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    The Importance of PR

    From Arrival, Issue 3, 2020

    I run a specialist public relations consultancy so feel particularly excited about this issue of Arrival. It’s an opportunity to educate on PR and why every organization should take it seriously. 

    Quite frankly, an effective and well-crafted PR strategy is one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. I’ll be bold and say it is probably the most. Think about it. How would you know anything about any brand without PR? Airbnb would not be where it is today without us all knowing the story of the three guys who rented out airbeds during a busy San Francisco convention season. Uber would just be another taxi-type ride-sharing firm without the substantial media coverage.

    "An effective and well-crafted PR strategy is one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. I'll be bold and say it is probably the most." 

    A well-developed PR program equals a brand seeping into the consciousness of its targeted audience. Understanding a company’s relevance and an ability to connect that to the needs of potential customers seemingly happens without knowledge of how. PR isn’t just about media relations and storytelling, it’s about influence and building mutual relationships.

    Most people mistakenly think that ‘PR’ stands for ‘press release’ and that’s the extent of it. Press releases constitute only about 10% of the work we do. Most people can write and distribute a press release. However, it takes skill, a lot of experience, a specific type of creative strategic thinking that connects both detail and the big picture as well as high emotional intelligence and relationship building skills to do PR well. 

    A tech client of Abode PR recently told me over the lockdown that PR was the last cost they would cut. He said they would let go of any other marketing spend rather than stop our work together. He said, “How can we not continue to invest in our reputation?” This decision has paid off. They didn’t need to furlough and are now expanding and hiring.

    A reputation is by definition the widely held belief or impression that others have about your business. It is the unspoken link between marketing and sales which translates into leads and ultimately business wins. It’s also really valuable.

    Another client told me recently that she sees public relations as, “The secret weapon to our success. It’s like having a hidden army getting behind your brand and elevating it seemingly effortlessly.” That’s the thing. It works subtly behind the scenes raising awareness and connecting dots.

    However, developing your reputation and brand through PR takes time and consistent effort. If you just want quick win do PPC. But if you want to build up a substantial presence online, create a sustainable reputation and develop valuable relationships that will help your business to thrive; then it’s worth considering implementing a PR strategy and tactical plan. Once you’ve reached a momentum, results will accumulate and your business will be well on the way to reaching the next level.

    Here are five things to consider in your PR strategy:

    Content is king. Every company, be it hospitality tech, property management or property tech, has a story to tell. Content marketing is the art of using content to expand your business’s audience, strengthen your brand and ultimately drive leads and sales by appealing to other companies. In short, content is everything (when done well). It’s also the backbone of PR.

    Data is also everything. Stories that are anchored by data are evidence-based, easy to digest and very compelling. This is why journalists love them. Backed by data, content has substance and relevance and therefore builds authority and trust. Data storytelling can influence your audience’s behavior, expand their knowledge and support a shift in perspective in powerful ways.

    Develop your thought leadership. According to The Economist Group, after reading compelling thought leadership content, seven in ten executives will consume more from that same source. 76% are influenced in their purchasing decisions, 67% would be willing to advocate for that brand and 83% are influenced in the choice of a potential business partner. Powerful stuff.

    Create a crisis communications plan. During the current climate of uncertainty, the knee jerk reaction is often to keep quiet and batten down the hatches. However, in times of crisis, the best way to maintain business relationships and to reassure your workforce is to communicate and the most important element to this is to be prepared and plan for the unexpected.

    Combine SEO with PR. Many businesses mistakenly think that SEO and PR are separate. This is not the case. Although PR and media relations is primarily involved in reputation, it will elevate your content and online presence in a way that SEO specialists can only dream of. So make sure your PR team know what your keywords and longtail search terms are so they can be woven into the copy and headline.

    In a world addicted to ‘quick fixes’, the power of public relations is often overlooked. However, nothing can raise your company’s profile as effectively and as sustainably as a really strong and realistic PR program.

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