needed to thrive in a competitive market. When they came to us they were unknown, and when their contract ended they had transformed into a credible player and thought leader in their space.
Embracing the art of public relations empowers businesses to thrive in an increasingly competitive and interconnected world.
What Does a Public Relations Agency Do?
Crafting a strong and resonant voice that resonates with your audience requires dedicated time and effort, which PR agencies excel at. But PR agencies do so much more than that. Establishing messaging guidelines is just the beginning.
PR Agencies are Experts in the Following Areas:
- Media Relations. With a well-crafted media relations strategy, PR agencies leverage existing relationships with reporters, journalists and producers to get publicity for their clients.
- Influencer Marketing. PR agencies help brands partner with influential bloggers and industry influencers, amplifying your message to reach the right people effectively. Influencer partnerships are a no-brainer compared to individually targeting thousands of customers.
- Content Marketing and Thought Leadership. PR agencies help brands with content creation. By crafting engaging content marketing strategies, agencies can help brands become thought leaders in their industry.
- Event Planning & Marketing. PR agencies are well versed in event marketing, and helping brands connect with their local communities. A good PR agency can help you handle all the details of the event from organization to promotion and publicity.
- SEO. Helping brands manage their search engine presence is a vital service offering for modern PR agencies.
- Crisis PR. Cancel culture is a real concern for modern brands. PR agencies can help brands get ahead of the threat and develop Crisis PR strategies to minimize their risk.
- Consulting. Sometimes you might not need a fully executed PR strategy. Maybe you already have a team in place, or maybe you just need some strategic direction. In these scenarios consulting with a PR expert can be an affordable way to set your campaign off on the right foot, even if you plan to execute it in-house.
In the last decade, PR has evolved alongside technology, enabling businesses to make a meaningful impact on customers at the click of a button. Good PR agencies create compelling narratives and get those stories in front of the masses. Effective PR agencies can transform even the most mundane details into captivating stories, imbuing your brand with charisma and personality that sets it apart.
Image Source: Pixabay
Benefits of PR
From company events and rebranding to product launches and charitable initiatives, PR agencies develop campaigns to communicate and engage with your audience effectively. PR placements from credible third-party sources like bloggers and journalists add credibility to your brand, unlike obvious biased advertisements. This sort of social proof is something you really don’t get with other forms of marketing.
Case in point: Through the power of earned media, thought leadership, and storytelling, our own brand has been able to not only climb to the top of search engines, but more importantly, our sales conversion rates and website traffic have increased. When we were invited to join the Forbes Agency Council, we also began receiving invitations to speak at industry events, which wouldn’t have happened without the power of PR and third-party validation from trusted media sources.
PR is also the secret weapon to reputation management. Bad press can strike at any time, and damage control is crucial. PR agencies provide valuable advice on handling customer complaints, and turning negative situations into opportunities for growth. In today’s cutthroat economic climate, safeguarding your company’s reputation is priceless.
Ultimately, PR is all about driving your business to new heights of success. While short-term sales boosts are valuable, the true strength of a well-deployed PR strategy lies in its long-term benefits. By refining your brand and controlling public sentiment, PR agencies create that elusive “it” factor, ensuring sustained customer interest and growth for years to come.
Tips for Hiring a PR Agency
It’s essential to be realistic when hiring a PR agency. Quality and results come at a price, and promises of outstanding results at cheap prices are often scams. Investing in a skilled PR team pays off in the long run, while cutting corners leads to mediocre results.
Consider these tips:
- Define Your Objectives: Before seeking out a PR agency, clearly define your objectives and expectations. Determine what you hope to achieve through PR, whether it’s improving brand visibility, crisis management, or launching a new product. This clarity will help you identify an agency that specializes in your specific needs.
- Assess Experience and Expertise: Look for a PR agency with relevant industry experience and a proven track record. Research their past campaigns, clients, and success stories. Consider their expertise in media relations, digital marketing, social media, and crisis communication. A PR agency that understands your industry nuances can better tailor their strategies to your unique requirements.
- Evaluate Communication Skills: Effective communication lies at the core of PR. During the hiring process, assess the agency’s communication skills. Are they attentive listeners? Do they ask thoughtful questions about your business? A good PR agency will be able to articulate their strategies clearly and demonstrate an understanding of your target audience.
- Check References and Client Testimonials: Request references from the prospective agency and reach out to their previous clients for feedback. Inquire about their experience working with the agency, the results achieved, and the level of satisfaction. Reading client testimonials or case studies on the agency’s website can also help you gain insights into their capabilities.
- Discuss Strategy and Collaboration: Schedule meetings with potential PR agencies to discuss their approach and strategy. Inquire about their methodologies, how they measure success, and their proposed tactics for achieving your objectives. Assess their ability to adapt to your company culture.
Trust is crucial for the success of your PR campaign. Micro-management hinders PR professionals from doing their best work. If you decide to hire a PR agency, let them drive attention to your business while you focus on what you excel at.
Final Verdict: Should I Hire a PR Agency in 2023?
While it’s possible for talented business owners to handle their own PR, the reality is most busy executives don’t have the time or skill set to run a full PR campaign effectively.
Time and energy are best spent on your strengths, leaving PR to the experts, so you can scale your business in other areas. Just as you wouldn’t perform surgery without medical expertise, approach PR with the respect it deserves and leave it to the professionals.
Even if you have the inclination and bandwidth to run a PR campaign by yourself or with your in-house team, consulting a PR expert on strategy before you begin can make all the difference in the world to your bottom line.
Are you ready to elevate your brand’s reputation and unlock its full potential? Contact us today to book a PR consultation or learn how our expert done-for-you PR services can help your business thrive.