Does PR work?
Like almost anything else, PR works very well if you develop an effective strategy, follow it up with great storytelling and then have the expertise and connections to get is distributed in targeted media outlets. In fact, PR is often considered the single greatest tool in marketing a business.
Bill Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
The key, however, is developing an effective strategy that works in today’s fast paced, low attention span, over saturated marketplace where according to the New York Times, we are exposed to around 5,000 advertisements per day.
We have all seen these releases that read something like: “So-and-So Named CFO at Who Cares, Inc.” or “We Are Great LLC. Just Awarded The ‘Not Really a Big Deal Prize.’”
Unfortunately, most public relations practitioners today are still relying on outdated strategies that include short press releases that tend to be much more about what “we” are doing and less about how to help your target audience (the customer).
What is good PR?
Good public relations brings awareness and credibility to a brand, shorten sales cycles, increases leads and SEO results. However, first you have to get your message to be consumed by your prospective customers. Good PR begins with providing solid solutions for your audience.
Think about the question: is my public relations message all about me or am a developing content that my customer will consume because I am thinking about what’s in it for them?” Are you solving your customers problems? Are you answering their questions? Is your content benefiting them? If the answers to those questions are not a clear and unmistakable, “YES!” Then you are almost certainly not generating good PR.
How do I create good PR content?
The most effective way to generate good (even great) PR content is by having your customers do the talking for you.
S.H. Simmons put it wonderfully – “If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.”
You almost certainly have great success stories. These are the projects or sales that you provided your customers with that went above and beyond to solve their problems. What Rankin PR does is we interview those customers and have them tell the story about how great you are. This 3rd-party testimonial is the best word-of-mouth endorsement you can get.
This type of content PR will:
• Create an increased demand for your business
• Shorten sales cycles by educating prospects
• Create a more efficient sales team by generating qualified leads
• Pushes prospects closer to the purchase stage
• Partner with sales to increase revenue
How do I measure PR?
There are a number of ways to measure PR and ensure that it is delivering results.
Press clippings – You need to generate a large number of mentions in media outlets that target your customers to successfully raise awareness for your business.
Impressions – You need enough people viewing your messaging to connect the dots and drive action.
Content Analysis – Quality matters both in the content and placement. Does your content solve problems?
Comparing equivalent ad rates – What would it cost to include your messaging across the same amount of space within a given publication?
Lead sourcing – Tracking inbound queries by your sales team – “how did you hear about us?”
Whichever way you want to measure it, PR should really start by setting a goal, then checking the results to ensure the goal was accomplished. Therefore, the best metric for measuring the effectiveness of PR is looking at how it impacts the overall results of a business.
Are you generating more leads? Does the collateral help shorten sales cycles? Is your website trafficking increasing, etc. Most importantly, are you generating more revenue?
“PR is extremely important, and being able to use it in the right way means everything. You have to market your success.” – Lee Haney, bodybuilder and former Mr. Olympia