PR is NOT a lot of things. That’s an odd start to a blog post isn’t it? We should probably rewind at this point and say that many people get confused about what PR actually is. And sometimes, it’s easier to explain what it is, by first telling you, what it is not.
PR is not advertising
By that we mean it’s secured at no cost – other than your own time and energy or the cost of your PR agency. You don’t pay for the space in which your story or your copy sits. Why is that important? Because, as savvy modern consumers, we understand when we are being sold to. And we don’t always like it. We know that if a company runs an advert, they can pretty much say whatever they want: how great their product or service is, how much it will change your life, how you much you NEED it! And, as such, we tend to take all that with a pinch of salt. We don’t 100% believe it really, do we?
PR is not sales
The aim of a press release, a mention, an interview or a PR placement of any kind, is not to make a direct sale. It’s to raise awareness and build trust in your brand, your product or service or even in you as the business owner. A story littered with sales messages turns us off very quickly because it feels contrived and self-serving. And journalists know that – which is why you won’t see many, if any, in their publications. Try to sneak a salesy PR through a reporter, journo or editor and you’ll probably find yourself being directed to… you guessed it: the advertising department (see above).
PR is not guaranteed
There’s no way to guarantee that your story or idea will be picked up – if there was then you’d find the #TeamRev office very swiftly relocated to the Bahamas. Breaking news, media appointments, editor resignations and even freak weather events can all mean that your story, primed and ready to hit the pages or airwaves, gets bumped to next week or even dropped altogether. That’s PR, darling.
The power of PR
Now for the best bit. You see, all of the things that PR is NOT, makes what it is, so very powerful. The bottom line is, people need to know about you before they will buy from you. But not just know that you exist – that’s too easy. Today’s media landscape includes fake news, with targeted ads and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram which have morphed into some of the largest sales platforms in the world. So, it’s understandable that people are looking for something more before they buy. They need to know that they like you, that they trust you, that you’re an expert at what you do and that your values align with their own. And that’s where PR comes in.
Use PR to back up your sales and marketing messages with third party endorsements, expert-setting activities and real-life peer recommendations. This will improve your conversion efficiency by bringing people to your brand in a more engaged buying mindset. The very best PR creates organic discussions amongst your target audience, reaching people you couldn’t reach through your traditional marketing and sales, through their own, trusted connections.
Basically, people are more likely to view you as the expert, as trustworthy and a good choice, if they hear if from someone that isn’t you.