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Does PR Drive Sales? Using Public Relations to Generate Leads

August 5, 2016 Gina Gallup

cash registerPublic relations is a key marketing tactic for raising brand awareness, increasing credibility and demonstrating thought leadership. It also drives people to your website through social media, blogging and online articles – all of which assist with SEO, which is part of branding and name recognition.

But does PR generate sales?

Yes, it does – though it can be hard to quantify.

As an analogy, think of a significant other or spouse. Ideally, this person will help you be better, more well-rounded. You may be encouraged to read that new-to-you book genre, go for that job that scares you, run that marathon, travel to that out-of-the-way place that you fall in love with, finally start that business. Ultimately, lots of steps will have to go into those things, many of which are not directly attributable to your “bae,” and your experiences will always remain your own. But did your spouse help make them happen? Would these things have happened without your significant other?

Probably not. It can be hard to show a direct correlation, I realize, but that doesn’t discount the value of the relationship.

And relationships are what PR is all about – with current customers, prospects, journalists, industry leaders, and anyone else ready to join a conversation.

Ever see someone mention something on social media that piques your interest? Maybe a new clothing brand or a musical artist. Then, in a day or two you may see or hear something else about it in a magazine, or overhear a conversation at your coffee shop, or read a blog that mentions it. It becomes more interesting to you. Then, you get a coupon for that brand or see a sale on that artist’s music, and you make a purchase.

The sale is directly attributable to that last marketing push, but PR started the ball rolling. It is what piqued your interest, gave your brand credibility and personality and made it likely that you’ll pay attention to the coupon or ad that finally led to a sale

To think about it another way: Can you lose sales if you don’t have PR? Absolutely.

The basis of PR is good content – articles, blogs, websites, brochures, social media posts, trade show booths and more. And potential purchasers look for content to confirm that you are who you say you are. In fact, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. People want to verify that your company is current and newsworthy, that you know your stuff, that you have experience and knowledge about your industry – and that your “vibe” and tone fits with theirs.

That’s why it’s important to have a strong PR team that is proactively crafting quality content and placing it in mediums that hit your target audience.

If those articles and blogs and social media channels aren’t out there working for you, that prospective client will rely on your competitors’ content for the information they want. Even if you have content, but it’s not displaying your company’s personality or values, it may not be helping you.

Solid content can help you generate quantifiable leads by pulling people to your website – a process called inbound marketing. If you provide free materials on your website that are valuable to a prospect, and have inviting call-to-action buttons and forms on your site, she will gladly trade her email address for that checklist, case study, free trial or other offer. Now you have a direct way to communicate.

PR is about letting others know who you are. It also makes you live up to who you say you are. 

So, really, PR is the basis of all marketing strategies. If your company isn’t using it, why not?

Just like someone may think of you because he saw your spouse, PR helps you stay top of mind. People don’t say, I saw your ad. But they might say they saw your blog or Facebook post. A new customer may not be able to point to that one tweet or that one quote in that article that got her to your company, but, trust me, it was part of her research process.

Simply put, PR is about letting others know who you are. People want to have that insight before they give you their money. Plus, because your public relations content is out there for everyone to see, it also makes you live up to who you say you are. And that’s a company worth buying from.

 

 

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