If you’re a business owner or a marketeer, I can almost guarantee you’ve heard the term ‘PR’.
But do you know what it means and the various tools and tactics you can use within your PR strategy?
It’s all very well knowing that PR stands for Public Relations, but we need to go one step further if we’re going to actually do it successfully.
In simple terms, PR is how a business communicates with all of its different people – the media, customers, suppliers, followers, funders etc…
It is about sharing information with your different audiences to build up a positive profile, and to increase the know, like and trust factors, as ultimately this is what leads people to support you and buy from you.
PR is the most important tool for a business when it comes to getting your brand seen and known; building and protecting your reputation.
It used to be associated just with press coverage and years ago this is exactly what PR was almost solely focused on; getting brands featured in the ‘traditional’ press; newspapers, television, radio and magazines.
But as the world has modernised and technology has made us more connected than ever before, there are so many more ways to communicate with your audiences and many of these tools now sit firmly in the PR sphere.
They can include:
– Media relations – liaising with the press
– Social media – sharing with your followers and potential followers
– Blogs – great for sharing news, views and insight
– Enews or regular business magazines – key for communicating with your customers or fans who have signed up to receive your news, offers and more
– Internal comms – Staff & stakeholder newsletters and updates
It’s vital to take advantage of these modern-day PR tools, to attract and cultivate your audiences, nurture them and keep them well informed.
The route to successful PR is to always put your audience first. Everything is about them! Once you get your head around this, the rest is fairly simple.
For example, let’s take the media – what gets featured is never about me or you; it’s about what appeals to that particular media outlet’s audience. This is why it is always better to build individual relationships and send targeted pitches and suggestions to journalists. A one size fits all approach often has limited success. The key is to read, research and make it your job to understand what appeals to your target publications’ audience, that way you’ll be able to tailor what you talk to them about and stand a much better chance of being featured!
Let’s take a real-life example, say you want to feature in Yorkshire Life magazine. Ok, chances are you’ll need to have a connection to Yorkshire in some way. If your product or service is only available to people in the Cotswolds then it’s not going to be right for Yorkshire Life’s readers is it? Quite an extreme example, but you get my drift.
Always think, audience first.
This applies to all your channels – remember different social media channels have different users, tailor your content appropriately. Just like people, one size most certainly does not fit all.
As tempting as it may be to sell, sell, sell across any medium you can, this is a surefire way to create suspicion and switch people off. You need to charm them authentically. Let them get to know you and your business; cultivate connections, not customers. You’ll find the former leads to the latter, and once you have a connection, that’s where the trust comes in.
When done right, PR increases your profile and drives fantastic brand awareness among your target audiences.
It’s said that it takes a potential customer seven touchpoints before they will buy from you. And now we have all the tools to own those seven touchpoints ourselves before we even begin to think about media relations.
The key thing to remember is that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes times but if you invest wisely and follow the number one rule of ‘audience first’, PR is worth its weight in gold.
The impact of good PR pays dividends time and again. Whether you do it yourself, invest in a PR coach or have it done for you, PR is a must for any business looking to step into its next level of success.
What is PR – Rhiannon K Bates
Founder & PR Director, Garnet PR
Based in Yorkshire, Garnet PR specialises in public relations for rural lifestyle & tourism brands across the UK, as well as supporting regional clients in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and further afield. From heritage to hospitality, wildlife to pets; country fashion & products, rural adventures and days out in the UK are at the heart of what we do.
With more than 10 years’ experience working with leading UK visitor attractions, brands and award-winning communications agencies, Garnet PR works closely with businesses to tell their story from the fields to the front pages; driving visitors, raising profiles, delivering results and protecting reputations. Garnet PR also offers PR coaching to help small business owners kickstart their PR.