Nadia Hearn, founder of Get-Published, says PR creates trust and credibility for your business as well as awareness so that your sales tactics can be successful. Your prospects are influenced during the sales process in the evaluation phase, before they convert (buy), and this is a very important step in the decision making process.
It is at this point your potential customer will review if you are ‘the expert’, that you are who you say you are and if your business is a valuable source. They will be influenced by your story of how you can help, why you or your business care about them and why you are great at what you offer, as well as stories and proof of how you helped others and what they can expect to gain.
You may have heard that your business needs a great digital footprint. If so, you may wonder what that includes. It simply means that when anyone searches you or your business online, you come up preferably on page one of the search engine. While PR does not do the job of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) it definitely helps with searchability, especially if you are featured in high ranking news pages and websites.
Are your profiles on digital platforms popping up and do they look professional? Are they aligned to who you say you are? Do they provide the right credentials around what you are great at and what you offer? Do they make it easy for others to connect with you?
This also applies to businesses and their brands. Having a good and healthy digital footprint also includes a polished and professional brand visually that is well represented, has a consistent brand voice and message across social media pages, your website/s and all digital marketing materials.
Consistency is crucial when building a credible, trusted and recognised brand that your market feels safe with and knows what to expect from you through your marketing communications.
It is imperative to understand that PR is not going to get your phone ringing nonstop with new business leads. After a radio interview you may see some website visits or get a message or two. However, you most likely won’t see a massive immediate impact.
This is 100% normal – few media interviews will not get you famous or you, or your brand, top of mind awareness. What you do need for your PR strategy to work is consistent exposure in the media for anyone to pay attention, as to them you are not important yet.
Your prospect needs to see, read or hear about you or your business several times – it is proven that they need to see you up to eight times – for it to stick. Will PR work as a standalone marketing strategy? The answer is yes, but only if you have an excellent sales strategy that is currently producing results and your PR can then do its job to support sales in its closing stage.
As explained, PR is not a sales lead generation tactic, so how else will it support you?
Media exposure can support you on overall brand awareness and to stay top of mind. It can also act as an education tool and can tackle difficult misperception challenges in the market.
PR supports the introduction job for you as the business owner or the sales team. Your prospects get to know who the business is and why you have something amazing to sell that can change their business or lives. PR helps answer the question ‘why’ you?
PR also provides prospective customers with comfort since they have heard, read or seen your business on television, which makes the job for sales much easier. It can turn new or cold leads into warm and receptive customer leads, which can be converted easier.
A final point to note is that PR needs to run for a few months at the very least. It is recommended that PR run for no less than three three active months to see some good impact on business objectives. However, ideally it takes six to twelve months to gain great consistent media exposure to your target market and to build trust.
Consistency is the name of the game in marketing and PR. If you have great PR and then suddenly disappear, people will ask whether you are still around. PR will deliver the bonus of extra media placements through organic search ability, complementing your SEO, lead generation and sales strategies.