It shouldn’t come as a surprise that public relations (PR) is important if you want to build and maintain a positive brand image in the market.
The power of PR is such that it can make or break your business. Positive PR not only helps you attract and acquire new customers but can also help you find investors. At the same time, however, negative PR is a crisis and you need to have all hands on deck to manage it well so that you can protect your brand image.
Regardless of the situation, it’s essential to have a PR strategy in place. Here’s why it matters, and how you can build a successful PR strategy yourself.
Why Does Your Business Need a PR Strategy?
The basic reason your business needs a public relations strategy is that it’ll help give direction to your PR efforts. Without a strategy in place, you’ll be shooting an arrow in the dark. Then, when you manage your PR better (because of your strategy), you’ll benefit from it even further.
Some of the benefits may include:
- Increase brand awareness: When you do PR well, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience. This can greatly improve your brand awareness.
- Strengthen your brand’s overall presence in the market: Doing PR well can help you get brand mentions on multiple platforms. As a result, you’ll be able to grow your overall presence in the market.
- Attract investment opportunities: When you’re able to grow your reach, you’ll be better placed to attract investors for your brand.
- Generate more qualified leads and sales opportunities: Greater reach will also mean that you’ll be able to get more qualified leads for your brand.
- Build trust and credibility: When your brand gets featured across multiple platforms, it also helps build people’s trust in your brand. This significantly impacts your credibility too.
- Attract and recruit talented professionals: No one wants to work for a less than reputable company. Good PR can also help you attract a talented workforce.
5 Simple Steps to Creating a Successful PR Strategy
Building a successful PR strategy takes time and careful planning. You need to diligently follow a step-by-step process to ensure that you’re doing it right.
In this section, I will cover, in detail, the different steps you need to follow to improve public relations and enhance your brand’s image.
So, let’s dive right in.
Step 1: Review Your Brand’s Current Positioning
Before you start developing your public relations strategy, you need to first ascertain where you currently stand when it comes to PR.
For this, you can review your PR activity for the past year. This should give you a detailed snapshot of how you’ve fared.
You can ask questions such as:
- Did we get any attention from the media? If so, how much, and did it impact our business?
- Was the media coverage of our business positive or negative?
- Which publications or websites wrote about our brand?
- How influential are these publications or websites?
- How well did our competitors fare during the same duration?
- What are the search results for our company if we check the results for the past year?
The answers to all these questions should give you a fair idea of where you stand currently. It also shows you how close or far you are from your PR goals if you’ve set any.
Step 2: List Your PR Goals
The next step in creating your public relations strategy is that of defining and listing your PR goals. While many have the misconception that PR is a one-time event, it’s actually a continuous process.
Your company does work for your clients regularly, and good PR can help you not only generate but also sustain brand awareness and trust. So, you need to sit down and decide on the goals that you want to achieve from your PR campaigns.
Try to look for long-term goals such as improving your brand image, boosting brand awareness, or getting more customers. Remember, if you don’t set goals, you’ll never be able to figure out where you need to channelize your efforts to reach them. When you have a set goal, you’ll also be able to measure your progress towards it. As a result, you’ll know where you stand and what needs to be done to achieve your goals.
The exemplary PR goals you might want to set for your brand include:
- Increasing brand awareness,
- Amplifying your reach,
- Building & fostering media relationships,
- Generating consumer demand.
Step 3: Define Your Target Audience
Yet another important step is identifying your target audience. If you haven’t already done so, it’s high time that you figure out who your target audience is.
You should define your target audience based on their demographic factors, locations, and interests (psychographic factors). A well-defined target audience can help you find out whom you want to target. Without knowing this, you won’t know which publications or outlets to approach.
You should also consider segmenting your target audience based on buyer personas. This will help you personalize your message even further.
Step 4: Use a Mix of Different Effective PR Tactics
Once you’ve set your goals and identified your target audience, you need to start leveraging various PR tactics to drive home your message and grow your brand.
Some of the simple tactics that you can leverage are:
Build and Optimize Your Business Website
Your business website is the virtual identity of your business. Without it, you can’t expect to build your brand.
So, if you don’t have a website yet, build a stellar website. You could pay to have it developed or build it yourself from scratch using platforms like WordPress and Squarespace.
But, building a website isn’t enough. You also need to optimize it well for your visitors and the search engines. After all, you need to ensure that your website delivers a great browsing experience and gets indexed quickly too.
One of the best PR strategy examples is that of Apple. They’ve developed a special landing page on their website to showcase the work they’re doing for the environment. Additionally, they share a progress report yearly.
If you’re serious about PR, you might also want to create and optimize an online newsroom for your brand. It’s a perfect place for all important information about your business that might interest journalists, which can facilitate your PR efforts in the long run.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is an important part of any PR strategy. With over 3.96 billion users, more than half of the world’s population uses social media. If you aren’t leveraging it well, you’re likely missing out on a huge chunk of your audience.
And that’s not all…
If your brand doesn’t maintain a powerful social media presence, people may not trust it as much too.
So make sure you’re present on all the major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—depending on where your target audience is. Also, be sure to post content on social media regularly to engage your audience. Also, you can pair your retargeting ads campaign with LinkedIn for social selling of your products and services.
Partner with Influencers
When you’re using social media to reach your audience, it’s also helpful to partner with the best influencers in your niche. These social media personalities can help you reach a wider audience with ease. At the same time, they can enhance your credibility as they’re viewed as authority figures by their audiences.
Guest Post on Authoritative Websites in Your Niche
Guest posting is an indispensable part of any PR strategy. It helps you establish your brand as an authority in your niche. When you publish high-quality, helpful content on authoritative websites in your niche, people will start looking at your brand as a valuable source of information. This, in turn, helps develop your brand trust and credibility.
Let Your Employees Be Your Brand Advocates
Employees are influencers in their circles. You should leverage their influence as a part of your PR strategy too.
Your PR strategy should outline how you’ll work with your employees to improve your company PR and grow your reach. Let your employees be your brand advocates. Share content about your brand with them and train them on how they can promote your brand among their circles.
Track and Measure the Results of Your PR Campaigns
Finally, the last part of any powerful PR strategy is that of tracking and measuring your results. After all, without following the results of your PR campaigns, you won’t know where you stand.
But here’s the real deal…
By tracking and measuring the results of your PR campaigns, you’ll be able to ascertain what changes need to be made to your campaigns to improve your results.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Brand’s Positioning with a Simple PR Strategy?
PR is an important part of any brand’s growth strategy. Without a solid PR strategy in place, it can be difficult to do it well.
To create your PR strategy, you need to first figure out where you currently stand. Then you need to list your PR goals and define your target audience. Once that’s done, you can leverage various PR tactics like building your website, maintaining your social media presence, partnering with influencers, and guest posting to grow your brand.
Lastly, you should track and measure the results of your PR strategy so that you can further optimize it for better results.
About the author: Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
Cover photo by Jeshoots on Unsplash