The most common question we get asked, is what a brand can expect from PR? It isn’t quite that simple to answer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some obvious returns. As long as the brief is specific, the objective clear and the budgets available, then you should expect results.
PR isn’t simply about drafting copy and getting it in the paper. It is one tactic, yet not the sum of the whole. When you invest in a PR practitioner or an agency you should set specific objectives. You need to be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve.
Far too often, a company will say that they need PR with no explanation as to why? Knowing what you want as an outcome gives those working on a project or year-round strategy some focus and direction.
PR allows you to share a consistent message, with multiple audiences, across a range of platforms. Depending on how your targets are most likely to find information, a PR will ensure your products feature in that space.
It may be drafting regular press releases that are shared with the media. It may be uploading content to a blog. Sharing engaging updates across social media channels. Providing access to a monthly podcast. Whatever the tactic that is chosen, the focus should always be on sharing a consistent message.
As well as becoming synonymous with a brand, it will mean that this information can be used to educate your audience. They will better understand your products and over time, your business too.
Tone of voice
Deciding on a tone of voice can be a challenge for brands. It can be difficult for someone to think about their business as they would a person. What would it sound like? If you met your product in the pub, what language would it use? How would it choose to interact with others?
Some will think this is a silly ‘game’ and not worth the effort. The reality is that when you see the results from brands that have got it right, it suddenly becomes very worthwhile.
Thinking about the words that you would and would not use. The technical terms and jargon. The approach of being friendly or factual. Considering how a business will come across should not be underestimated.
The best part about getting the tone right, is that once it is there, it will become second nature. It will also appeal to an audience that can resonate with your message. This is incredibly powerful.
Again, this is just one tactic, however awards can bring great credibility. They are also an opportunity to celebrate and to claim the recognition you deserve. Too often, companies think of awards as ‘blowing their own trumpet.
In contrast, they are an opportunity for team building and extending thanks to colleagues. I have never in my career had a client be disappointed at winning an award. Not winning, of course. The truth being that if you don’t enter the outcome is only going one way!
The trick is to find the awards that will raise your profile in the right places. They should be delivered by reputable organisations and come with some credibility. Many of these awards have been running for years and are hosted by media companies. They have a phased process of entry, shortlist and event. These are the types of awards we consider for our clients.
If you get a call from an organisation to say you have won something, yet you didn’t enter, think long and hard before you accept. Chances are you will have to pay, and I would question whether the outcome is worth the investment.
PR gives a business the chance to add some personality. Again, this can be overlooked. People don’t want to buy from faceless brands. They want to better understand those behind the business and what makes them tick.
Adding a back story is always a good idea. It allows an audience to feel that they are more than a purchaser. Overtime, the objective should be to build a community of like-minded followers. Once this is the case, you then have a captive audience to engage with.
It isn’t about sell, sell, sell. Adding some personality to an organisation is a great way to detract from this. We were responsible for some personal posts for Myers Group and they really got to the heart of the business.
The stories that each individual had to share – including the MD’s – were honest and funny! A great combination when this content was shared on the website and across social posts. Not only did they attract attention, but also encouraged engagement.
Without an audience there will be no sales. Without sales, there is no business!
Identifying targets can be tricky. It isn’t always as simple as to suggest one size that fits all. This is why a mapping exercise will help.
Once you do have your audiences, you can start to communicate with them using PR in a way that will be most receptive.
This is where the beauty of PR really does come out in all its glory. Like many marketing disciplines, PR uses an element of trial and error. This is why we have a toolkit of tactics to choose from. It’s a blessing rather than a curse.
The way we work is to put in place a strategy that will evolve over time. What we ask of our clients is that they are willing to be flexible and to attempt new things. Even those that may make them feel a little uncomfortable. We wouldn’t make recommendations if we didn’t feel they would work.
If you are working with the right practitioner or agency, then you will start to see results. The profile of your business will increase. People will start to chat to you about the latest news they have read. Business associates will comment, like and share your content. Associates will start to follow your social media channels. You will have the chance to celebrate awards with colleagues.
What a brand can expect from PR, depends entirely on its objectives. The greatest benefit being that PR can be so many different things, to so many different people. There is however one thing for certain, a return on investment should be a given!