As we meet with businesses at the many conferences, seminars and networking events Black Sheep PR attends, a common question tends to arise.
“How come our competitors are getting all this media coverage and their online presence is so much more prominent than ours? They are stealing all our customers!”
When we ask how much they have invested in PR to win the custom back, they respond, “We haven’t – PR doesn’t really work!” Hmm, well it’s working for your competitors.
Those competitors are engaging with journalists and bloggers, posting useful, informative and entertaining material on social media, keeping their websites accurate and up to date, increasing awareness of their brands and building lasting and valuable relationships with their customer base. In other words, they are investing in PR. And in investing in PR, they are investing in the future of their businesses.
It is true that PR doesn’t always work for everyone. It tends to fail when businesses try to do it on the cheap and take a piecemeal approach. It tends to fail when businesses are unclear about their strategic aims, or don’t share them effectively with their PR people. It tends to fail when one person is charged with delivering PR, marketing, digital media and advertising campaigns on behalf of a large organisation. And it tends to fail when PR advisers are not regarded as part of the team, or when it is not integrated with functions such as sales.
Where PR does work is when it is integrated with marketing, digital and other sales and promotional channels. PR works well when it is strategically planned, aligned with the client’s strategic aims and can be measured not just in terms of activity, but also outcomes. PR works well when a business is committed to engaging with its target audiences and building lasting relationships with them. And PR works well when it is recognised as not just an optional extra, but an essential part of a smooth-running and effective business.
So if you are wondering why your competitors are selling more than you, why other brands are better recognised than yours, why rivals are getting acres of media coverage or why your market share is falling, it may well be because those business are investing in their future; investing in PR.
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