It’s true that marketing jargon is frequently misunderstood. To be clear, PR or as it’s also known, public relations is a subset of marketing. It isn’t a separate discipline.
However, it is a specialised skill that, like any other marketing medium, necessitates specialised knowledge. Public relations encompasses a wide range of activities, including media interactions, crisis management, and corporate communications, all of which are crucial business issues.
However, it is not a stand-alone activity, and we cannot stress this enough. It exists solely as part of your broader strategic marketing plan, ensuring that all brand experiences by all stakeholders are consistent and cohesive.
The term “marketing” is a catch-all phrase that simply means “to take one’s business to market.” It came from the literal process of taking one’s business to market in the shape of a stall, for example, centuries ago. You presented your items in such a way that you were able to make as many sales as possible at the highest possible price. As the creator of the product, you were the brand.
That is what marketing entails. It’s a catch-all term for all kinds of activity. So, how does one define public relations? The typical marketing reasoning is that “advertising is paid media, while public relations is earned media.” This isn’t exactly correct, but it’s in the right direction.
PR used to be all about attempting to get your name in printed publications and newspapers, but approximately 25 years ago, the digital world was established, and it has slowly grown in importance to the point where many traditional media outlets are now in serious financial jeopardy.
Companies that are not yet household names can more easily gain exposure in established national media publications, but they will almost always have to pay for an advertorial unless they have a very unique and exciting storey to tell – advertorials appear to be written independently by press journalists, but they are actually created by PR people, paid for by the client, and simply published.
There is also no such thing as a free dinner. Corporate hospitality and other PR initiatives, as well as all types of live events, such as product debuts, industry workshops, breakfast seminars, corporate exhibitions, and channel conferences, are expensive. As a result, you’ll need to spend money on marketing to fulfil your PR goals. To put it another way, public relations isn’t free! What about social networking sites? Getting a mention from a social influencer will almost probably necessitate a monetary exchange. To make them sufficiently noteworthy to stand out from the pack, successful press releases frequently need an investment in some type of guerrilla event or extravagant promotion.
So, it’s not true to argue that PR is completely free – but just because you pay for it doesn’t mean it’s terrible or wrong. It’s crucial to remember that PR isn’t the white-hatted magician of the marketing mix. It isn’t, it isn’t, it isn’t.
This isn’t always the case. There are some legitimate bloggers, vloggers, and social influencers out there who freely promote products. And, if they find the appropriate angle, certain businesses can earn free publicity. However, it is a rare occurrence.
As a result, in the age of “money or nothing,” public relations is rarely free. Yes, there is room for honest, free, favourable brand exposure in both print and digital journalism. But that isn’t necessarily a strategy; it may be luck or incredible ingenuity.
Marketing Agencies vs Public Relationship Agencies
There is some overlap between what a marketing agency and a public relations agency offer. While they both praise brands, they take different tactics to achieving the same objectives.
True, PR professionals approach briefs from one standpoint, whereas marketing experts tackle the same assignments from a different position. It all comes down to how the brain functions. Both are critical.
After many years of experimenting with various ways, we at Abacus Marketing have come to the opinion that a fully integrated marketing campaign must deliver a solution that comprises competence in both marketing consultation and public relations.
With this in mind, we always bring in a dedicated PR expert to assist with the execution of any marketing strategy aspects where we believe a public relations agency approach will add value to the overall strategic offering.
Furthermore, public relations is largely a sector-specific talent. That means working with a consultative PR professional who can apply their knowledge and knowledge to any project on a top-line level is excellent, but also engaging a PR agency with access to the relevant media people within a certain industrial sector is also recommended.
Our job is to find the ideal PR team to develop the entire plan, and then work with a PR firm that understands your market to get the greatest results.
What is the Goal of PR?
The ultimate goal of public relations is to promote a company (also known as a brand) and increase awareness, trust, credibility, and authority surrounding its products or services. It’s all about exposing your brand to your target audience through a variety of physical and online interactions. And, with the rise of social media, brands must be truly ethical in order to succeed.
According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 81 per cent of customers believe a brand must be able to be trusted to do the right thing. The following is a major quote from the report:
“A strong reputation may persuade me to test a product, but I will soon stop buying it until I come to trust the firm behind it.”
The fact that 67 percent of respondents agreed with this assertion is significant. Clearly, gaining consumer trust is critical, which emphasises the need of including public relations into your overall marketing approach.
Search results are a fantastic example of this sentiment. Organic results are preferred by nearly 88 percent of search engine users over sponsored adverts (PPC).
Online PR vs Offline PR
Traditional PR channels include:
- Speaking engagements
- Trade shows
- Hosted events
Online PR channels include:
- Social media accounts
- Discussion boards
- Customer review sites (TripAdvisor, Foursquare etc.)
- Video content (e.g. viral campaigns)
- Press releases
- PR outreach (guest posting)
- Influencer marketing
- User-generated content
- Social proofing
- Word of mouth advertising
- Online magazines
- Online newspapers
Expanding your brand’s internet visibility is one strategy to obtain exposure. Bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers have acquired an audience and established themselves as experts in their fields alongside professional journalists. Consumers believe what these individuals have to say. Their recommendations and opinions can be very influential.
Press releases, guest posting, and influencer marketing are the three main techniques for PR outreach.
Press releases are a PR method that can provide you a lot of exposure with authoritative news outlets. They are not a stand-alone campaign. Search results also favour news aggregator sites like PR Newswire, Business Wire, and 24-7 Press Release.
When sending out a press release, the best result is to have your storey picked up by a journalist from a major newspaper or magazine. However, unless you are a well-known brand or a start-up with a wholly distinct position, this is an uncommon occurrence, so don’t expect it to happen as a result of your PR efforts.
Another option is to present your storey to specialised journalists. Public relations professionals that have established ties with media that cover your sector or market niche can be extremely useful.
An editorial calendar is used by print publications and newspapers. As a result, the importance of timing can’t be overstated. If you have a storey about a topic they want to cover, you could get a lot of attention.
Keep in mind that editors plan their media content months ahead of time, usually three to six months before a print issue is ready for distribution. Make sure your pitch concept falls within the appropriate time slot when exploring possible media. On their websites, they frequently include timing plans.
Guest blogging is an easy way to publish content on third-party websites. This entails contacting bloggers and smaller internet publications.
Nonetheless, many guest posting opportunities put your company in front of a large audience. Furthermore, the audience is usually made up of people that are interested in your product or service.
Bloggers will supply you with a ‘do=follow’ backlink at the very least. This will assist you enhance your SEO rating and increase your search engine visibility for connected keywords.
Backlinks are used by search engines to rank websites in terms of trust, relevancy, and authority. When search engine robots feed their complicated algorithms with high-quality information, they consider bloggers and online publications to be trusted indicators. As a result, inbound connections from these websites boost your website’s trustworthiness and, in most cases, lead to a higher ranking in organic search results.
High-performing websites are also rewarded with domain authority by Google and others. Backlinks from websites with a higher domain authority bear greater weight in determining the reliability of your website. If at all possible, you should try to post material on websites with a domain authority score of at least 70, but no less than 30. (unless it is free).
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find free guest posting opportunities in today’s climate. The majority of website owners charge, and the higher the domain authority, the larger the price. Forbes, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur, for example, charge upwards of £1,000 to publish a single piece.
In recent years, tapping into the followers of respectable social media influencers has proven to be one of the most trustworthy and productive techniques of PR outreach.
According to a survey provided by TapInfluence, influencer marketing is 11 times more effective than typical digital marketing platforms. That’s an astonishing figure, and though we’re generally sceptical of such figures, they do demonstrate a point, if not truth.
The benefit of social influencers for business is that they typically accumulate an audience of like-minded people who are interested in a given topic (such as sports, interests and hobbies). Niche brands can now tap into a ready-made audience that trusts the advise of social media personalities to some extent.
The crucial word here is trust. Consumers will reject brands mentioned by influencers if their material is not viewed as genuine (or worse, distrust them by inference). Consumers can usually recognise when influencers are lying or being dishonest.
The influencer industry has been shaken by a series of controversies in recent years. Reports of influencer fraud and repeated influencer posts have bred scepticism among marketers who use this otherwise powerful marketing channel.
On closer investigation, however, the influencer marketing crises almost all involve personalities or brands that people already have reservations about. Retrospective survey feedback is not always reliable because it is subjective to some extent.
Brands, on the other hand, have an obligation to provide transparency to the public. Influencers in the UK are now required to declare whether they have been paid by a brand or have some type of association with them, thanks to directives issued by Advertising Standards.
Before you get started with influencer marketing, you’ll need to figure out who the greatest influencers are to work with. Seeking assurance about the number of actual followers they have, how many engage in their posts, and any other products they are advertising are all good practices.
Macro influencers, sometimes called as celebs, are social media personalities with at least 10,000 followers. Although the formal definition of a macro influencer is someone who is regarded a “expert in their industry,” we all know that some social celebrities promote brands for money without having any special knowledge or skill.
Celebrity endorsement can be effective if you find the perfect individual to promote your business and develop a strategy that sends a genuine message to your target demographic.
Micro influencers are social media celebrities with a following of up to 10,000 people. They usually target niche markets and provide high-quality material that appeals to a real audience.
Micro influencers are frequently the best target demographic, especially for SMEs, because they are often considered an authority in their field – and honest. Even large corporations are devoting greater resources to micro influencers because they provide smart and effective word-of-mouth promotion.
Nano influencers are at the bottom of the scale, but far from the weakest type of influencer marketing (that honour belongs to superstars).
This group has fewer members but does not charge a lot of money. Some tiny influencers will just ask for the product you’ve sent them to evaluate.
Nano influencers are also known for being candid and honest with their followers. It is in their best interests to do the right thing in order to enhance their own reputation. Brands clearly benefit from this level of transparency.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Also known as UGC. One of the most cost-effective PR methods in the marketing mix is user-generated content. It’s essentially word-of-mouth advertising, but in the form of “how to” videos, independent reviews, or feedback through brand channels.
Although customer-generated material is rarely polished, its strength comes in its sincerity. This alone has a significant impact on your trust metre. Genuine material created by people who aren’t affiliated with the company carries a lot of weight.
In essence, user-generated content (UGC) creates social proof and humanises your offering. Prospective buyers may see how others have benefited from your product, which helps them connect with it.
Because user-generated content (UGC) promotes engagement and sales, a public relations strategist will encourage your existing consumers to submit comments or send in videos after they make a purchase (although this is often actually delivered by a sophisticated CRM system).
Of course, there are companies that take advantage of review systems. You only have to glance at some of the Amazon reviews to see that this is true.
At the End of the Day
For many businesses, public relations is a crucial component of their marketing mix. In this essay, we’ve attempted to clarify the difference between public relations and marketing, which is commonly misunderstood in the marketplace. To be clear, public relations is a marketing tool. All PR is marketing, but not all marketing is PR, to use the alpaca/llama comparison. And, like any marketing medium, PR necessitates certain skills, experience, and expertise — a PR plan is best crafted by a PR consultant with cross-sector experience, and best delivered by a PR team with industry-specific competence.