Heading into 2018, businesses and business owners are more focussed than ever before on generating media traction that can help to make all the difference to their bottom line. The popularity of Public Relations (PR) as a profession has been accelerated by the rapid rise of technology. We’re seeing more people throwing their hats into the PR ring, often without any long-term PR Strategy or forethought as to how being on the media’s radar can impact their business, both positively and negatively.
Any PR professional will tell you this is a recipe for business disaster
PR has the capacity to lift your business to new heights but it can also damage your business’ reputation within a heartbeat. Remember, news travels online fast thanks to the 24/7 news cycle. What this means is that you have to be on the ball and preparation is key.
Left to spiral out of control, it takes just one bad PR move to ruin a business’ reputation beyond repair and ultimately, result in customers losing faith and trust. This then has a flow on effect, impacting sales well into the future. Brand equity can suffer (think of a product recall due to safety or health hazards) and you might find that other organisations don’t want to be associated with your business anymore. A PR nightmare can discredit key decision makers within a company and result in the best talent leaving because they don’t want their career to be tarnished in any way.
As you can see, the consequences are dire. When you invest in the right PR professional for your business, you benefit from having a dedicated professional on-hand to guide you in dealing with even the most difficult of situations. You’re working with someone who cares about your brand just as much as you do and who’s actively building quality relationships with media in your sector to leverage off when the time is right. The best PR professionals build trust and connection with their clients. They celebrate a win with them and are right there with them during the tougher moments.
You need to keep in mind that not all PR is created equal
You read that right.
Why would you send a media release out into the world, or any other form of communication with the intent to generate media, without taking the time to put together a PR Strategy? A Strategy that takes into account your short and long-term goals, as well as the potential impact on your business and brand, factoring in both positive and negative consequences.
Almost every business and every business owner out there wants PR
And it’s easy to see why: it’s free coverage. Coverage that you could otherwise potentially stand to pay thousands of dollars for (if you could even afford it to begin with).
Before you even think about sending out a media release or connecting with a journalist or media outlet, it’s imperative that you consider all possible outcomes of any PR push, particularly if you’re embarking on a DIY approach, meaning you have little experience in the sector and in managing situations that don’t go to plan.
Sure, 9 times out of 10, securing that national media coverage will generate the kind of results that you could once upon a time, only dream of. Even when PR exceeds expectations, it’s important to do ample planning around factors that stand to inhibit your ability to maximise reach.
- Is your website capable of handling all of Australia logging onto it at the same time after a segment airs so that you can capitalise on coverage?
- Have you put resource towards ensuring that all of your public channels (your website, social media channels and so on) are up to date and adequately reflect your personal/brand’s ethics and values?
And for that 1 time out of 10 (we’re estimating here) when things don’t go to plan, it’s important to be prepared. Of course, the consequences here will vary depending largely on the scale of the situation and the industry in question.
- Do you have a list of key talking points the Spokesperson can refer to? This should cover key messages and any tricky questions an interviewee might encounter.
- Does your Spokesperson have experience with the media? Keeping in mind that being interviewed over the phone for a story for print or online is very different to conducting a live-to-air TV or radio interview.
“It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” – Will Rogers
This quote stands the test of time
When done well, PR is a wonderful tool that can help you to expand your business’ credibility and authority as an industry leader. That said, it’s critical that you enter the PR arena with a comprehensive PR Strategy. Not only will this assist you in determining and measuring the success of a campaign and thinking about key goals, it will ensure that you’re prepared for both the best and worse case scenarios.
If you’re a leader who understands the significant return on investment that a tailored PR Strategy and approach can deliver for your business, please feel free to get in touch so we can discuss how together, we can work towards achieving your goals.