I’ve just been talking to a coaching client about how to measure whether PR is working.
What would happen if it was actively making clients avoid you?
It’s an interesting subject and clients can get very worried that they’re paying their PR company for appearances in the media and yet there seems to be no related increase in sales, or worse a decline.
Often companies don’t make the best use of PR.
Strategy, Strategy, Strategy
I’ve said this so many times. PR needs to be integrated into a marketing strategy. Without a marketing strategy you’ll doubtless get into the media but you won’t know whether it’s helping to move your business up a gear or not.
Think about the different strategies you can adopt for PR:
- Use it for maintaining the branding (not my personal favourite!)
- It can increase market exposure
- Used as collateral in other marketing
- To retain employees
- To encourage joint ventures
Let’s look at each in a little more detail…
Get enough exposure in the media used by your target audience and you’ll begin to be known as the company to go to when they need what you’re selling. This method can be incredibly pricey if you’re looking at a national or international campaign.
To focus purely on branding is not recommended for an SME. In fact branding should not be the only focus for anyone who wants to get full value from their investment in PR.
Increase Market Exposure
Often mentioned at the same time as branding. However, exposure is all about getting known in a wide variety of different ways. The employee who climbs Everest, the MD who plays golf with Richard Branson, the headquarters half-way up the Eiffel Tower. All help you gain exposure and yet do not really relate to branding. Expert viewpoints from your company may be quoted in the media, your employees may be interviewed on TV. All of these things increase your company exposure and yet are not guaranteed to increase your branding or your sales.
PR as Marketing Collateral
As Professor Cialdini notes, Social Proof, helps people to trust what you provide. Having a piece in the media can help with the social proof. However, what happens if your target doesn’t see that particular piece of news? You need to send it to them with a little note saying why it was in the media and how it can help them.
You can also frame PR pieces and put them in your office. Again third party approval of your company as noted in the media.
You can also retain your current clients by telling them of relevant new pieces from the media.
Make sure that you’re not simply saying look at us, aren’t we great!
Getting your experts to comment helps them feel involved with your company. Other company members seeing people they know in the media is interesting and underlines the fact that they were right to sing-up with such a go-ahead company.
Encouraging Joint Ventures
Other retail outlets or organisations may service the same market as you. When you find one it’s useful to contact each others clients to offer them services that you feel are useful for them.
When you contact a potential Joint Venture prospect you can include PR pieces that show you’re a great go-ahead company. That can shift the balance so they want to work with you.
How about asking a journalist if their readers, viewers or whatever would like a special deal, or free report specially because you’ve been interviewed by the said magazine/newspaper/TV/radio programme? That way you’ll know exactly how many people have been affected by what you said.