This week is Denver Startup Week. For any startup the list of expenses is long, but PR is one of those tools you should be exercising from day one. PR will help your business grow. With that, we put this blog post together on why you should consider hiring a PR agency today.
Public relations is a skill that takes years of experience and it is not a task that a marketing or sales director can handle on top of their day-to-day tasks. Being an effective publicist is a full-time job and usually requires a team to handle a brand’s public relations program – making hiring a PR agency a necessity for businesses of all sizes.
From launching a startup to promoting your household name, having a team of PR pros who know the journalists, editors, producers, and social media influencers in your industry, and how to appropriately contact them, is clutch. Publicists have established themselves as trusted and reliable resources to the individuals behind the top publications and social media accounts, which means their emails and phone calls often get answered, whereas outreach from unfamiliar sources may go unnoticed.
Journalists receive hundreds, sometimes even thousands of pitches a day from brands. As PR professionals our job is knowing how specific journalists like to be contacted, what stories they are working on, and what is happening currently in their life. Most importantly, we know how to craft a story that will catch their eyes.
We know these details because we’ve spent years establishing and cultivating relationships with the media, which has resulted in an invaluable and extensive media contact list. Every time you have news, we reach out to these contacts. Every time they need a source for a story, for example if they’re looking for a new barrel-aged beer or the perfect stocking stuffer to round out a story, they reach out to us.
We know that your business is your passion and that every development may feel newsworthy. However, our job is to help you determine where your strongest stories lie and how to package them in a way that resonates with media contacts. When releasing a new product, we will either write a press release or a pitch (a story idea) and send it out. Personally, we are not huge fans of using the newswire. The wire can be expensive and as many of our clients are small businesses that are watching their costs, the newswire won’t get them the biggest bang for their buck. Individually pitching every release, advisory and story idea to the most relevant media contacts will ensure the best results for your PR goals. Because we are experts in the craft beverage, hospitality and fitness industry, we know how to present the news and who will likely cover your story – without paying for press release coverage.
Not everything is newsworthy. While it may be hard to hear at first, when something is not newsworthy we will help you determine other ways to promote the news including other media channels like social media, your blog or an email marketing campaign. .
One thing that sets us apart from other agencies is that we want you to feel like we are a part of your internal marketing and communications team. Not just another agency you work with. Not only will you talk to us a lot, but you will see us a lot!
Still not sure if you should hire a PR agency? Here are a few reasons why you should consider it for real.
1. Reputation Management
You are your reputation. How do you want your business to be viewed? What are people saying about your business? As your PR professional, it is our job to manage this reputation. If there is a rumour circulating, incorrect facts being published, or someone in the company slipped up, your PR team can help to minimize the damage, determine the best course of action for handling the situation and make the necessary corrections.
2. Brand Awareness
Becoming a household name does not happen overnight. It takes years of hard work and consistent results. The best way to get closer to this goal is to continuously build your brand awareness. In PR, building brand awareness takes several forms, but the goal is the same: media coverage. Media coverage does not always directly relate to sales (in some cases it can!) but it it is a necessary lead generator and positions your brand as a reliable source. Studies have shown that consumers must see an ad up to seven times before they make a purchase. The same can be said for brand awareness. By the seventh time a consumer has heard of your brand, your name is going to start to resonate with them. So get excited about every single media hit, no matter how small or large, because it is driving awareness, which in the long run will help your business grow.
The following is a true story about how a brand I once worked with did not understand the importance of brand awareness. Once upon a time, I represented a sock company. The socks were fun, colorful, and on trend for 2013. We had already gotten this client into GQ, which is huge for any fashion brand, when we secured them a placement in a Wall Street Journal story on men’s sock trends. This piece was online and in print and the editorial team made a video! The brand’s name was everywhere! Our team was over the moon! The response from my client, “What should I do with this? Have my mother hang the article on the wall?” I was so shocked by this response that I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t believe that the client was responding this way. I had spent days corresponding with the writer and now I felt like I had completely wasted my time. Come on, this is the mother f****** Wall Street Journal! And in case you were wondering, it did lead to sales. See brand awareness is good for business.
Relationships are the key to our business. As PR professionals we are our own reputation. You want to find PR pros you gel with because once you launch a PR strategy, you are going to be in almost daily contact with your PR team. There will be emails, texts, phone calls, weekend event management and early mornings at TV stations.
As PR pros, we also hang our hats on the relationships we have with journalists and influencers. We’ve spent years building relationships with these individuals to become trusted and reliable sources. Not only do we pitch them, but they reach out to us. The relationship between PR professional and journalist is what our business is built on. The old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is always at play in our line of work. When the journalists we work with see an email with the lexapr.com domain in their inbox, they know a good story idea is inside.
Bonus reason! Social Media
Unless you have a dedicated person to manage your social media accounts, working with your PR team to develop a social media strategy and content is vital. Ultimately, social media is another way you are communicating with your audience. Social media is where you as a brand are in control of the conversation. However, this conversation and this messaging should fall into line with the story you are also telling through earned media. Working with your PR team to develop a thoughtful and strategic social media plan will lead to continued success and your bottomline.
So now that you know the various ways a PR firm can benefit your business, we’re ready to address the last question, you might have: what is my return on investment for hiring a PR agency? This is a tough one to answer as PR cannot often be directly correlated to offline sales. The best way to track PR success is to check the traffic to your website from earned media. We can look at clicks, paths of purchase and new business leads.
PR is all about the long game and helping your business achieve longevity.