Think of PR. What springs to mind? There are several clichés, including the one which used to spring to my mind before I worked in the industry: the perfectly coiffed PR lady with a lovely handbag and wonderful manicure who is just very slightly out of touch with ordinary people. The reality is, though, that PR plays an important part in the much more down-to-earth process of selling a company’s products. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s an underrated and essential part of marketing. How can we back up this bold claim?
Well, first of all, let’s examine what we mean by PR. At Liberty PR, we spend most of our time and energy in each working day ensuring that our client gets the lion’s share of earned media – otherwise known as exposure that is not owned by the client, and that the client does not pay for. In other words, the coverage we gain is earnt by merit and not by paying for space.
Earned media: what’s so special?
Earned media often has greater credibility than owned or bought media, as the audience is more likely to see it as a third-party endorsement. Think about it: would you give greater credence to a newspaper article in the main section of the paper, or an ad placed by a company? And don’t just take our word for it: this blog says that earned media is the most credible form of marketing.
Finding the motivating factor
OK, so earned media is credible, but how does it help deliver a sale? This article from PR Moment says that ‘because earned media combines third-party credibility with massive reach, it’s almost always one of multiple touches in any sale’. So, a sale will likely have been encouraged by a company’s earned media, even if that is not directly traceable. To give an example from the same piece, if a person reads an article online about a company and then clicks on a banner ad for the same company, we would attribute that click to the banner ad. But the motivation was caused by the earned media, not the ad.
Changing strategies for changing times
The media landscape is a constantly shifting one, and successful PR companies have had to adapt their strategies as the digital age has dawned. For instance, at Liberty PR we are property specialists. Seven years ago, when I started in the business, the property sections in regional newspapers were huge and often desperate for material. Over the years, we’ve seen them shrink as more and more publications have migrated online. But we still believe in the power of earned media – so we’ve adapted our strategies and been smarter about where and how we issue media releases, while ensuring that we don’t drop the quality of our content or the coverage we earn.
The power of PR
In summary, we’re convinced that PR plays an important part in the sales process because we’ve seen it truly work, time and time again. All parts of a campaign play their role, but earned media gives campaigns credibility that they may otherwise lack. Of course, we’re biased. But we’re biased because we know that what we do works, and we’re on a mission to convince everyone to share our view.
To find out more about the value earned media could add to your brand, please contact Liberty PR on firstname.lastname@example.org.