Is your Business in the right stage for Public Relations?
For a lot of businesses around the world, public relations is important. PR is used to:
- create, maintain, protect a businesses’ reputation
- enhance its prestige
- and present a favorable image.
However, the concept of “public relations” itself can be confusing to the uninitiated.
- What is public relations?
- Is it the same as advertising?
- My business is still in the beginning stage, do I need it?
Well in this article, we’re going to address all those and delve into one of the most asked questions we’ve ever gotten from our clients and prospects. That is: Is my business in the right stage for PR?
Public Relations is a communication strategy that leverages on media and storytelling to help build awareness and trust. It is seen as a form of unpaid endorsement by a trusted source. Whether it’s through traditional media, social media or speaking engagements by enhancing the brand’s credibility.
Advertising, on the other hand, while closely related to Public Relations, is more targeted specifically towards generating sales and promoting a product or service.
You pay for an advertisement and you have control over how it looks, how it is presented, as well as the messaging.
The catch? Often, consumers are less trusting when it comes to advertisements since they know that you paid for it, and hence are dictating every single information that’s presented in the copy.
Trust is integral in business and building trust is more effective in telling a story. With more than 500 different brands we have told stories of, it is not just what we do, it is what we’re good at.
Now, having met many business owners throughout our journey – many have asked us this question: Am I at the right stage for PR?
Good PR defines your brand. However most startups and budding SMEs don’t really understand how it can benefit the business. The concern is valid – great PR efforts would still incur extra fees, which does not align with the interest of many business owners.
PR is a key part of the marketing process, and often far more cost-effective than traditional advertising. And yet, many small businesses are still on the fence when it comes to Public Relations and why they need it. To help you decide, read ahead to determine if your business is ready for PR!
How To Determine If You Are At The Right Stage For PR?
PR can help your business achieve your desired objectives. It is important to understand if your business goals are aligned with PR initiatives.
Before getting down to business, let’s see if these goals align with yours.
I want to define my brand
Defining your brand identity and image is extremely important. Without consistency, customers won’t understand or trust what your brand represents. It helps differentiate your brand from other brands in the same industry, especially if you are in a saturated market – F&B, fashion, or tech, for example.
A strong PR campaign creates a recognisable message across multiple media platforms. This is especially important for SMEs and start-ups, which lack the name recognition of larger companies and corporations.
Good copywriting, through a well-written press release and media pitches can land you a feature in the media, whether it’s through interviews with reputable mainstream media, broadcasts (radio and tv stations), or even through blog posts.
An eye-catching headline will help too.
I am ready to scale my business and I need more traffic
Some people say that PR does not equate to conversion. We say, it does – but it also depends on the type of conversion that you are looking at. A coverage in a mainstream news outlet does not always translate to an increase in sales, but it can build credibility for your business.
Creating credibility for your company is a long term investment that builds brand recognition and creates trust. Eventually, it will pay off in increased sales and the long life of your company.
One mistake that we frequently see small businesses make is starting a big PR push before they are ready for the attention. If you aren’t able to meet that demand, you may find yourself losing credibility or disappointing customers.
I want the media to cover my interesting story
Small businesses often wonder if media outlets will be interested in covering them or mentioning their products when big brands are much better known. Many times, though, that lack of previous exposure works in their favor.
Truth is, many media outlets nowadays have special segments or column dedicated to SMEs and start-ups, and in Malaysia for example, the #SupportLokal campaign has been ongoing for quite some time, leading to an increased interest in local brands and businesses.
Here’s an example of the #supportlokal campaign being featured as a story.
With the right positioning and phrasing, coupled with strategic tools and timing, your story could be featured on the media too!
I want my business to be known and validated
Paid advertisements are the way a company represents itself. A PR campaign, on the other hand, creates unpaid, organic contact between a business and its audience to build brand awareness.
A sponsored post on Instagram, for example, is advertising. But when a company sends a blogger a product to use, and the blogger genuinely likes it and posts about it, that is an example of PR.
Being quoted as a source in a newspaper, featured in a magazine or appearing on a talk show are other common forms of PR. Sending press releases regarding company announcements counts too.
Public relations campaigns involve well-thought out PR strategies and processes to strengthen a brand’s media presence and media relations.
I am ready to enhance my online presence
In this world where everyone is digitally connected, PR helps companies to make the most of their online presence. Not only can PR agencies provide today’s organizations with the support and guidance they need to market themselves online, but these companies can also be ready to step in when disaster strikes or something goes wrong with the image you’ve been trying to build.
With the help of social media, press releases, content marketing and connections with promotional sites that publish content, PR companies are able to help their clients to achieve desired things, and overcome the roadblocks that might stop them from getting success. Using PR-activity, the company monitors the interests of consumers, partners, and employees, identifies threats, helps management to resolve various conflicts and quickly establish a dialogue.
Generally, PR is focused on public understanding and public perception. In the situation of the existing fast-growing market, PR is becoming an important part of marketing communications. Public relation influences the performance of marketing as a whole. Hence, for better opportunities and results collaborating with an avant-garde PR agency is more than just essential.
I would like to promote my brand values
In any industry, trust plays a pivotal role in determining whether a business will be successful or hit the ground. Lack of trust can also lead to loss of sales. However, when they hire someone in public relations, those experts can work and increase credibility by improving an organization’s reputation through thought leadership pieces, influencer connections, and networking strategies.
With the help of PR you can send positive messages to your audience who are in line with your brand image. This is where you need to carefully craft an idea that your target audience would resonate with.
And when you finally decide that it’s the right time for PR for you and your business, you have to make sure that you are writing for the media that you are trying to target. Which means, if you are a lifestyle brand trying to get featured on lifestyle, men and women’s interest publications, then your press release needs to reflect that!
The same goes to every other industry under the sun, whether it’s tech, finance, HR, and even social enterprises – each gets covered in different types of media, and written in a specific way. While you cannot really control what the journalists say about your brand and how your award winning story will be written, through a good press release and interview pitches, it serves as a guideline for the media.
I have a big event, announcement or a new product launch coming up
With any brands or businesses, launches are always exciting! And do you know who else would be interested in these kinds of stories? The media!
So if you are launching a new service or a new product and you would like to drive traffic to your website and garner attention from the public, PR is the way to go!
From media product seeding (where we give the media the first look or first try to your products), to a full-fledged media event (ranging from a press conference, a launch event, a media screening event or even an award show or a gala night), you would be able to secure more traffic and interest through a well-thought out PR campaign and a well-written press release and article that is media friendly.
And how do you ensure that your piece is media-friendly and is able to capture the attention of the media publications as well as your target audience?
Below we detail some of the tips and tricks that you can apply to your own writing should you decide to do your own PR.
What are the messages that your client wants to communicate through the announcement?
How best to explain and connect the write-up or the announcement with your brand messaging?
Have you done a framework of what information should go in which order? You can apply the inverted pyramid writing framework. Essentially, you write about important information to be presented first, only then you add on the details. The inverted pyramid writing framework is different from academic writing styles.
Is your story going to cover the whole event? Or do you want to send a teaser to the media? Perhaps you want an introduction of your company in a relevant news section?
How else do you think you could position the information in a more positive or impactful manner?
Is it authentic? Distinctive?
I have budget for PR
Large businesses often employ a dedicated PR team or hire an external PR agency to create an extended campaign. But small businesses can create effective PR even without a large budget. We have our 8-steps checklist which would be helpful in your first foray into PR – but if you would like to get a customised campaign with strategies and tools that are optimised for your brand, we at Elliot & Co are the experts, and we’d be happy to create a plan that works best for you and your business!
At Elliot & Co, we have helped more than 500 businesses get featured in the media across Singapore and Malaysia like Straits Times, Channel News Asia, The Star, New Straits Times, The Edge, Berita Harian, and more.
At the end of the day, you decide whether or not you’re ready to take your business to the next level with PR. Remember that this will not only elevate the credibility of your brand, but also give you more visibility within your target market and audience, giving you the edge that you need over your competitors.
Engaging a PR agency will definitely help you in that you would have a team of professionals to better assist and analyse the best way to move forward with your brand positioning. This will not only allow you to focus on what matters most – growing your business
Still unsure if your business is ready for PR efforts?
At Elliot & Co, we have helped over 500 startups and SMEs in getting their brand featured to prestigious news outlets. Let us better understand your business and see how we can get your inspiring story featured too!