PR is the most powerful communication tool any business can use. Used correctly, it can build solid reputations, creating familiarity and trust for a brand, delivering increased conversions and retention. PR helps the sales process. Its also what helps take products from a challenger brand to leader.
So why isn’t everyone super-famous?
Well, the main problem with PR, is that, unfortunately, it’s very easy to do it badly. Done correctly, it will build reputations as well as sparking excitement and conversations around your brand. One key tactic for doing this is by generating positive media coverage. By this I don’t mean adverts, I mean convincing journalists and editors at respected, influential media outlets (national press, broadcast and trade press) to write about your business.
Whether your sales process is field-based or remote, I am going to look at five ways which the kind of publicity generated by a PR campaign supports your team and helps convert those prospects into fans.
Help prospects to know you before you meet:
“ah, yes… I’ve heard of you.” isn’t that one of the best things a new prospect can say to you, during that first contact.
Media coverage is one way in which PR can help you build this familiarity. By placing news stories and case studies into carefully selected, trusted and respected media you automatically broadcast your values and achievements to your chosen audience. Increasing awareness of your brand within new or existing markets.
- A study by Nielsen, found that news stories and editorial are 88% more effective at conveying messages than advertising – as this report in Forbes illustrates
Help prospects to trust you:
Imagine two companies, both provide the same service. But company A’s MD was recently quoted in the business section of the Telegraph, where he was introduced as being an expert in his field. The company also had a case study featured in the trade press. Company B haven’t done any of that.
Which one does your instinct tell you is more credible?
- Trust and credibility are more important than ever, and 2018 has seen a HUGE increase in trust for traditional media such as magazines and newspapers (along with their associated websites) – the highest since 2012. While blogs and social media are now the least-trusted media – as illustrated in this 2018 report from Edelman
Generate a buzz around new products and services:
“Oh yeah, I read about that thing you’re doing. Sounds good!” How many times has someone said that to you at a trade show or conference? Don’t you wish they would?
A good PR practitioner will find the right way to turn your new products and services into news stories for the media. Help generate a buzz about your products and services and get people talking about them. This could be ahead of a trade show, a conference or a sales drive. Having made that large investment, you need to get a return.
- 60 to 70 percent of the decision making in B2B sales is made before the decision maker approaches the supplier. A good PR campaign can ensure your messages find the right people.
Sends relevant traffic to your website:
Online media coverage puts readers just a click away from your website. Links can also help boost your site up Google’s rankings.
Online coverage also has the benefit of staying around for a long time, meaning that long after the story has happened, it’s still indexed and online, so people searching for information on your company or your area of specialty will find you featured in a respected publication long after it was first published.
Which is perfect when you think that up to 70% of decision making in a sale, happens before a supplier is even approached.
- This feature from 2009 on eco paint in the Guardian, still drives sales to a client to this very day and has done for nearly ten years. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/09/eco-natural-paints-guide-best
Is a door opener and a conversation piece:
A nice piece of media coverage from a trusted outlet is a great reason to contact prospects and existing clients. And the more relevant the outlet, the better you are going to look. Not everyone gets the chance to be interviewed for the BBC or quoted in a respected trade publication and it brings real credibility with it. So when it happens, an email or social media post sharing the news is seen as a more genuine communication than any number of white papers, or e-book downloads.
- An expert practitioner in PR can help the sales process by identifying news stories from within your business which the media will be interested in. They will then be able to write and pitch the stories in to the media ready for you to share to your networks.