You’ve heard talk about how you may need “more PR” or how something “would be good PR.” What exactly, though, are people talking about?
Let’s start with the basics. PR is simply public relations. You sometimes hear PR and marketing used interchangeably, but the two are very different. According to muse.com, marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product, while PR is focused on maintaining a positive reputation for a company as a whole. The two go hand in hand in bringing recognition to your company or product; they just have different ways of achieving it.
We’ve talked about marketing before in this blog; but how about PR? What can PR do to help you boost sales?
- First, PR can give you brand recognition through exposure to industry-leading publications and influencers. By getting your message in the right hands, you can generate positive stories for people who read these publications and blogs; influencers can endorse your product and encourage people to try your product or service.
- Second, it can help SEO. For each article written about your business, you usually get a referring link back to your website. Depending on the domain rank, or importance, of the website, it can have a huge effect on your search engine optimization.
- It keeps your business on the industry radar. Regular press mentions let industry thought leaders (and the competition) that your company is innovating and moving forward.
How to implement a PR campaign
So now we know what PR is and how it can help your business. The $64,000 question: How, exactly, do you “do” PR? It takes a lot of work to do it right, but it’s not impossible. Like so many things, the amount of work that you put into it generally equals the amount that you get out of it:
- Identify and establish relationships with writers, bloggers and influencers who can help you. Follow them on Twitter, and engage with them, commenting on tweets and asking questions.
- Send out press releases not just on your product, but how your product fits into current trends and news. Reporters and bloggers will rarely write a puff piece on your product or service, but if they see an angle that interests them, they may mention you and your business in the article, maybe even eliciting a quote from you.
- Once you get to know influencers, personally “pitch” stories to writers, bloggers and influencers. Email them, call them, and sell a story to them. As in press releases, you don’t want to sell them on your product or service; instead, talk about those trends and recent news articles in your industry and then talk about how your product fits in or complements those trends.
- Speak at conferences, hold seminars and set up booths at trade shows. The important thing here is brand recognition, and the more people you can meet and give your message, the better. Once again, you might be speaking on a trend in your industry, and speaking as a thought leader will set your company up as an innovator.
- Get involved in your community. If you’re a local company, you can generate good PR by participating in events in your area. Start a food drive or Toys for Tots campaign; volunteer your time at a local charity; donate or sponsor a worthy cause. Especially this time of year, reporters are looking for feel-good stories, and having your company do good things to help your community is newsworthy.
Remember, PR is any activity that gives your company a positive reputation. Use marketing activities to sell your product, but use PR to keep good news flowing.