How to use PR in marketing and sales
PR. ROI. WTF?
In our last blog post, we examined what makes a successful PR campaign. We also looked at how public relations links to other comms activities like marketing, advertising, and social media.
In our eyes, all comms activity is intrinsically linked. PR is one of the most valuable assets to a brand development strategy. When we speak about “PR” we are referring to high-profile, international media outlets reporting on business, tech and trade industries. In today’s digital-age, this validation is gold-dust when aligned with your social, marketing and sales initiatives.
Marketing refers to any activity that strives to persuade customers to buy your products or services. Of course, you can’t persuade someone to pay for your work if they don’t know who you are in the first place. PR helps justify your reputation as an authority by placing you in the public gaze. It’s all well and good promoting your skills and expertise on your website. But having someone else extol the virtues of your brand? That’s invaluable – especially when you consider the influence held by the media.
Customers do their research before parting with their hard-earned cash. That included checking out what other people are saying about you. Media coverage obtained through PR is another way customers can research your business and inform their decision.
PR can help with sales calls, too. When you have limited time to capture your listener’s attention, explaining who you are and why you’re calling wastes a big chunk of that time. If you can use PR to raise awareness of your business, you’ve already warmed up your leads a little bit.
Intrigued? You should be. Here are our best practices for using PR coverage in your marketing and sales activity.
Put it on your website
Just like you’d post a positive customer testimonial to your website, you should create web page to host press coverage. As we’ve mentioned before, journalists work to high standards of professional integrity. They will only include a brand in a hard news story if it’s an appropriate fit for the piece.
Inclusion in a news story isn’t an ‘endorsement’ of your brand. Journalists can get in serious trouble for trying to make people buy a particular product or service. However, it does mean that your business is validated, relevant and topical. And if your business can provide a solution to a current problem that’s in the news, that’s even better.
Include it in your creds deck
For those not familiar with industry jargon, a creds deck is a document you send to someone who’s interested in working with you. It explains who you are, what you do, and – most important – what you can do for them. You might send a creds deck to a customer, partner, or someone looking to invest in your business.
In all these instances, you’re trying to achieve something specific: you want them to give you some of their money. A savvy business or customer isn’t going to bestow their cash on someone they’ve never heard of. That’s fine, though, because your PR has helped craft you a stellar reputation. Provided, of course, that your target audience actually saw your brilliant feature in TechCrunch….
When it comes to PR, you can’t be subtle about it. Hoping that your prospects spotted your name in a news story is a waste of a golden opportunity. You need to spell it out to them.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of PR coverage is that it’s authentic and genuine. Use it to your advantage!
Share it on social media
When your PR campaign is successful, it can give you loads of impressive content to share on your business’s social media.
One of the most common content types brands share on their social networks is industry news relating to their sector. This is all well and good, and it does help place you as an authority that knows what’s going on in your field. But, if you’re not sharing news coverage about your business, you’re missing a trick.
To paraphrase Chandler Bing, this content could not be any more relevant. Why would you not share it?!
When you share this exciting media coverage, you should be linking to your press coverage page, not the original story. The BBC News website doesn’t need any more traffic – your company website does.
You should also be using social media before you start PR to create an engaged and relevant community to share your coverage with. Don’t just buy followers – work hard to build followers that will read and engage with any PR coverage you post. Sharing content into an empty vacuum certainly isn’t going to help your media coverage convert into sales…
Show it to your clients
Although marketing helps win new business, it also maintains positive relationships with existing clients. Attracting new clients is an expensive and time-consuming process. If you can persuade the ones you already have to stay with you, it can increase your business’s profitability.
PR helps make people think nice things about you – including your existing customers. Use your media coverage to reassure them that they made the right decision by hiring you. Show them the news story where you’re quoted as an industry expert, and they’re sure to feel they’re in safe hands.
As well as posting the coverage on your company website or social media channels, you could also include it in email newsletters, or other updates. Shout it from the rooftops! Just don’t be arrogant about it…
Joining the dots
As you can see, it’s all about integration. PR works best when part of a wider marketing strategy, and marketing always benefits from the added clout and influence PR brings to the party.
Whether you’re a marketing professional, PR, or SEO geek, why not try branching out. You never know how another set of skills can boost the work you do in your own sector. There really is a lot more overlap than you might think.
For more information, and to keep up to date with the Luminous team, follow us on Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.