Do You Think You’re Ready for Public Relations? Think Again.
This is a question I’ve heard more times than I can count – when is my company ready to kick off a public relations program? First and foremost it’s crucial to understand one thing. Today’s PR industry is changing, becoming even more competitive and demanding than ever before. As the media transitions from print to digital, there are fewer journalists to pitch and more factors to consider, such as content marketing, social media and search engine optimization. So, before making the leap, you need to make sure a public relations program is right for you. Take a look at my top five questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge:
Do You Need PR?
Time and time again, I’m asked to present PR proposals to potential clients. But more often than not when they have it in their hands they realize, whether due to cost, resources or other marketing projects, that PR is simply not a priority. So, before all else, make sure you define your need for PR and what you hope to achieve. In my experience, you’ll find two primary drivers – the Best Kept Secret Syndrome when it’s time to let the world know what makes you so great and different, and an upcoming major news announcement you want to leverage for ink and awareness. Either way, it’s only once this need and goal are well established that your PR push can actually begin.
Are You Ready to Commit?
Determining a need for PR isn’t the only thing to do before getting started. Public relations is not a one-time play. It’s a strategic program you must commit to if you want to see the high ROI results you’re looking for.
I like to use the analogy of weight loss. Have you ever been on a crash diet? If you do, you’ll likely lose a few pounds. But the second you stop dieting, that weight inevitably piles back on. It’s the same with PR. You can make an impressive one-time splash, with interviews in all the top-tier and trade publications of your dreams, but if you don’t put any more effort into outreach after that point you and your product will rapidly be forgotten – not just by your audience but the media too. In this crazy, hectic world we live in, people need repetition to remember.
Do You Have the Budget & Resources?
A public relations program takes time and effort. So it won’t even get off the ground unless you have the budget and resources to make it happen. Whether hiring in-house or working with an agency, you’ll need to commit a team and funds to the process of PR outreach pitching, follow up, media relations, press release development, media training for your spokespeople and so much more. Without it, your program is going nowhere fast.
Do You Know What Makes You Different?
If you don’t know what makes you stand out, nobody else will. Reliable, consistent, and most importantly, relevant messaging is the heart of a successful PR program. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you be ready to position yourself to stand out from the competition. Ask yourself what makes your company, service or product different. It can be a spokesperson with the experience and credibility to provide thought-provoking industry commentary or a product that does something new. But defining this differentiator is step one towards PR success.
Is Your Infrastructure In Place?
It doesn’t matter if you have the best PR program in the world, with media banging down your door to interview you. If you don’t have a great website and compelling collateral for your potential customers to find, the brand awareness your outreach creates will get you nowhere. So, before initiating any public relations push, make sure the rest of your marketing, from your website to your brochures to social media and content creation, are on point and ready to generate leads.
Once you’ve evaluated these questions carefully and honestly, you’ll be in a better position to decide if PR has a strategic place in your company. Until then, it’s best to wait on the sidelines until you have the time and resources to invest.
Founded in 2006, Magnolia is one of Vancouver’s top B2B public relations & marketing communications agencies. Working with clients across North America, our full-service boutique PR firm of social media marketing, vertical marketing & public relation experts strives to earn our clients’ trust through a relentless pursuit of excellence — in our work, thinking and approach.