Public Relations (PR) encompass a lot more than just press releases. The goal of public relations is to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders of a certain point of view about the company, its management and its products. This marketing specialty, like all others, has had to shift its methods and techniques to take advantage of the public being on the Internet.
Businesses of all sizes should use public relations techniques to help grow their business. The following highlights many of the aspects of public relations you should consider as part of your marketing plan.
The Traditional Press Release
Press releases, if done properly, can increase the awareness of your business within the marketplace and drive more customers to your business. Thousands of press releases are issued every day from companies and your press release could easily be lost in this stampede if you’re not careful.
The primary goal of a press release is to get an authoritative journalist or industry expert to write about the company, and influence their followers about the company and its products. A journalist will seldom write about a press release after it’s been issued. So a couple weeks prior to the issue date of the press release, public relations specialists contact their Rolodex of top editors and industry analysts and offer a briefing of the press release (under nondisclosure, with the journalist promising to keep the information confidential until the press release is officially released).
The journalist briefing could consist of a draft of the press release and a press kit containing relevant background information on the company and products. It could also include a personal briefing by the executive of the company with Q&A.
A few days prior to the issue of the press release, a draft copy of the press release and press kit are additionally sent to a secondary set of editors and industry analysts.
Finally at a preset time and date, the press release is formally distributed to a public relations distribution organization like Business Wire and PR Newswire.
It’s Really about Influence
The key measure of success for a press release is how many articles were written about the company, how many analysts wrote about the company, and how many news outlets published information about the press release. If industry experts and influential industry news outlets have written positively about you, then their followers will probably contact your company and hopefully become customers.
In the short term, you should be able to measure a modest increase of traffic to your website and a small increase in revenue.
In the medium term, the articles from industry experts during the press release process can improve your prospect to customer conversion rate. If your sales force is promoting these articles, and you are leveraging them in newsletters and on your website and via social networking, prospects will be more likely to do business with you. (On the other hand, if an industry expert or news outlet wrote a negative article or review about you, you may have to engage in some serious damage control: This is where a great public relations agency can shine.)
The “Virtual” Press Release
With the Internet, press releases have evolved to also become an important ingredient in search engine optimization. Smaller PR distribution companies have sprouted up in the past few years to specifically distribute your press release to blogs and news sites on the Internet. The distribution price is significantly lower than traditional public relations distribution organizations because the distribution is more narrowly focused.
The key measure of success for a ”virtual” press release is a number of backlinks generated to your website. The more backlinks to your website, the higher your website will rank in search engines.
Press release writing and distribution can be outsourced to a public relations specialist.
You Want An Ongoing Drum Beat of Publicity
A good public relations agency would continually be looking for new press releases and product announcements to give industry experts and news outlets for them to write about the company.
They would leverage your attendance at trade shows and conferences by arranging face-to-face briefing sessions with analysts and journalists at the same conference. Today, social networking and videoconferencing is helping to accomplish this in between major tradeshow events.
They would also try to arrange speaking engagements for you at the conference.
A public relations agency would be looking for industry awards and competitions that you could compete in, and hopefully win.
At your next conference or tradeshow, look for speaking engagements and opportunities to meet with journalists and analysts.
Share Your Expertise – Be A Thought Leader
In addition to fully leveraging any speaking engagements at conferences, look for opportunities to speak at professional organizations, networking events and seminars. Showcase your expertise through writing articles for news sites and blogs, creating videos for YouTube and participating in social networking. Much of this can be ghost written/produced by outsourced marketing specialists.
Public relations is all about getting unpaid, third-party endorsements of your company and products. On Marketing Outfield you can purchase press releases and distribution from independent public relations specialists. You can also purchase expert articles, videos, and social media management to help you become a recognized thought leader in your industry. Whether you’re a small or large business, you’ll squeeze more out of your marketing budget with fixed price marketing services from Marketing Outfield.