The Value of Public Relations in 2021
Public relations is an old industry, one that began long before the internet or even television. The first documented public relations agency opened in 1900. Businesses of all kinds have long recognized the value of attracting publicity. It’s changed a bit with time, however clear communications and consistent visibility is still a key ingredient to any business success.
Getting more publicity for your company is an important factor in driving sales. Public relations helps to boost your brand visibility. Repetitive and consistent visibility grows familiarity. When people are familiar with your brand, they begin to trust you and are more likely to try your products and services. The following are some important ways that PR and publicity help you grow your business.
Businesses all need to gain as much publicity and visibility as possible to increase brand recognition.
Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing
Public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing are often used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct if not overlapping fields. Here\’s a brief breakdown of what they are.
- Public Relations — Focuses on building a positive brand image. PR doesn\’t necessarily involve selling a specific product.
- Advertising — Drawing attention to a product, service, or business with targeted offers. Businesses usually have to pay for advertising. Anything that is “pay to play” goes in this category.
- Marketing — The total of all promotional actions taken by an organization. Marketing is currently used broadly in a way that includes advertising, social media and PR.
Certain types of marketing, such as guerilla marketing tactics that use creative actions to draw attention to a brand, are arguably a type of public relations. The main point to understand is that PR is just as important as paid advertising and more overtly promotional marketing tactics.
Public Relations in 2021
The events of 2020 left many businesses reeling. In a world where many industries such as retail and hospitality had to completely rethink their business strategies and marketing, it\’s more important than ever to call attention to your brand in a creative way.
- Emphasize the actions you take to keep your business and products sanitary, event if the pandemic is essential deemed over. People still want to feel safe and that you care. If you interact with the public directly, be sure to communicate your policies on issues such as cleanliness, capacity, changes in systems, etc.
- Today\’s customers value speed and convenience. Practices such as Amazon\’s same-day deliveries have raised the bar for shipping. You may not always be able to match larger companies in every way. However, you can still make efforts to maximize efficiency in areas such as shipping and serving customers.
- It\’s the job of a PR specialist (who, in a small business, can be also be doing social and writing) to communicate the ways that a business is serving its customers. It\’s not enough to simply make improvements, provide better customer service, or improve your shipping policies. You need to make sure everyone knows your business is doing these things. So many businesses get stuck in doing the job, they actually forget to communicate how they do the job, why they do the job, and how important their customers are.
Trust and Brand Recognition
Trust is a critical factor for attracting customers. A study by Edelman found that 81% of consumers only buy from brands they trust. In sales, people buy from people they trust. Part of trust is familiarity. It\’s hard to trust a person, business, or organization you know nothing about. A good part of public relations is making a brand familiar to the target audience. The more you see, the more you recognize, the more you trust – and then, the more you buy.
Publicity and Repetition
An important aspect of publicity is repeating a message. One reason large companies remain so familiar is that they broadcast messages so often. Even the most compelling messages can be quickly forgotten in today\’s fast-paced world if they\’re only seen or heard once. Research indicates that it takes between 7 to 9 impressions for a customer to remember a brand. The following are some of the most effective ways to raise public recognition for your brand.
Display Your Logo
A logo helps to define your business and make it instantly recognizable. Display your logo on your website, social media pages, vehicle branding, and everywhere your brand is mentioned. If you don\’t have a logo or one that fits your brand identity, it\’s time to think about getting one designed. You don\’t necessarily have to pay a lot for a great logo. Nike\’s logo, one of the most recognizable in the world, cost just $35 USD when co-founder Phil Knight commissioned graphic design student Carolyn Davidson back in 1971.
Send Out Press Releases (with news)
Press releases aren\’t only for major brands. You can get valuable attention to your business by creating a press release whenever you have something newsworthy to share. Press releases today are sent online, and you can access the press like never before. The main rule to keep in mind is that press releases should never be promotional in tone. Stick to sharing information, facts, news, and statistics without hype or salesy language.
Manage Online Reviews
Online reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, and others help to frame people\’s impression of your business. 90% of buyers read online reviews when considering a purchase. It is worth your time and attention to focus some energy towards these sites.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews. You can remind them on your website, social media pages, or with a sign if you have a physical business. Make sure your business is listed on sites where customers are likely to leave reviews. This may include Google My Business, your Facebook Page, Yelp, or any industry-specific sites where customers can find you. Often, one sort of customer tends to use one platform. For restaurants, Yelp is essential. For a camp perhaps, Facebook might reign supreme.
Monitor your reviews. Set Google Alerts for your business name and visit review sites frequently to check for new reviews. Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Always reply in a polite, professional manner. You can remarket some of your great reviews on social media and on your website.
Build Your Business with Publicity and Public Relations
\”There\’s no such thing as bad publicity\” is a popular saying. This isn\’t literally true, of course. Some publicity, such as a negative review or news story, is damaging. However, most publicity is not only helpful but essential for getting more customers and sales. You may want to get help with the task and work with a reputable public relations firm. Most smaller businesses can’t handle all of the visibility necessary (social, pr, writing, and review management) in house and often need assistance. No matter how you handle it, use as many strategies as possible to build visibility for your brand. And above all, get in the game and get visible.