No matter what industry you’re in, the internet is already talking about anything and everything relevant to your brand. If you don’t have a solid public relations strategy, you might be missing your chance to join in on the conversation. In order to reach new audiences—and new potential customers—you need to get your company to the head of the proverbial table. Here’s how a great PR strategy can put you in the right place at the right time to be heard.
1. It enables you to define and expand your target audience
First things first: You have to understand exactly who it is you’re trying to reach and how to talk to them. You need to know who’s already listening and decide who else you need to target in order to grow. For example, the 110-year-old vacuum bottle brand Stanley—a long-time favorite of blue-collar men—has seen a roughly 10-fold increase in sales in recent years. Much of this success has stemmed from the company’s realization that its indestructible thermal tumblers would also appeal to on-the-go women, who have responded to its viral campaigns featuring new style offerings.
A good PR strategy will start with analyzing your current customer base, learning who’s already buying from and following your brand. Then it will consider additional relevant market segments—that is, people you could be reaching if you tweaked your strategy. You’ll look at demographic, regional, socioeconomic, and psychographic factors to determine what kinds of users are your most likely adopters. Then you can set some KPIs for the growth you want to achieve.
2. It builds visibility
The next step is to improve your online visibility so more potential customers see you, even when they’re not looking. This starts with analyzing your current SEO strategy and rankings to understand how discoverable you currently are. From there, you’ll take steps to boost your brand’s ubiquity through organic search results rankings. You’ll learn the right keywords and topics to feature and where your brand needs to be present.
Speaking of “where,” a digital PR agency will have established partnerships with key online publications that can lend your brand third-party credibility. Agencies like Relevance can help you leverage such relationships to introduce your brand into industry discussions. Through relevant mentions in topical articles, you’ll ultimately boost brand visibility and raise your company profile. In turn, you’ll likely rank higher on the search engine results page, leading customers to learn more about you instead of your competitors.
3. It establishes credibility and authority
Your onsite and email content are also extremely important parts of your public relations strategy. You’ll need to demonstrate your expertise not just by joining industry conversations in traditional media, but by developing your own onsite content and other messaging. Ideally, customers who discover your brand through other outlets will eventually land on your own pages or marketing lists. When they get there, they should find high-quality, original content on trending and newsworthy topics.
It isn’t enough, though, just to produce this content and get it in front of the right audience. A critical component of a solid PR strategy is establishing your brand voice as one that’s trustworthy, reliable, and consistent. That means making sure your content is not just pertinent, but also impeccably sourced, verifiable, and grounded in accurate, up-to-date data.
4. It expands your social reach
Social media is a vital pillar of pretty much any modern PR strategy. But what that looks like could differ quite a bit between industries or from brand to brand. A hip accessories company might benefit from a targeted viral campaign on TikTok or Instagram. Meanwhile, a SaaS platform vendor marketing to corporate executives might aim for an increase in buzz on LinkedIn. Whatever your chosen channel, the aim is to boost your engagement, getting noticed and shared by followers and the media.
The downside to social is that, while it can be the fastest way to get discovered, it’s also easy to mess up. Say or share the wrong thing, and you could wind up in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Sure, some brands still choose to abide by the old saying that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But for most, the risks of getting canceled or blacklisted will outweigh the potential benefits of unflattering or downright negative press. So don’t hesitate to enter the social media arena, but make sure you do so in a way that accurately reflects your brand’s core values.
Consulting the experts
PR strategy isn’t new; in fact, the concept of public relations goes back thousands of years. Well-known historical figures like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra needed to think about how they were perceived in the public eye. You can be sure leaders like these had some trusty advisors around to help them craft just the right public image. Today, no brand or business leader is above needing a little professional help with any or all of the above.
If you don’t have an in-house PR team, outsourcing part or all of your strategy can make a huge difference in your outcomes. Professionals can assist with everything from analyzing your current traffic to connecting you with important partners and media outlets. The most important art PR professionals tend to practice, though, is that of crafting your position and point of view. They can help you figure out just the right angle to say what you mean and get noticed for it.