The value of a sound public relations strategy is absolutely critical to modern day business. Delivering the right messages at the right time to get to the right audiences can enhance your reputation, deliver qualified sales leads and even improve company value. Randomly sending out press releases and hoping for the best is as relevant today as red braces, big hair and leg warmers – you need a PR strategy.
A recent survey of more than 150 energy industry professionals by the Energy Leadership Platform – the world’s first energy PR think tank – found strategic planning was third behind industry knowledge and writing ability as the most important skills for PR practitioners cited by respondents.
“While traditional media relations – and increasingly social media relations – have value as tactics, it is the wider business skills of industry knowledge, strategic planning, problem solving, emotional intelligence and business acumen that are valued most,” the ELP’s survey report states.
Here are five reasons why your business needs a PR strategy.
Gain message clarity
A well thought out public relations strategy delivers clarity on your company’s key messages and brand identity. It should dovetail completely with your wider business strategy. Key messages are the underlying points you want to land with your target audience so they become familiar with you, favourable towards you and want to engage with you positively.
Although there are a variety of tactics and channels for amplifying key messages, the best PR agencies will help you develop messaging that works across all of your PR and digital marketing efforts.
Once you have determined your target audience and your key messages you can think about the most effective ways to reach the right people. Media relations is a traditional but still popular PR tactic. If this is relevant to you, you should know which publications and journalists you need to contact. The relevant publications are the ones that your target audience reads. This will help you to achieve positive media coverage in the most appropriate publications.
Your tech team has developed a new product that will benefit the sector you operate in. You have a strong vision about how your company is going to improve things. The problem is, no one knows your company and, as a result, you struggle to gain interest in what you have to say. Use your PR strategy to build credibility as well as positive awareness. PR has the potential to position you and your team as experts with interesting opinions and your company as an industry disruptor that’s worth keeping an eye on. Winning industry awards will provide third party endorsement of your company, products and people.
Generate business leads
Effective public relations can improve business outcomes by generating new leads. Uploading engaging and thought-provoking content on social media, for example, or linking readers back you a full version of the content on your website, will generate interest in your company and your products. Providing more detailed and targeted content at each stage of the buyer journey will help identify qualified leads to pass on to your sales team. Guest speaking opportunities, presentations to your peers or making the most of networking opportunities will also bring you face to face with potential new clients.
PR campaigns can not only attract new clients, but prospective employees as well. Any PR strategy that establishes your business favourably as a thought leader will inevitably increase your profile among the best and brightest talent. With PR, you can gradually cultivate a reputation as one of your industry’s most respected employers – and you can use your newfound access to talent to accelerate growth.
Cost efficiencies can be an added benefit of PR, especially when it is integrated with other tactics in a digital ecosystem approach. By taking advantage of synergies between earned, owned and paid media, you can achieve greater impact at a lower cost than strategies built around a siloed approach.
Measuring your success in terms of investment and outcomes is critical. If you’re conducting PR activities for your business, your boss will ask how successful they are. But what does success look like? If you don’t have a PR strategy with defined KPIs it will be harder to measure your success and answer this question. A strategy will help you to create measurable data and determine if you achieved your goals.
Think, plan, deliver, measure. No more dashing from pillar to post chasing the next new shiny idea, just because it’s new. No more wasting money on ill-fitting last-minute opportunities just because they’re being offered at a discount. No more confusion over what your company is/should be saying about itself. A PR strategy gives you the foundation to communicating a message in the best possible way. It will also help you to maximise the success of your tactical PR efforts.
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