Public Relations (PR) at its core is about the ways your brand communicates with your audience – the strategies that you adopt to build mutually beneficial relationships between you and the public, it is media that is earned.
When a newspaper or an industry trade publication (magazine, website or blog) features your company, be it product, service, or ideas in a news story, that is a form of PR.
With a sea of content available at a click of a button, the need to create audience-centric content is more important now than ever.
People are more selective with what they want to read, and they are getting better at fishing out irrelevant information that does not offer any real value to them.
The faster you recognise this, the better you’ll be at crafting your communication strategies.
The emphasis is on bringing value to your business, the third-party, and the public.
How is Public Relations (PR) different from Advertising?
PR is significantly less transactional than Advertising and much more relational.
This is because the goals for an Advertising campaign and a PR campaign are vastly different – advertising focuses largely on driving sales, while PR looks to boost brand awareness and reputation.
Despite a longer and more tedious process to achieve this goal, the rewards are unlike anything Advertising can offer.
PR is earned, Advertising is paid for.
The intermediaries that PR professionals work with are often viewed as independent and neutral media sources, simply because they are not obligated to promote your content.
They discern whether or not your content can benefit their followers and can be as selective as they like in choosing their stories.
Having them promote your content is equivalent to attaining a stamp of approval – their followers trust them and are more likely to keep an open mind to whatever you have to offer.
This difference explains why PR is ultimately a better tool in terms of building credibility.
Why do businesses need public relations?
Credibility. An asset that all businesses desire, yet it is not something one can simply advertise for.
As much as we hate for it to be true, the most trusted sources of information about your business come not from the material you release to the public, but from third-party sources such as customer reviews and media coverage.
Singing your own praises simply does not deliver the same level of credibility as having someone else validate it.
Third-parties and intermediary platforms have their own solidified base of followers that trust their content.
More importantly, they are neutral and independent parties, and should they promote your product or service, it will speak volumes of the credibility of your business.
Cost-Effectiveness. Bill Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”
Don’t get me wrong. PR isn’t cheap, it is cost-effective, in terms of the value you get per dollar spent.
Good media coverage is a triple threat, it provides greater brand awareness, sales opportunities and it can boost any marketing strategies you have in store.
Establish a solid foundation for your Digital Marketing Strategy. Reputable media websites often have high viewership or in digital marketing terms “high traffic” and more importantly, what Google algorithms determine as “high authority sites”.
Thus, having them linked to your website provides a high-quality backlink, or a stamp of approval, which could go to boost your Google search rankings, improving your brand’s visibility altogether.
How can PR and Content Marketing work together?
Neil Patel calls it “the inevitable marriage”, and rightly so!
The rise of the digital platform has consequently made everyone a content creator and with that the false perception that we no longer need journalists or PR specialists to do the job.
However, the contrary is true – the fact that we are all content creators makes PR all the more relevant, to cut through the sea of noise so that your voice can emerge the loudest.
Both PR and Content Marketing focuses on building trust by providing true value to the audience, with a notable de-emphasis on short-sighted self-promotion.
However, it is important to distinguish a PR strategy from a Content Marketing strategy.
Content Marketing is the whole process of creating and distributing content through a myriad of channels.
PR is one of the tools Content Marketers employ to get their message out to the right audience. These two jobs entail entirely different skills.
Why PR? The ultimate goal of Content Marketing is to build a mutually rewarding relationship between brand and audience. PR facilitates and accelerates this process.
Identifying trends. Content Marketers rely a great deal on an array of tools to come up with the most in-trend topics, and PR is one indispensable tool in finding the hottest topics that you can cover.
This is because PR strategists are experts in determining subjects of interest based on trends and are great at filling in the gaps in the content front.
Every headline is an opportunity to create buzz-worthy content.
Amplify your voice. With almost three million blog posts published every single day, it is easy to get lost in the ‘noise’.
PR pros help you cut through that noise, reaching a wider and more targeted audience with greater clarity.
PR specialists also do this by helping you identify the best medium for which you can reach their target audience.
Following this, they interact with media platforms and other third parties to convince them how your content can benefit them and their audience.
“Publishing content without the right amplification is like shooting a missile with a faulty radar –– the chances of it reaching your audience is slim to none.”
Building your brand message. PR is tailored to represent a brand’s values, identity and value propositions to its audience.
With the expertise from a PR pro, you can weave this message consistently and precisely throughout your distributed content.
And when done successfully, it can create a positive association between your potential customers and your brand, putting greater weight to your subsequent release of content, product or service.
Things to look for in a PR agency in Singapore: what is right for my business?
1. Track Record
Does the agency demonstrate proven results in your industry?
Do they have experience solving PR problems that are similar to yours?
This is important because an experienced agency in your niche will be able to grasp your ideas quickly and give well-informed advice and consultation.
Don’t be shy to ask for case studies or proven samples of success in similar fields. A competent PR agency should be transparent and offer you the references you need.
2. Big or Boutique Agency?
Both smaller and larger firms offer unique propositions for your business.
Larger firms may have more manpower and resource, however, smaller firms make up for it by having a nimble and flexible team.
Naturally, you can expect lesser hierarchy from smaller firms, and likewise lower bureaucracy and red tape.
It ultimately boils down to whether the agency is the right fit for your brand.
Size should be secondary to relevant experience and appropriate resources.
Weekly updates and monthly reports on progress and accomplishments are imperative for time-sensitive projects.
Having consistent follow-up helps to ensure more transparency in the operations and also allows you to keep track of progress in achieving goals.
A good agency should be clear on the means and frequency of communication with your team.
PR agencies want to help your brand to tell your story, and to do so effectively requires a close working relationship.
Your goals and objectives may not be the same as the previous client and a good PR company should recognise that and be attentive to the individual needs of your firm.
It isn’t a surprise that the PR landscape is constantly changing.
The way consumers get their news and information has completely evolved.
Communicators recognise that while traditional mediums of PR are still used today, a large percentage of PR is now digital.
In fact, leading digital PR companies integrate the best of traditional PR with a new emphasis on trends in content marketing, social media, and more.
Press coverage no longer just covers traditional media, but digital media as well. PR specialists will continue to build relationships with online bloggers and journalists to generate online media coverage.
These efforts will be even more seamless with the use of digital marketing strategies, such as powerful content marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Every successful PR story is backed by thought-provoking and high-quality content, there is simply no other way around it!
This article was contributed by Genia, a SEO & content marketing company focused on turning every business we work with into industry leaders and content hubs.