A friend-turned-client recently said to me, "I know I need 'PR,' but what exactly does that mean and what does it entail?"
PR is a phrase that becomes synonymous with publicity, or the act of publicizing. While that is certainly part of what a PR professional does, it's not the entire story.
As the name does suggest, public relations is all about relationships: building them with audiences, influencers, reporters, investors, community leaders, and more. This can be executed in a number of ways, from media outreach to blogging, and Instagramming to event planning.
Its inclusivity is why FACTEUR PR has the name it does. Our four main services – public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative – are all tied together with one string: people. And authentically connecting with those people (your target audiences) through those defined channels is the core of our mission, no matter the avenue.
Authenticity versus advertising
That authenticity piece is very important, arguably more now than ever. (Have you watched the news lately?) While coverage isn't always a guarantee with PR, especially immediately, the slow build of awareness grows in tandem with your audience's trust – something that cannot be bought with an advertisement. According to a study conducted by Nielsen, "Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising."
This is not to discredit advertising, and yes, particularly when it comes to social story telling, buying impressions can help get your story to your target audience. But in the case of a lot of small or emerging businesses – and even well established ones! – advertising dollars are limited and arguably better spent building trust through developing and distributing your brand story through owned, shared, and earned media.
Owning and sharing your story
Before social media, websites, blog, online videos, podcasting, etc., traditional media was the primary way of telling and sharing your story with a larger audience. Now, in the age of digital empowerment, brands can not only own that story on their own channels but also develop their target audiences with whom to share their story. This leads into content marketing, which depends on creating content like the types listed above to promote a brand, person, product, or story. Want to see content marketing in action? You're looking at it! I wrote this blog post, which is original content I created for the purpose of helping/educating/inspiring my readers, but also to position me as an expert in this subject. (Notice I'm not telling you I'm an expert, but I'm sharing my expertise.)
By seeing me, the founder of FACTEUR PR, as someone with valuable insight into the world of marketing and public relations, you may decide to continue learning and engaging with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or perhaps even want to work with me directly. (I hope you do!) This content marketing effort cost me nothing but my time. OK, and the price to host my website and blog on the internet. But ultimately it has allowed me to show instead of tell my story a lot more affordably than only through an advertisement.
That story sharing doesn't begin and end with your Instagram following. Media outlets often solicit story ideas via social media, and valuable content created for your owned channels can be pitched to media outlets, often garnering even more exposure for your business. Third-party coverage (provided it's positive!) also builds an important kind of credibility and extends beyond your current audience, customers, and clients, which in turn can boost yours.
Save time and money
Now, while creating and sharing content is usually more affordable than advertising, it doesn't always come for free. But oftentimes we have to spend a little money to make a little money, just as you need to spend time creating content and sharing content. As your business begins growing, you may very well find yourself lacking the time to do it all as you may have when first launching. More resources are dedicated to operations, providing services, creating products, and client relations. The idea of pausing to share all of these amazing developments may seem out of the question. But it's sharing those exciting developments with your audiences, media, and potential audiences that can also feed back into your business and grow it even more. So while dedicated public relations services are often an expense, it must be noted that it's certainly an investment – that returns. As shared in Entrepreneur, "The ROI on PR is off the charts. When you think about all the places your story goes and the impact it has, you simply can’t afford to not invest in the discipline. Because it’s not something that can be hacked and requires tremendous patience to see the payoff, some companies tend to look at PR as an overhead expense. In reality PR should be seen as a profit center. From recruitment to SEO growth and business development, PR can serve as a catalyst that gets your brand in front of the right people as you scale your business."
In summary, paid media is still important (especially when it comes to amplifying your efforts via digital), but promoting your business through owned, shared, and earned media is going to offer you the opportunity to 1.) show, not just tell, your story, 2.) authentically connect with, engage, and grow your audiences (and ultimately your customer base), and 3.) be more affordable, getting more bang for your buck. However, it can take some patience to see the return on your investment, but that can be said about building a brand or business, as well. The journey and the destination are all a part of your story!
We hope this information is helpful! Sign up for our monthly email below to get more tips and ideas delivered straight to your inbox. And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss how FACTEUR can help you and your business with public relations.