Using Public Relations Communications to Position Your Organization for Rapid Growth
Creating and maintaining a polished big company presence for you in the marketplace is the most valuable aspect of public relations. Polish is the result of quality and consistency—high quality communications and a consistent message.
Public relations showcases, maximizes, and builds on the products, services, and customer-facing practices you already have in place through smart strategy and a truly impressive array of tools—that extend far beyond media releases.
Customers and prospects---like yours---who are in the market for complex products & services want to know 2 things before they buy.
1. Is this the most cost-effective solution?
They already know what they need to get done; they just need to know the most cost-effective way to do it.
2. Are you accountable?
Before they commit, customers and prospects need concrete assurance that you’ll back up your promises.
It’s up to public relations to make the facts about your business and what you offer known in a way that encourages clients and prospects to trust you on both of these points.
The 3 Service Qualities PR Clients Value Most
Research shows and experience verifies that the following (in order) are the top 3 qualities that companies want most from their PR consultants:
1. A Good Understanding of their Business
2. High Quality Written Communications
3. Straightforward Billing
There are 3 areas where Smart PR Communications shines. In fact, we believe the quality of our written communications exceeds the largest public relations firms in the Chicago area.
Effective PR Materials
Message and strategy follow-through are two areas where in-house marketing efforts often fail. Even some PR firms fall short in these areas; yet both are crucial for results. The following 6 message and strategy-related items form the base of a focused public relations program:
A Smart PR Plan
A Digital Media Plan
A Messaging Guide
A Crisis Communications Plan
A Digital/Print Media Kit
Media Releases: One of the most valuable skills of a good public relations consultant is knowing how to develop a release that the media will want to publish. Despite the proliferation of more effective options they’re still important. Why? If carefully written, they get the company’s message across at a much lower cost than advertising and if keyword optimized and distributed online they appreciably increase a company website’s search engine rank.
Case Studies: These are versatile and effective B2B marketing tools. A well-written case study stands alone, but also provides source material for other marketing materials.
Articles: Educational articles are hard-working sales tools for complex products and services. They provide basic information, an overview of benefits and concise technical information in an easy to understand format that makes a convincing case. Because of this, they are an excellent leave-behind that continues to sell the prospect long after the sales rep has gone.
White Papers: More technical than articles, white papers are best for highly complex products and services. They educate, while positioning the company as a reliable, established leader in its field. With minor editing, white papers can become trade articles.
Web Copy: It’s easy to rewrite or regularly update your web copy without completely overhauling your site. Ideally your website should always convey everything you do and how well you do it,
Position Papers: If there’s a hot topic in your industry, trade publications look for position papers that lay out a thoughtful, convincing argument. Companies also send position papers to legislators, trade organizations, and newspapers (in the form of a guest editorial). They are a great, underutilized way to get the right kind of publicity.
Brochures/Sell Sheets/ Fliers/ Direct Mail: The brochure is alive and well. A recent survey determined that direct mail still generates 7 percent of all leads.
A Word about the Value of PR
Strategic public relations does create a significant return-on-investment. PR dramatically improves customer and prospect perception (and willingness to do business with you) for a relatively low cost. What follows is a recap of 4 ways that PR creates value.
1. It Increases Visibility
There are many ways that PR increases visibility—from media releases, to promotional events, to creating compelling web copy to enhancing and showcasing everything that is already in place. PR placememts create the impression that you are a player in your market.
2. It Creates and Maintains a Larger Company Presence
Growing companies want to project the image of the company they aspire to be. One of the biggest differences between a small company and a large one is consistency. This is an area where many smaller companies struggle and PR can help. Consistency sends the signal that this company has it together. This attracts the attention of bigger prospects and, for existing customers, creates the confidence to place bigger orders. Consistency, along with professional-quality written communications will take your company to the next level.
3. It Provides Marketing Support
In an ideal world, PR is only one aspect of marketing strategy. The reality is that with smaller companies, PR consultants perform many crossover marketing activities that extend into branding and advertising.
4. It Provides a Layer of Objectivity
In order to create a layer of objectivity PR is nearly always outsourced. The PR consultant acts as a representative of the company’s public (which includes customers and prospects) and is an invaluable sounding board.
So What Can You Expect Public Relations To Do For Your Business?
Depending on your goals and the focus of the strategy, PR will:
ther your organization’s policies and goals
Uncover prospects and convince them to buy
Provide accurate feedback on your products/services
Increase search engine rank
Increase your overall visibility
Support a product launch or marketing effort
Reposition a mature product
Position your company as a leader
Strengthen your brand and your relationship with clients
Increase positive perceptions and decrease negative ones