If You Rely on Public Relations As Your Saving Grace, Think Again

One of the biggest misconceptions many people seem to have of public relations is that it is a guaranteed source of revenue. However, this is not the case. In fact, it is more valuable than that. A well-executed PR campaign is actually an investment for the long-term prosperity and success of a business, brand or individual. The only thing that one needs to have is patience.

A few years ago, a client recommended our firm to two friends who were about to introduce a semi-autobiographical, off-Broadway show to theatergoers in New York. The show would be opening in three months, with an indefinite run at the theatre, depending on its success.

Following a very successful meeting, our clear understanding was that they understood that publicity would only be used to build awareness of the show, but would be used in conjunction with other methods of exposure, such as advertising and marketing efforts.

Soon after, we hit the ground running and quickly acquired them a substantial amount of national press exposure, including everything from cover stories in magazines to blurbs to feature articles. But as the premiere of the show drew closer, the client’s expectations started to shift. What first started out as wanting any press, overnight changed to the expectation that we would need to score the show exposure in only top-tier media outlets. And to add, they had terminated their arrangement with their marketing and advertising firm with efforts ceasing before they began. And then the show opened, and the reviews were not kind.

We immediately went to Plan B. We made the recommendation to the client that we should start steering the focus away from reviews back to more feature-oriented press. But they didn’t agree. And shortly thereafter, the seats got emptier and emptier, and within only a couple of weeks, the show was playing to an empty theatre.

That is when we learned that they were clearly no longer on the same page. In fact, they had poured all of their finances, including their own home, into this show. And they were expecting us to fill the seats only with PR efforts. All of the pressure was immediately put solely on the PR firm, with the expectation that we would be in charge of driving ticket sales. And when that didn’t happen, the blame was irresponsibly pointed at us.

Shortly thereafter, we decided to terminate the relationship with them. But in this, we also learned a valuable lesson — one that we are faced with every so often — that all clients come bearing different expectations of publicity services.

Some expect PR to do exactly what it is intended to do, which is to generate awareness; some expect it to change a misguided perception of their product or service; some think it will immediately generate sales; and some think it will cause them to become an overnight celebrity.

There are five things you must bear in mind when thinking about hiring a publicist or a PR firm.

  • First – Even though press coverage produced by Public Relations efforts does generally end up indirectly yielding sales, PR is not meant as a means to do so. Instead, it is primarily intended to only raise awareness of a brand or individual, and to generate industry credibility. Consistency is the key.
  • Second – Do not rely solely on a Public Relations campaign to make your brand succeed. While very valuable, it is not a miracle drug. As with any business, there must be many different factors at work. For example, if you do not have a proper distribution strategy, consumers will have a harder time locating your products, so any press coverage produced will not work to its maximum potential. Also, if you do not implement a full marketing approach, including marketing and advertising efforts, you will limit the impact created by your Public Relations strategy. A true Public Relations campaign needs to work in tandem with all other aspects of the marketing “tree.” This would be similar to trying to drive a car with an engine and no transmission, or trying to ride a bike with only a drivetrain and no steering.
  • Third – Although it is difficult, albeit almost impossible to monetize Public Relations efforts, one of the most widely used methods of determining whether or not you have made your investment back is in measuring the cost of your PR services by the amount of ad equivalency value you have received. For example, if you spend $5,000/per-month to retain a PR firm, and they score you a cover story in a magazine, and the cost to purchase an advertisement of the same size in that publication normally costs $10,000, you have already recouped your investment. Now, think about that in terms of a year. In a year, your PR firm might generate over $1 million in ad equivalency value, when you only had to pay them $60,000. And that’s a conservative estimate.
  • Fourth – Once you commence a Public Relations campaign with your firm, do not consistently change your expectations or goals on them. If you start the campaign with the expectation that you would only like local or regionalized press coverage, don’t up the bar on your publicity team every time that coverage isn’t yielding the results you were originally hoping for. Doing so not only tells your PR firm and the public-at-large that you do not understand your own message, but it also creates a stop/start momentum that can be detrimental to your PR campaign, and your PR firm will constantly need to re-focus its strategy every time.
  • Fifth – Even though you might believe you have the best product on the market, not everyone will agree. Your product or service may be the best thing since sliced bread for one media outlet, and not to another. If you are expecting to get on Oprah or Ellen, but do not have the story to back it up, you may want to scale back your expectations.

Remember, if you start your PR campaign with an open mind and provide clear-cut goals and expectations to your PR firm, you will almost always come out a winner.

Huh? So There’s a Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing?

I like to claim that there is a 21st century version of Hamlet’s famous question to my clients and business associates. And I believe it would be what is the difference between public relations and marketing? Yes, I can hear your sniggers from here. However, a number of scholarly articles find that the line between the two continues to blur with decreasing numbers of specialists in either role. While I agree with the consensus, I feel there are distinct differences between the two that any new or emerging entrepreneur should know about. Let’s have a look at the case presented to us, shall we?

PUBLIC RELATIONS (or PR) is the way you communicate to the public, internal and external stakeholders, investors and sponsors. Breaking it down this could mean that:

Image- building could very well be a synonym for public relations. When you do PR you’re making stories in the media, doing free seminars and developing newsletters.

• Publicity generated from good public relations arguably carries far more credibility than direct marketing. Don’t you believe everything that’s in the media?

• Good public relations take time, planning and some spending money for copywriters and consultants.

• Public relations serve as a management function for business. It is all about anticipating and analysing attitudes towards your business. Those attitudes will affect the plans and direction of where you are heading professionally.

MARKETING is a results-orientated approach to get your target market to buy a product or service from you. So that means it is:

• All about satisfying clients through the creation, distribution and promotion of products and services you offer. Ensure that your product or service is available in the right place at the right time.

• About knowing that you may be subject to laws and regulations when marketing your product or service. Despite the red tape make sure things work for you and be creative about it.

• About determining price and finding the best distribution channels to reach the most amount of clients. This usually involves a bit of research on the competition.

So there you have it in a nutshell. If you are just about to start your own business, you will need both to set up a positive image and a viable selling product or service. My suggestion on a shoestring budget (or shoestring time)would be to start brainstorming news story ideas for at least 15 minutes a day; then for the next 15 minutes write at least three places that could distribute your product or service. Then your next step would be…no surprises here…to sit down with your friendly neighborhood PR consultant or marketing director today to put it into action!

Public Relations Marketing – Success Starts From Here

Advertising plays a significant role in the promotion of the products or business. From the past few decades, the competitiveness in the business filed is growing rapidly. And most of the companies are following these new public relations marketing strategies to survive in this business field. In earlier days, there are so many traditional ways that work with for business to get a positive impact about their products and services. And in most of the times, these promotional ideas are getting good results and sometimes, you need to promote your product in an emotional way towards your clients.

With the advent of all technologies, the world is changing its face and marketing strategies and yet not be overwhelmed. However, some of those businesses are still following old traditional marketing strategies, because of not having much knowledge about new Public relation agencies to promote your business. In most of the times, this public relations marketing is offering your target market, and sometimes they are offering you validation and creditability. With the advent of internet technology, most of the people are interested to do some online business, and also they would like to promote their business or products in an essential way.  For example, if you are interested to promote your business in an emotional way, then there are some well established and experienced web sites are offering some fine public relation marketing strategies for their clients. And also you need to understand that what the services they are offering and how to contact the agencies.

Everyday, we are seeing so many advertisements regarding products and services, but most of them are not reaching up to the mark and one few of those advertisements are getting positive impact on these advertisements. And also sometime we are seeing some fine advertisements and magazine feature stories or interviews on a television will create a positive impact on that product. However, you need to follow some new public relation marketing strategies that will be definitely helpful to the writer and editor. However, most of these agencies are providing some excellent services, and sometimes they need to give reader information where the ad is meant to sell.

This is the main reason that most of the agencies are offering more and more validation and credibility. Most of the people around the world are interested to purchase the products based on an ad or commercial. And also these marketing strategies will definitely help you to create a brand name to your product.