For many businesses, hiring a PR consultancy can seem like a totally alien concept.
Often billed as a 'dark art’, public relations really could do with its own PR campaign, explaining what PR is, how it can help and why every organisation should have their own PR strategy.
Here are some of the most common questions I am asked, and hopefully the answers that will help to clarify a few things.
What will a PR consultancy actually do for me?
PR consultancies can help in a variety of ways; each of these are about helping to tell the right story to the right people.
That might be writing articles they then share with media about what is newsworthy at your company. It could be contacting bloggers and introducing them to your brand, or coming up with an online strategy that pinpoints what information you should be sharing on social media, and how. These are just a few examples but before any of them are put in place, a good PR will spend time finding out what your company wants to achieve and then plan out the best way they can help get you there.
What are the benefits?
This could be an endless list but my top three are:
1. Stand out from the crowd. Even before social media, we lived in a crowded marketplace. If you want customers, clients, potential employees to know what you can offer them, you're going to have to stick your head above the parapet and make yourself known. PR can communicate why they should choose you, sending key messages.
2. Reputation building and loyalty. People want to engage with companies and brands they can trust but they need a reason why they should be trusted. A good PR campaign can build that trust by finding creative ways that demonstrate happy customers, innovative concepts or investment in the business that will result in better service.
3. Speak to audiences old and new. This point cannot be underestimated and to me, is at the heart of what PR is all about; communicating to the people you want to engage with. Do you have important news to share? Do you have delicate information that needs carefully explained? Do you want to encourage footfall? Do you need to reposition your brand and embed new company values?
PR is exactly what you need.
Why can't I do it myself?
Experience and expertise. Just as you use any expert service because of their knowledge, such as a dentist or accountant, the same can be said for PR.
A PR consultant has specific industry knowledge and an understanding of the creative process that will marry a communication strategy with your business objectives. They know how to position a story that isn’t just ‘selling’ your business, but that it is of interest to the media.
They also have the contacts that have been developed since their very first day in the job. In my case, that’s over 15 years of building relationships and understanding how I can work with them, to both their and my clients’ benefit.
And of course, this all boils down to time. PR and marketing takes time and often takes a back seat before completely falling off the radar. That won’t happen if you get an expert to do it for you which in turn will give you the time to concentrate on work you are an expert in.
Pic credit: VMA Group