Bill Gates supposedly once said “If I were down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR”. Now, whether or not he actually said this has been contested and defended a few times, but we can’t help but think that – regardless of who said it – it’s pretty solid advice. PR is an incredibly powerful tool and can have a serious impact on how a business is perceived in the world. Not only can investing in PR help you maintain your reputation, but it can help you reach new audiences, build up brand awareness, impact your SEO, and be part of a mix that helps grow your business. But despite what PR can do for a business, it isn’t as well understood as, say, social media marketing. That’s why we’ve put together our PR mythbuster. So, without further ado, let’s bust some myths…
The myth: PR stands for Press Release
The truth: PR is about more than press releases
Sorry to burst your bubble, but PR stands for ‘Public Relations’, and not ‘press release’. It’s an easy mistake to make. This common misconception says a lot about what people think PR is, though – writing press releases and sending them to journalists for news coverage. Yes, we definitely do write and send out press releases, but it’s a very little part of what we do. A good PR strategy is based on attaining a good mixture of coverage that’s right for your business. This could include news, but it might also be reviews of products and services, partnerships with media outlets, face-to-face meetings and interviews with press, working bloggers, working with YouTube influencers, utilising ambassadors, placing interesting content such as how-tos or industry analysis, getting your business to comment as an industry expert on an existing news story… The list goes on and on, but the point stands: PR is about way more than just press releases.
The myth: PR is for big business – and it’s all about the spin
The truth: PR can benefit lots of different kinds of businesses
When you think of PR, you probably think of big corporations spending millions of pounds on recovering from a crisis, or a celebrity going to extreme lengths to cover up their latest scandal. If so, you might be surprised to hear that a large proportion of our PR clients are growing businesses. PR is an incredibly effective tool for smaller businesses as its primary goals are building reputation and credibility, reaching out to new audiences, and creating brand awareness. That’s not to say that larger, more established businesses don’t benefit from PR, though. For them, the end goal is about reputation maintenance, as well as communicating news and interesting stories.
The myth: PR can’t be measured
The truth: PR can be measured!
We get it – PR can seem tricky to measure compared to other marketing and advertising activities. After all, when it comes to advertising, you can place an ad then track your sales after – meaning you can see exactly how much you spent and how much your sales have increased as a result. But it’s not impossible to measure PR – it just depends on what you want out of it. If reach is your main goal, then tools like Coverage Book show you how many hits and social shares a post has had. If you’re more concerned about the quality of the media in which you get coverage, you can use tools like Alexa to rank websites in terms of how popular they are. Or if sales and traffic to your website is your main objective, then using Google Analytics can help you track which websites the most traffic is coming from. In fact, analysing all three of these things is a great way of measuring how successful your PR campaign has been. Having said this, PR’s main goal is about raising awareness and building credibility for your business. If an independent third party person is saying great things about your business to your target audience – or ‘earned media’ as we call it in the biz –well, that’s priceless.
The myth: PR will help my business go viral
The truth: A good PR strategy takes time
If there’s one dreaded word in the PR industry, it’s ‘viral’. Not only is it hard to get to the true meaning of ‘viral’ in an age where everyone is a publisher and we have more content going ‘viral’ than ever before (that’s a whole other blog), but let’s just say one-hit wonders do exist outside of the music industry. Consistency is key when it comes to a PR, and you need to invest the time and effort into establishing a strong strategy and good relationships to ensure that you’re regularly hitting your goals. After all, a good PR strategy is based on credibility and trust – not flashy gimmicks.