PR Stories: The Biggest Bang for Marketing Buck

PR Stories

“The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.”

– Mark Twain

As a master storyteller, Mark Twain knew a thing or two about public relations. He recognized that a good story is the key to truly connecting with and relating to audiences. And perhaps no other business tactic offers a better opportunity to attract and engage with a larger audience than PR stories.

That’s because PR stories are credible, they build trustworthiness and humanize your brand. PR stories are a powerful tool that allows you to resonate with your potential customer’s wants and needs in addition to the challenges they may face.

What are PR stories?

A PR story is an article that is developed or written by a PR agency and then published in the press. Here are two examples of how that may play out. First, your public relations agency may write an article on the latest trends or a case study on one of your recent success stories. Then they would use their existing contacts to facilitate placement of that PR story in a trade publication whose audience matches that of your ideal customer.

The other way would include a situation where your PR agency pitches a journalist from a trade publication a story idea and then helps the writer develop that story.

The idea is to generate an overwhelming amount of positive press. The more often your prospects are reading about you the more likely they are to trust you as a viable solution to their problems. 

Yet, despite all the positives PR stories offer, some businesses continue to not exploit them for potential gain. Some companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars every month on ads that appear between insightful and educational articles. While advertising may be a worthy piece to your marketing puzzle, the articles in the trade publications are the reason people are reading the magazine. So, let’s see how public relations and advertising compare when we put them head-to-head in a couple of key categories.

Is PR better than advertising?

First, let’s just start with what’s on everyone’s mind: money.

PR is simply a better investment than advertising. Placing an ad – via digital or print – is expensive. Sure, advertising online can be done on a lower budget, but that always means fewer impressions. Plus, consumers tend to be wary of advertising and many people simply ignore it. Not only are PR stories considered far more trustworthy by consumers, but they are also free!

Plus, you are essentially getting a 3rd party endorsement from the magazine who felt your story was worth sharing with their readers. This not only increases your perceived value in the eyes of those potential customers, but it also increases your credibility. Therefore, PR stories offer a huge impact at crucial steps during the sales process. 

Additionally, because PR stories are written, or at least vetted, by unbiased journalists, they are more likely to be consumed and relied upon for future buying decisions. PR articles about a product, service, or company are 6 times more visible than an ad. They are also 3 times more credible.

PR Stories
PR Stories

Now, add your customer testimonials to those PR stories and you can increase credibility by 92%. Let those people who already believe in your work do the talking for you. Have them share your success stories on how your products went above and beyond to solve their problems.

PR Stories have more reach than advertising

For anyone who is still debating the value of PR stories, let’s take it one step further. Even the best advertisement has a usage limit. However, if you write one PR article, you can disseminate that same article to multiple different media outlets. And once the story is published, it can be picked up by more and more outlets, increasing its reach. Plus, after it appears online, it’s media coverage that lasts forever because rarely do websites remove great content.  Additionally, those websites often have high domain authority scores, and the articles generally populate some of the top results for a given search term. 

With an advertisement, you pay for it to appear in a specific magazine, and if you want it to appear in a separate publication you have to pay them a separate fee.

PR is more likely to get you in front of decision-makers

Perhaps even more than the average consumer, decision-makers are inundated with ads and offers all the time. Decision makers are bombarded by sales pitches left and right; most of those get ignored. An engaging PR story is far more likely to catch their attention. In a recent report from MediaGrowth Research, 92% of decision-makers regularly read trade publications. In addition, 97% of those say they depend on trade magazines when making purchasing decisions.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, said it best: “Publicity is critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” And if it’s good enough for Mark Twain and Richard Branson, legendary storyteller and business magnate, it’s good enough for us!

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