Four Commonly Misunderstood Facts about Public Relations
Some aspects of the public relations profession generate a lot of discussion and debate among PR professionals, the press, and even the general public.
From ethically working with the press to the proper way to capitalize business titles (I advocate for proper Associated Press style), there is always plenty to discuss in this business.
There are, however, some common misperceptions about PR. Below are my perspectives on four of them.
Fact #1: PR Can Drives Sales
It’s simple: members of the right target audience have to be aware of you in order to purchase your product, support your cause or invest in your startup.
PR’s role is to get your brand message in front of your audiences to positively influence their perception and, ultimately, their behavior.
Measuring the impact of public relations campaigns isn’t easy, though, and it requires setting clear goals on the front end.
It’s hard work that requires an understanding of business objectives and a willingness to apply creativity to meet those goals.
Fact#2: PR is a Force Multiplier
A force multiplier, in broad terms, is a tool that when applied to an existing effort, dramatically increase the impact of that effort.
As a business owner, you know must have a continual pipeline of prospective customers to keep your business afloat. Everything you do from a marketing perspective is geared to that end.
When applied consistently and appropriately, public relations can force multiply all of your marketing efforts.
For example, if you develop a unique in-booth activity for your biggest industry tradeshow, tell your story to key members of the media who will cover the show.
Invite them to visit the booth and speak with key company leaders from the show floor, creating a sense of intimacy. The resulting coverage can be re-purposed through various marketing channels indefinitely.
Bottom line, your friendly PR professional will uncover opportunities to amplify your marketing activities to create public relations gold that may not be on your radar.
Fact #3: There’s More to PR than Issuing Press Releases
Effective PR is so much more than hitting a monthly press release quota. In fact, releasing non-newsworthy “news” too frequently is damaging to your brand.
A PR professional will identify the right mix of owned media and earned media platforms on which to tell your story.
Case studies, bylined articles, webinars and word-of-mouth campaigns also are valuable content marketing tools to share directly with your audiences and potentially with the press to increase awareness.
Awards, strategic partnerships, sales milestones and other seemingly common occurrences are PR opportunities that often go unexploited.
Fact #4: Measurement and ROI Matter in PR
I’ll keep this one short: Everything you spend your marketing dollars on should be measured. Every single thing. Public relations strategy should be built with measurement in mind.
This is not to say that every type of PR activity has industry standard measurement criteria – because they don’t.
In fact, measurement is one of those topics of industry debate I mentioned.
My point here, again, is that credible public relations professionals value measurement and work with their clients to determine the most appropriate measures for their PR initiatives.