Most brands know that PR is an essential part of growing their business, but many business owners don’t really know what PR is. How can you do something if you yourself don’t fully understand it?
Now before we jump in too far, I will say that the world of PR is getting a little blurry. There are not many agencies that only do traditional PR anymore, most have become hybrids of integrative marketing, public relations, and advertising. This is great because it means that businesses can have a one-stop-shop for all three, but it also creates a lot of misunderstanding about what PR actually is. Here’s how I define it and differentiate it from marketing and advertising.
Marketing is the umbrella that advertising and PR fall under, and it involves a lot of strategies. Marketing has everything to do with creating value for customers, from product development to channel strategy, communication, and promotion. In my opinion, marketing is the key to growing a company.
Advertising is responsible for making a product or service seem desirable through various (typically paid) media. There’s a lot of psychology involved in advertising and falls under the promotion strategy for marketers.
Public Relations is a strategic communications strategy that is all about getting other people to talk about your brand. Public Relations adds credibility and authenticity to your brand and is often the missing piece of the puzzle when trying to grow a business. People are much more likely to believe an Olympic athlete who uses your protein powder than an un-personal ad that pops up on their feed, right?
All three are important and have to work together, but for now let’s discuss the 6 steps to creating a successful PR strategy that will complement, not compete with, your marketing and advertising plan.
STEP 1: LISTEN
To reach the clients or consumers that you want you to have to know what they want. Market research is incredibly important. What does your ideal client care about? What are they looking for? What are their problems? Also, pay attention to what topics journalists are covering in your industry and which posts of yours are getting the highest engagement, these things matter and they will help you land the mentions and clients you’ve been chasing.
STEP 2: CREATE
People who start doing PR without a plan often end up overworked and with nothing to show for it. You have to be strategic. Create a content strategy around what your ideal client needs to hear to make working with you or purchasing from you a simple YES.
STEP 3: OPTIMIZE
If you want your content to get in front of the right people you have to work for it. Keywords and buzzwords can grab your ideal client’s attention and with the help of good SEO, it could land you exactly where you need to be when your ideal client is searching for you.
STEP 4: PITCH
PR is all about action, there is nothing passive about it. Until you get to a really high level, PR opportunities won’t come to you— you have to chase them down. Pitching is the best thing you can do for your business. Getting people to write about you, post about you, or have you on their podcast gives you authority and credibility and can help you grow your audience beyond what you can do on your own.
STEP 5: SHARE
The coverage you get is only as good as how you respond to it. Always share your coverage and partnerships on all of your platforms. Not only will reposting and tagging the publications or partners help drive traffic to your profiles, but sharing this with the audience you already have further established your authority and credibility in your space.
STEP 6: MEASURE
Having measurable outcomes is the best way to understand what’s working and what’s not. Measure the reach of your content and the results of your press coverages, and look for patterns. What’s working and what’s not?
There you have it, my go-to 6 steps for a successful PR strategy. I hope these tips help you as you decide what steps to take next for your business.