Before you launch a public relations campaign, consider your expectations of its role in increasing awareness – and possibly sales – for your business. “What are your goals for a PR program, and what do you regard as success? PR offers potential in several areas, but you have to manage your expectations,” says David Brimm, president BrimmComm, Inc., a full- service public relations and marketing communications firm. www.brimmcomm.com
So, before jumping into SEO and keywords, which are important, consider your business goals and the ever-evolving PR world.
Your Brand and Your Message
Start by establishing your brand and message. “What does your business or nonprofit stand for, or what do your consumers, clients and other “publics” trust you for?” Create messages that reflect your brand concept and what you want them to remember. “This is what public relations is basically about – increasing awareness, clarifying perceptions and tracking messages and their impact,” David adds. “Everything you do is branding, so what will you do to support your brand?”
PR can be very effective in raising your awareness by developing newsworthy stories and identifying appropriate media to convey your message. “But PR is not advertising, and you cannot control the content and result in the same way that you can with advertising. PR does, however, complement advertising and is very effective in an integrated marketing communications plan. The advantage of PR is that since it appears on the editorial side, it carries an implied endorsement and added credibility.”
Brand Your Website
“Your website introduces your brand, and it’s a first impression visitors get. Never create a website until you think about the messages you are trying to convey, and then design a site that complements these messages,” suggests David. This is where you want to introduce your services and staff, sell products or services on the site, present news, share videos, feature case studies. “Your public relations image will start on your site, reinforcing your brand and creating outreach opportunities.”
Social and Traditional Media
Some people are confused about the term “social media,” but what it does is extend your messaging in a more personal way, with a greater reach than newspapers and magazines.
“Because social media is so interactive, leading to dialog with your customers or clients, it’s really about building relationships. But the flip side is that it provides a forum for customers unhappy about your organization to complain, so monitor the Internet so you can get an early warning and immediately head off potential problems,” David adds.
Features in traditional media – newspapers, radio or TV – offer unique credibility and longevity when presenting new news. Articles, videos or radio interviews, linked to social media, increase awareness. But then, David reminds us, “What are the results of those ‘likes’ and Google searches? Do you have a social media and PR strategy or just hoping to flood the Internet?”
“Your bottom line and public relations goal is to establish relationships with customers.