These days, it’s becoming harder and harder for brands to stand out from the crowd. As consumers, we’re used to being able to find what we’re looking for at the click of a Google search, but what makes you click on one link over another?
It might be that you’re clicking on the first available link because it’s top of the search listing, and surely that means it’s the right one. But what if you choose to click on a link a little bit further down the page? Maybe you recognise and trust the name of that website. Or perhaps you’ve heard of that brand somewhere, but you’re not sure why.
That’s the power of PR.
What is public relations in marketing?
When it comes to marketing, Public Relations (PR) wields its influence across various platforms to shape perceptions, fortify brand reputation, and ultimately contribute to sales. For businesses navigating the competitive landscape, understanding the pivotal role of PR within the marketing mix is essential to harness its potential and maximise its impact.
As a PR expert in Suffolk, we’ve spent years working with businesses across a variety of sectors, helping them to shout about their stories. Allowing companies like yours to reach new customers and enhance your reputation – whether it’s through traditional outlets or blogs, news outlets or social media.
You may think that PR is about spin, stunts, or even media relations.
But the truth is that PR is far more widespread.
Rather than PR being part of the marketing mix, perhaps marketing is actually part of the PR mix.
What do you mean? Surely, PR is just one part of marketing
You might think that this is a controversial opinion, but if we think laterally, PR is all about serving as the bridge between an organisation (you) and your target audience.
PR plays a strategic role in your entire communications strategy. It seamlessly manages communication, cultivates relationships (between you and your stakeholders), and shapes public perception.
In the broader spectrum of the marketing mix, PR operates in tandem with other elements such as advertising, branding, digital marketing, and SEO. But ultimately, your marketing foundations rely on the elements that lead us back to PR – building credibility, trust, and rapport.
Why is PR an essential part of your marketing mix?
We want to see more public relations in marketing plans, not because it’s about seeking media attention but because if you’ve got a great product or service and no one knows about it, then ultimately, you have nothing.
Your business needs to tell people about what you do and why you’re great. You want to shout about your achievements and convince your stakeholders that they want to use your services.
And to do this, you need to use PR tactics. Once you’ve established a credible voice and a steadfast reputation, your wider marketing activities will flourish.
PR is all about reputation.
Everything you do comes back to what your customers think and say about you.
Your reputation is what encourages someone to click on your Google link. It entices people to enter your website. Your reputation is what leads you to be memorable, so when a customer thinks of a specific product, your name comes up first in their mind.
One of the significant values that PR brings to the marketing mix is its ability to fortify and shape your brand reputation.
This can be managed in a myriad of ways, including:
- Media Relations
- Community Engagement
- Influencer Collaborations
- Crisis Management
But if you’re looking to add public relations in marketing plans, where do you start?
We believe that it’s about knowing how to craft a narrative that resonates with your audience. Telling a story that accurately reflects who you are and what you’re good at. One that shares your company ethos and helps to generate a positive picture of your organisation. Ultimately, you want your PR to position you as a leading authority within your own industry, one that’s leading the way and encouraging others to follow suit.
Once you’ve managed that, you can start to differentiate yourself from your competitors and build a positive perception among your target consumers.
Raising your profile through PR outreach
If you’re searching for an Ipswich PR agency, it’s because you want to raise your personal profile or that of your business.
Through storytelling and strategic communication, we can amplify your brand’s visibility, ensuring that you remain top-of-mind for your target audience.
But how do we do this? Well, there are several tactics that you can use to raise your profile through PR outreach. These include:
- Securing media coverage
- Arranging speaking engagements
- Participating in industry events
- Fostering relationships with key influencers
When handled correctly and strategically, you will not only improve your brand awareness, but you’ll start to change the way that people think about you and your business. With a higher profile, you can begin to attract new customers, partners, and stakeholders, further enhancing your influence and reach.
Can PR directly contribute to increased sales?
The impact of PR on sales is not always as straightforward as a direct marketing campaign. That’s because reputation is a fickle thing – someone might remember you, but it could potentially take months (or even years) to make their way along your sales funnel.
For example, let’s imagine that you’ve been featured in a positive light in a national newspaper or magazine. If your brand mention is in a physical edition, there’s no immediate backlink straight to your website. But what if a customer read the article and then six months later searched online for your product or service? They might find you in the Google listings – perhaps you’re not quite at the top of Page 1 of Google. But they choose to click your link, and not that of your competitors, because they remembered reading about you months before.
In this scenario, would your customer acquisition come from your SEO techniques to have you found in the search rankings? Would it be your UX or CRO campaign that enticed the customer to make their way through your website? Or was it the initial PR outreach that made the customer aware of who you are in the first place?
As you can see, it’s very complex and ultimately, the eventual sale/conversion will come from a mix of each micro-interaction along the way. But the driving force is the credible reputation that you’ve created, giving the customer the confidence that you are the right product/service that they are looking for.
PR can contribute to your sales funnel by generating interest, consideration, and personal preference for your brand. Making the most of positive reviews, editorial features, and endorsements resulting from PR efforts can influence potential customers and nudge them towards the purchasing stage. While it might not directly correlate with immediate sales, the overall impact on your brand perception and credibility will inherently improve your bottom line in the long run.
Public relations in marketing could be crucial to your long-term success
It goes without saying that we think that the role of PR within the marketing mix is indispensable.
After all, as a PR agency in Suffolk, we spend most of our time working with clients to help them improve their reputations through the use of PR. Even your wider content marketing activities, such as blog posts and landing pages, come back to the concept of PR, which is credibility, trustworthiness and expert authority.
Right now, Google’s September 2023 core update continues to focus on finding authoritative websites that demonstrate high levels of content written or reviewed by experts or enthusiasts knowledgeable about the topic.
So, with that in mind, now really is the time to prioritise public relations in marketing plans.