Part 2 - 5 More Things Your PR Firm May Not Tell You (But Wishes You Knew)
An investment in public relations is one of the smartest ways to build your brand and reputation. Good PR generates outstanding news coverage, boosts your name and reputation online and helps manage (or avert) a potential communications crisis. The investment is even more valuable when you start the process knowing the no-nonsense realities of working with a professional firm.
Here are some additional points that outline some of the rewards and challenges associated with the PR process:
1. You might be stunting your own PR success by being overly promotional and overly selective … or by not being selective at all.
Many CEOs and business owners believe almost all aspects of their businesses are newsworthy. In some ways, this is a good thing because it shows they believe in what they’re doing, which means PR professionals can have complete buy-in as they try to mold a PR strategy.
Attempting to oversell or overanalyze each element of a business can be off-putting from a public image standpoint. Some companies do this through social media and bombard their followers’ Twitter feeds with posts that a majority of the readership will skim over. PR professionals will work hard to push out the items that will be of interest to the biggest majority or to desired editors. Everything needs to be weighed carefully to create the strongest PR strategy possible, so don’t hold back on an item that can bolster your company’s profile. Smart PR professionals can offer some realism/objectivity that helps steer the process for the best results.
2. Even if it looks expensive at first, good, smart PR pays for itself over and over again.
Did you know that on average, media coverage offers six times the credibility of an advertisement? News media coverage is free. (How much are you paying for advertising?) To be clear, PR isn’t a substitution for advertising. Advertising is important, and don’t discount the benefits of a news article that was generated through the PR firm’s ability to reach out to the media with an impactful story. Most of the time, the media wouldn’t have known about the story – or shared it – had it not been for the carefully crafted news release and the relationships leveraged by the PR firm. The value of earned news impressions can be much larger than paid advertising, reach a more direct audience and last much longer in the audience’s memory.
3. Being honest with your PR firm about your organization’s challenges, even if it seems messy, is critically important to the success of your PR activity.
Honesty is everything in PR. A company that is dishonest with its PR firm can suffer tremendous blows to its public image, especially if something happens that makes the public feel misled. A PR firm is only as good as the information that’s shared from the inside, and if that information is misleading, the results will speak for themselves very clearly. Organizations should be completely honest with their PR teams, which will give them the full visibility needed to deal with a situation should it ever present itself. Smart PR teams have the knowledge and expertise to leverage any challenges and focus on the positives with authenticity, which the public greatly respects. (Don’t exaggerate to impress your PR firm. PR firms need real and measurable numbers, like the number of employees, locations, customers and accurate values for revenues and growth.)
4. PR Professionals have media contacts – good ones. Use them.
One of the strongest aspects of PR is quality media relations. Skilled professionals come with a powerful list of relationships with working media professionals. Those relationships turn into earned media coverage, which is “free” and extremely valuable. PR professionals have an extensive knowledge of what the media is looking for in a story, and they know how to sell it, so to speak, to the media. They can also expertly target the message to editors who are receiving loads of “news” in their inboxes and social media – all the more reason to hire a smart PR firm.
5. PR firms think about more than just publicity – a lot more.
The best PR firms succeed because they think beyond publicity and reach out through other mediums. Most companies will put a person in charge of PR, but in order to effectively get publicity outside of the traditional means, a PR firm is the answer because it will have strategies to promote the company beyond the local news station and paper. These strategies can include incorporating social media for better online reputation management and how to operate most effectively within social media channels to turn negative publicity into a strong and positive communication line with your audience.
Axia Public Relations specializes in national PR and is ready to have an open conversation with you about how to achieve the best results for your investment. We’re straightforward, experienced and ready to serve. Let’s get started!
by Jason Mudd, APR
Jason Mudd, APR, is the CEO of Axia Public Relations and an Emmy-Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway Insurance, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles and Verizon.