For many, the world of PR has a glamourous reputation often by ‘Ab Fab’ association – parties, celebrity appearances, events, press tips and a whole host of freebies to name but a few clichés. But who are we to tell you, everything is not always what it seems. PR plays an important role in brands’ marketing strategies, but PRs – how often do you hear these phrases?
“PR is just another name for marketing, right?”
“So you’re a PA?”
“This is your press release in the newspaper, but your name isn’t at the bottom of the piece?”
“Are you a journalist?”
What is PR really? Here are some common ‘PR myths’ we want to address.
Let’s start with the most commonly used phrase: all publicity is good publicity.
While you may get some exposure for your brand, negative publicity can have a detrimental and long lasting effect on perception, reputation and ultimately sales. The role of a planned, yet flexible, and integrated PR strategy is to ensure relevant good news stories are fed to the right influencers, while being able to react to any crisis situations. Having the resource and expertise to respond in a timely and appropriate manner, with an agreed comms plan, will help to prevent people talking about you for the wrong reasons.
If I speak to a journalist, my story will run tomorrow.
Reality: We wish!
Of course, PR is about generating interesting news stories and great coverage for your brand. But it’s also a long-term process that is all about building relationships with the media.
Journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day, but if you build a great relationship they’re far more likely to open your email over Joe Blogs, who they’ve never met or spoken to before.
Timing is everything. Find out when the deadlines are. Make sure you provide information or pictures well in advance. Don’t ring a journalist for a chat when their publication is about to go to press.
Keeping up to date with them regularly (not just with press releases) is vital. Follow them on Twitter and actually interact with them, check-in to see what they’re working on and try and meet them face-to-face as much as possible. You’ll see far greater results if a journalists or blogger can put a face to a name. Another great way to build relationships, is to actually read their work. They’ll notice a mile off if you’ve never read an article they’ve written. And most importantly when you do get to collaborate, make their lives as easy as possible. Ensure you give them everything they need, – remember they’re on very tight deadlines and have a whole list of other PR’s ready to steal your spot! So ensure you are all ready to go before you even contact them.
Journalists will pick up any story you send them, they’re desperate for content.
Like many jobs, PR is hugely competitive. On average one single national newspaper will receive over 10,000 press releases a DAY. Not forgetting the countless phone calls, media days, and events you have to contend with.
Now more than ever journalists have countless resources to find their news stories, and ANYONE can share a story thanks to social media. This means PR is more competitive than ever! But thanks to social media and everyone moving towards online platforms, there is much more space for content and you’re not fighting for space in tomorrow’s paper that may get subbed for other news stories. Swings and roundabouts!
We won’t lie, ensuring you are seen and heard can be tough. BUT it is all worth it in the end when you get a great piece of coverage, host a successful event or your client gives you the all-important thank you! Hard work yes, but truly satisfying when it all comes together (which it always does).
Mass emails and hounding that national journo is the best way to secure coverage.
Reality: Um, no.
You may tick something off your to-do list by sending your press release to every journalist you could possibly think of, but congratulations – you’ve just become part of the reason why PR’s can get a bad reputation with journalists.
Impersonal, mass, un-tailored emails stick out like a sore thumb. A good PR will invest in getting to know journalists, check their Twitter feeds, ask what they’re writing about, then tailor your content to suit them. A journalist is more likely to take a look at your pitch if you’re approaching them as an individual. And remember, that vegan food writer is NOT going to want that VIP invite to the launch of a new steakhouse.
The longer the press release, the better.
A well-written press release is an excellent tool for communicating your client’s news and key brand messages – when used correctly.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re writing, particularly when there’s plenty to talk about, and a number of spokespeople within the business or a grand brand story to share. Focusing on the detail, and what’s on the media agenda, will resonate best and gain cut through with your target influencers. Instead of focusing on word count, check for an eye-catching headline, facts and figures and a quote accompanied with compelling images.
Quality not quantity is what we’re trying to say.
A PR can’t run my social media campaign.
PR and social media have never been closer and your strategies shouldn’t be kept separate. An integrated, multi-channel PR campaign that covers social media as well as online and print is crucial for targeting the right influencers.
The way consumers interpret brands has changed – 74% of those that like or follow a brand on social media are likely to recommend to a friend, whilst 33% are likely to make a purchase.* Gone are the days where reading an article in print alone would make a customer run to book at table at your restaurant.
Likewise, influencer marketing is also proving more pivotal in resonating with consumers. The skills and expertise PRs can provide in building journalist relationships are transferable to blogger and vlogger outreach. Ensure your brand doesn’t get left behind.
You need a big budget and a big PR firm for it work.
Bigger isn’t always better. Having a team of 50 PRs run your press office may work for international organisations, but what about small businesses with smaller budgets that want a more tailored approach? At elliotts, we firmly believe a dedicated account team that knows the sector and your brand inside-out will generate better results in the long term – we see ourselves as an extension of your team.
What’s more, budgets don’t have to be huge. PR comes in many forms – feature generation, speaking opportunities, interviews and profiling, press releases, events and social media all fall under our umbrella. Whatever your brand’s requirement, activity can be adapted on a regular basis to ensure you’re hitting objectives – within budget, on brand through earned, owned and shared media.