It may be hard to believe, but public relations still boasts the same power it did when P.T. Barnum was employing its methods to draw crowds to the circus in the 19th century.
That’s because whether you’re looking to reach many or a key few, public relations provides a multifaceted approach that earns conversation and media coverage rather than paying for it.
And the power of that simply can’t be denied in a world where only 33% of consumers are said to fully trust brand advertising.
So we sat down with Tracy Fellin, our strategist and head of PR, to talk about five reasons having a public relations expert on your team is important for all types of businesses.
1. Public relations professionals have expertise in many areas.
When people talk about public relations, they inevitably think of press releases. However, a true
expert handles a number of different tasks, including:
- Creating and managing special events
- Conducting market research
- Expanding your company’s contacts
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Developing content for a company blog
- Speech writing
- Managing promotions
- Handling negative customer feedback
Public relations pros also know how to combine all of these elements to create a holistic image of a company. This allows businesses to establish a powerful brand identity, regardless of the medium.
2. Public relations experts can turn a crisis into an opportunity.
Crisis management may not seem like a need, particularly if you’re a small business.
However, when a negative video about your product or service goes viral, or you receive an influx of negative reviews, an expert in crisis management helps your company respond appropriately and grow from the overall experience.
Take, for example, Crock-Pot’s response to an emotional “This Is Us” episode that showed a slow cooker malfunctioning, causing a devastating fire that led to the loss of a beloved character, Jack.
By the next day, hundreds of news articles had been posted about slow cookers. And fans had taken to social media to blame Crock-Pot for killing Jack, as well as expressing concerns about the safety of their own slow-cookers.
That’s when Crock-Pot’s public relations experts stepped in.
They joined Twitter — where 85 percent of the conversation was occurring — with the handle @crockpotcares. They actively reached out to people talking about the episode and Crock-Pot, expressing their own sadness over Jack’s death as well as their commitment to safety.
The team then went a step farther. Crock-Pot developed a video with Milo Ventimiglia, the actor who portrays Jack. In it, “Jack” says we sometimes need to forgive others, and that no difference is too big to overcome. He then takes a scoop of chili from a Crock-Pot.
Milo knows the truth. It’s time we
all get along – #CrockPotIsInnocent. pic.twitter.com/PpP8U37EIM
Crock-Pot® Brand (@CrockPotCares)
February 3, 2018
You can watch here:
As you can see, the video performed extremely well. And a brand that could have been harmed by negative conversation instead was able to clear its name and enjoy some well-deserved time in the spotlight.
3. Public relations experts are needed because they understand how to work with the media.
Anyone can mass email a press release or pitch, but PR pros know how to get it published online and offline.
That’s because they craft each pitch to fit within the overlap between reader interest and their client’s goals.
This allows the content they share to stick out in today’s world, where journalists receive hundreds of emails every day.
How do they do it
Public relations experts start each project by evaluating how a company’s release or event can:
- Offer a new or unusual story
- Share a unique human-interest element
- Provide insight into a current discussion
On top of that, they build solid relationships with journalists, which allows them to better tailor their pitches to different individuals, as well as positioning the PR pro as a resource for the journalist.
Each part of this approach works together to persuade reporters to run their client’s releases, show up to their events and share their videos.
4. Public relations pros are storytellers at heart.
And, according to entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.”
As content marketing continues to dominate the advertising marketplace, companies must step up their game to be heard through the noise. The one thing that still stops people in their tracks is a masterful story.
Consider this commercial from JetBlue that navigates a common concern. Mothers are worried about their babies crying on planes; fellow passengers are worried about being next to a crying baby all flight long.
See video here
The storytellers behind this commercial found a way to uniquely approach this issue by focusing first on the “offender” to awaken the viewer’s sympathy.
Only a gifted storyteller can find that type of angle, telling the story in a new way so a customer wants to watch the whole ad or read the whole story.
Public relation experts have experience in doing just that for clients in all types of industries. Storytelling as at the heart of their job.
5. Public relations meets goals traditional advertising cannot.
Traditional advertising has many benefits. But increasing customer trust is not typically one of them.
This is where a PR expert can help.
By cultivating connections with journalists and community members, they can find just the right time to share a press release, hold an event, or pass along insights from their client’s CEO about a current event.
Over time, their clients receive more and more independent verification through published press releases and media coverage, which can lead to increased trust with customers.
Earned media can’t be blocked
In 2019, about 26 percent of internet users were blocking advertising on their connected devices.
So one of the biggest goals public relations fulfills is providing content to newspapers and social media that can’t be ignored or blocked the way pre-roll YouTube or banner ads can.
Think about the amount of money you invest in advertising. If one-quarter of individuals aren’t even seeing your ads, you’re missing out on reaching a huge portion of your audience. That’s where earned media can step in.
Search engine optimization benefits
In a study of 27,000 search queries, having outside links coming to your website was shown to have a strong correlation to rankings in search results.
This means that earned media from a quality website, like a new publication, could provide a boost of visibility to your website.
And this can allow your business to show up higher in search results the next time someone searches for your company’s product or service.
The Power of PR
Public relations continues to operate with power in today’s marketplace.
No matter what the size of your business, you can reap benefits from working with an expert in the field and allowing them to position your business for success.
Wondering what a PR pro could do for you? Contact us today.