Public Relations or PR is completely different to advertising but each has its place in the marketing strategy. The key difference is the way in which the audience perceives the information presented to them.
For example, when you see a press or TV advertisement you know the ad has been paid for and that the company is trying to sell to you. However, when you read articles written by a third party you’re seeing something that hasn’t been paid for and subsequently view it as either an endorsement or are interested in the opinion it expresses.
It’s not all about stories, but for starters, how can you tell if your company has stories worthy of undertaking a public relations campaign?
Newsworthiness can be a particularly tricky issue for many businesses, after all what might seem like the biggest piece of news your company has to offer, may pale in comparison to what will actually get featured in the press.
As a rule of thumb most editors will look to see if a story covers any number of these seven points:
Timeliness: time is of the essence, no one wants to hear about old news.
Prominence: does it feature a well-known company or person?
Proximity: is your story relevant locally or nationally?
Human interest: Does your story involve or have an impact on people, especially in regard to charities or other good causes.
Impact: does your story have any consequences or significance to the publications readers?
Conflict: Ethical or physical clashes are always evident in the news, whether it be war or a hostile merger.
Uniqueness: does your story feature something never seen or heard of before?
Whether your company has stories that adhere to any of these points or not, we have many tactics to generate news when your business has none. One of the more successful strategies is to develop a corporate social responsibility programme; dedicating time and money to your local community, a charity or other non-profit organisation. If undertaken correctly this provides a strong human interest story and reflects the socially aware ethics of your business.
Care needs to be taken that this is not just developed as a PR stunt but actually has substance and is relevant to your business.
Every organisation has a message to deliver and an audience to reach and time after time public relations has proven to be an effective way to do this. Image and reputation remains paramount to any business and for this reason PR should be an essential part of any company’s marketing plan.
As you sit and read about the success of another ‘specialist’ entering the marketplace or your competitor commenting on the latest industry news, do you question why it’s not you making the news?