Every business, no matter its size, depends upon its reputation for success. PR, or public relations, is an important tool that helps professional services firms – and all kinds of businesses – broadcast, share and improve their reputation and image. However, despite the importance of public relations, it’s often overlooked; businesses aren’t always sure how to weave it into their overall marketing mix. Here are some reasons why PR is an absolutely essential tool and why all businesses should prioritize it.
PR is a crucial part of any integrated marketing strategy because it’s a company’s opportunity to create the desired narrative about what their brand is – for customers, prospects and investors alike. Businesses use PR to boost awareness and credibility, establish a voice, and position themselves for the public. This is important because a brand’s public image determines whether its audience and potential customers are aware of it, trust it and like it. A solid PR strategy elevates the brand platform, builds validation, and, when the time comes, makes buying/ hiring an easy choice. In this way, PR helps a business grow.
Unlike paid marketing efforts such as ads, PR uses unpaid communication channels to focus on earned media. Examples of these unpaid, organic channels can include:
PR generates leads – and, ultimately, sales and profits – in the following ways:
1) PR helps foster credibility and trust.
Consumers feel comfortable with established brands. So if a business is able to demonstrate a history of media coverage—say, in broadcasts or in publications via interviews or in providing expert quotes—it is quite valuable. Editorial coverage has more weight than advertising; in fact, many consider it the most effective form of marketing because the vetting is unbiased, as it comes from independent/ third-party sources.
2) PR positions you as a leader and an authority in your field.
Why should someone choose you over a competitor? Well, if you’re seen as an expert in your industry, you’re providing the reason right there. Business differentiation is a crucial part of marketing, and good PR builds up that scaffolding.
3) PR helps you communicate with existing and prospective customers.
One of the benefits of public relations is that it helps build relationships with your key audience. If you know where your audience and prospects “live” (i.e. what they read, what they watch, what social channels they use and how), you can boost your brand by reaching these audiences with targeted PR. For example, you can tailor a message to a specific audience, or foster relationships with the reporters and editors that cover the relevant topics. The goal is that over time, your company should become a go-to source that the media approaches when they want a quote or commentary within your field of expertise. And note that media placements pay dividends; they build upon themselves in that you can link to them anytime you’re doing outreach.
4) PR helps you save money.
PR is one of the most cost-effective types of marketing because it uses media outlets as the messengers to tell your story. This, in turn, reduces the amount you’ll need to devote to your paid advertising budget. WIth PR, you’re doing the work of building trust and credibility – but without the expenditure that comes with paid advertising.
4) Public relations helps your SEO.
SEO is increasingly important in our ever-more online world. Effective PR leads to a good online presence and, ultimately, a higher SEO ranking. As your brand is mentioned more frequently across a wide variety of high authority websites, more people are likely to find and visit your site. This will help your business land towards the top of the search results pages (SERPs), which, over time, will likely lead to an increase in leads, and, ultimately, sales.
One thing that all businesses should do is adjust their online content for search engines. This will increase visibility, which in turn means more eyes on your brand’s messaging.
5) PR helps with crisis management.
At some point or another, even the best businesses will face a situation where crisis management is necessary. It’s wise to have a solid plan in place before it’s needed, as this can limit damage. With a PR strategy at the ready, you’ll be able to expediently craft a response and blast it out when/ if it’s needed, leading to the best outcome possible.
The benefits of public relations for a professional services firm are so substantial that it’s important to think of it as a must-have part of your marketing strategy rather than a nice-to-have. PR isn’t an overnight project, but paying attention to how your business is positioned and perceived by the public will bring leads, sales and, ultimately, profits.
Horowitz Agency is a full-service integrated marketing and public agency with over 15 years of experience in the professional services industry. Our team of public relations specialists value a collaborative relationship with our clients and provide a customized approach to meet your PR needs. If you’d benefit from some support for your firm’s PR tasks, reach out to us and let’s discuss ways we can help.