Some people (business owners included) tend to underestimate the value of public relations. They often dismiss PR as mere ego-stroking, a way to flood Google with brand mentions, or a tactic to maintain a presence on social media. This perspective, however, is far from accurate. PR is not only instrumental in enhancing a company's image but also a critical component of a successful marketing strategy that can impact a business's success. PR plays an essential role in driving revenue and growth for brands across all sizes and niches.
What are you really missing out on if you don’t implement digital PR in your marketing practices? In this article, we’ll walk you down the problems your business might experience without a proper PR strategy in place and tell you how PR services can help you effectively solve them.
Low Brand Recognition and Authority
In an overcrowded marketplace, standing out is crucial. Without a solid PR strategy, your business remains an unknown entity in the eyes of potential customers. Media exposure helps you gain brand recognition and authority. Think about it: when you see a company's name mentioned in reputable publications, you naturally assume it's a credible and reliable player in the industry. A lack of media exposure leaves you with zero public presence and no reputation to fall back on.
Example: Consider how startup companies like Airbnb gained early traction by leveraging PR. Airbnb founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, were having a hard time affording their rent. So, they came up with a clever idea. They decided to rent out their apartment in San Francisco to designers who were visiting for a business conference and created a simple website that grew to be the giant it is today. This simple yet compelling story saw the public light and earned the brand worldwide recognition thanks to PR. Publications in multiple media outlets helped Airbnb become recognizable and reputable among its target audience.
Stagnant Online Growth
A strong online presence is non-negotiable if you want to succeed as a business in digitally dominated markets. One of the cornerstones of this presence is a media coverage-rich 'about us' page on your website. It not only showcases your accomplishments but also contributes to your website's search engine ranking. A lack of media mentions means a lack of external validation, which, once again, translates to lower brand authority and trustworthiness. It also means lower traffic to your web pages and social media.
Example: Check out the 'In the News' section on companies like Salesforce or Microsoft's websites. These sections are a testament to their media coverage, demonstrating their industry leadership and solidifying their online presence. People would rather buy from businesses that have a solid reflection of their value and popularity, and sections like 'media about us' or 'in the news' serve exactly this purpose.
Suboptimal Domain Authority (DA)
Search engine rankings heavily depend on domain authority, a metric that reflects the credibility of your website in the eyes of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and others. Media coverage acts as high-quality backlinks, driving organic traffic to your site and increasing your DA. Without media exposure, your website struggles to attract organic traffic, which directly impacts its authority and visibility on search engines.
Example: Neil Patel, a prominent digital marketer, significantly boosted his website's DA by consistently publishing valuable content and securing media coverage, which led to a surge in organic traffic. This simple yet comprehensive strategy may be a better (and often faster) way to secure more visitors, followers, and customers than ads.
Missed Opportunities for Crisis Management
Let’s face it – crises are inevitable when it comes to growing your business. Sometimes, these crises become public and bring reputational damage to your brand. Without a PR strategy at hand, you're ill-equipped to handle such situations and navigate the perception of your company by the public. That’s why having established relationships with journalists and media outlets can be invaluable in times of crisis, allowing you to control the narrative and minimise damage, including the loss of customers and, thus, money.
Example: When Samsung faced issues with its Galaxy Note 7 batteries catching fire, its PR team was swift and smart in managing the force majeure. The brand addressed the situation, took responsibility for the faulty batteries, and assured customers of the safety measures taken. Although Samsung took a hit financially, it managed to rectify the mistake and keep its reputation thanks to the right PR response.
Limited Partnerships and Collaborations
PR doesn't just affect your relationship with customers, though this is the central aspect of it. It also impacts potential partnerships and collaborations your brand might score for higher profits and wider reach. Brands often seek out partners with a strong reputation and significant media presence. Without that, you're missing out on valuable opportunities to grow your business through strategic partnerships. Influencers and other businesses will simply overlook you if they’ve never heard your name.
Example: Product-led PR allowed Duolingo to become one of the most well-known language-learning apps in the world. It also helps the brand score regular collaborations with popular influencers with millions of followers, bringing even more users to the app and generating unprecedented brand awareness.
Bottom line: Investing in PR is not a luxury but a necessity if you want to secure business growth and success in the long run. You can focus on forming an in-house PR team or work with a PR agency – an option many brands prefer today.
— Namrata Thakkar is a freelance contributor.
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