How can PR boost your business?
Public relations (PR) is an essential tool in building and managing the reputation of your business or brand. PR can create, maintain, and protect your organisation’s reputation, enhance its prestige, and present a positive image of your company. PR is not just for large corporations — any size of business, across an extensive range of industries, can benefit from PR.
Sharing the best and most interesting aspects of your business through PR offers a range of business benefits; here are my top reasons why:
Increase brand awareness
PR stimulates awareness of and demand for your company products or services. Media stories about your company can create a real buzz and therefore broaden your audience even further. These large media outlets can promote your company wider than you could ever imagine and reach previously untapped audiences. Being featured in the press – especially in this day and age, where social media outlets can distribute coverage to a far-reaching audience — allows your company to promote its message quickly to a vast audience and help you stand out from the crowd.
New business activity
PR professionals have a real eye for a story and know the right media outlet to pitch your story to in order to capture the attention of your target market. They can pitch articles and press releases to their media contacts to help secure coverage for your company in local and national press. By launching a PR campaign, you’ll see regular media exposure that typically results in enhancing your reputation and credibility. As consumers and stakeholders see increased, positive media coverage, they’ll begin to see your company and brand in a favourable light.
Media coverage can also lead to a substantial increase in sales and tremendous growth, and because many small businesses have a unique story to tell, they are interesting to the media. There are various reasons for seeking media coverage, but the two major driving factors are that coverage builds trust and increases public awareness of your company. People tend to trust and absorb more from the publications they read. Studies have shown that consumers often base their purchase decisions on a company’s reputation, so PR can have a direct impact on your company’s sales.
PR is cost-effective when compared to advertising – with PR you can send out your news/press release to however many journalists and media the story is relevant to – with advertising you pay per advert, which can quickly add up. Because the media do not charge for publishing these articles, but consider them valuable for their readers, PR has the power to reach millions of people for very little money, generating many valuable sales leads. PR is an economical way to stay in front of consumers and works to build brand loyalty.
Increase exposure and engagement
Online coverage and a link to your website from a trusted media outlet can also help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can achieve similar results through advertising, but because that visibility is paid for, the costs are great. When people search for your company, it may get hidden behind dozens of unrelated pages that happen to share a few choice keywords. Having a greater online presence via multiple media/blog article write-ups on different sites will improve your company’s search engine optimisation, helping you jump to the top of the search results page, making your company more visible and appear more professional. Media coverage can also help increase your social media presence. One company I worked for noticed a sharp spike in their number of Twitter followers, after a journalist listed their Twitter handle at the end of a feature article I secured for the CEO.
Overall, a great PR campaign can do wonders for your business. In its most effective form, when handled by experts, PR can create a real competitive advantage for companies, whether that is through expansion into new markets, reducing barriers to competition, attracting customers, employees and investors, or protecting the business during a crisis situation. PR can really take your business to exciting new places you didn’t even know were possible!
Rachel MacBeath is an experienced PR professional, having spent 10 years working in PR, both in-house and agency and is now founder and managing director of Portmanteau PR.