“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on Public Relations” – Bill Gates.
This is a popular quote in the PR world and it’s easy to see why. It highlights how affordable and how incredibly powerful public relations can be. When done correctly, that is.
So in a digital age where social media is almost as cheap as chips, does this quote still have relevance? We think yes. Perhaps even more so in our digital age. Let me tell you why.
Editorial is scarce and advertising is rife
With the changes to the media landscape, publications downsizing, journalists being responsible for more beats across a variety of publications, the reliance on advertising has risen significantly. Publications need advertising to offset a large portion of their operating costs, which has therefore created more advertising opportunities for brands.
So why on earth is the growth of advertising exciting for PR?
Consumers are savvy – they know what’s advertising and they know what isn’t, and while they may pay attention to an advertisement if it has caught them at the right stage in the funnel, an advertisement won’t make them really stop and read for a few minutes. This means that editorial is the tool demanding more attention in an increasingly ad filled world.
The role of public relations is to get your brand, your service and your name into these editorial pieces in clever ways that help build up brand reputation, increase brand awareness and strengthen your credibility.
‘Pay to play’ isn’t always as cheap as it sounds
We know social media is pay to play, and these platforms have become rather sophisticated in the data they provide and how they target consumers.
Social media is great for the hard sell, quick impulse purchases, but to reach more people, you have to continually spend. It’s a cycle of spending, reaching, spending, reaching, and as soon as you stop spending, or a sneaky change in the algorithm rolls in, it means results and engagement start to dwindle, and suddenly your fool-proof strategy isn’t as effective as it once was.
Public relations on the other hand can be an affordable mechanism to reach a similar number of people. The main difference between the two is public relations is designed for the long-game; it’s to build awareness, create a credible profile, and build up a narrative that is trusted by consumers, whereas social media is designed to foster brand personality, drive website traffic and sales, and can act as an advertising and customer service medium.
The power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing
Anyone in the industry will know that the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing is one of the strongest forms of marketing. But the age-old tactic has fancy new clothes these days and can now come in the form of influencer marketing and PR. Why? Because the journalists and *some* influencers (as much as I hate to say it!) are trusted sources for information. People read their articles, listen to their podcasts, tune in to their radio show, or follow them on Instagram for a reason.
These days genuine PR is an extension of word of mouth marketing – it’s utilising a trusted source to talk about your product or service, thus influencing your audience in a meaningful way. It’s something that standard advertising or above the line social media simply cannot do.
It’s all about touch points
Any of my clients will know that I harp on about touch points – the repetition of your message across a number of different platforms to shape consumer behaviour. Any solid PR approach should be integrated with multiple unique angles in the right publications at the right time – it’s a tailored approach that is designed to create multiple touch points, unique stories, and repeat your message to create cut through, as opposed to a ‘spray and pray’ approach..
If you think you’d benefit from a strategic and integrated PR approach for your brand, please get in touch with us.
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