As the oldest and most powerful sector of the industry, PR should be a permanent fixture on every marketing agenda. Whether you are a large or small organisation, B2B or B2C, how you are portrayed in the public arena is of vital importance. With the help of PR, you can develop and maintain a positive, favourable image of your brand as well as your products or services.
PR is the most essential way of managing your internal and external reputation. Every time you communicate with your stakeholders should be seen as a golden opportunity to shape how they perceive your organisation. It is a well known fact that the majority of people will buy from organisations they are familiar with and they know are reliable, with a good reputation. Consistent positive media coverage will keep you “top of mind”, while reassuring customers and potential customers they can be confident choosing your organisation.
It is important to try and integrate PR into your marketing campaigns as it can support the other tools while maximising the impact they have, by developing a relationship with the media. PR works particularly well alongside advertising campaigns for example to reinforce the messages in a softer way. By placing PR in highly regarded publications, your advertising messages will be seen as more credible as they will be endorsed by a 3rd party, simply by featuring in that publication.
For those of you who are a B2B organisation, it is essential not to forget the value of trade magazines which can allow you to be very specific in conveying information to your target audience. They can be used to help introduce new products and announce company news. Developing a good relationship with editors will be crucial as there may be relevant topics that your organisation could contribute an article to, where you can provide background information or offer an opinion. All of these things will help you develop a stronger presence in your marketplace.
Online PR is opening up exciting new communication methods which can be used to develop your online as well as offline presence. Organisations can distribute press releases online and store them on their own website, with media kits designed to give the media access to the key information they need. With social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter you can really engage with your customers and prospective customers, which will help to develop long lasting relationships. Other tools such as blogs and online forums can give you an interesting insight into the thoughts and opinions of people who use your products or services.
It is important to keep in mind that PR is one of the most cost effective and powerful tools for building brand awareness. There are many PR activities out there which can be used to achieve different objectives, but regardless of what type of organisation you are, PR can bring value to your business. It can be a vital way of building and managing your reputation but will only be successful if treated as a long term and ongoing component of your marketing.