This is what you need to know about PR for 2022
OK PR lovers, we know you’re all here for the publicity lessons. Am I right?
You want coverage and lots of it. You can’t afford big bang advertising so you turn to PR. You want third party endorsements. Because who doesn’t want to be told they’re doing a good job at life.
You want social proof. Because ‘see mum and dad’ and ‘friends and friends-of-friends and ex-boyfriends and girlfriends and ex-employers; I am GOOD. Really good!’ ‘See, there is evidence.’
If you’re a PR Pro you need to know this to better manage your clients. And if you’re running a business you need to know this to PR your business better.
PR and publicity, need no longer go hand in hand as one without the other and in the same thought. Ya?!
This needs to change so that the clients who are deciding upon what PR success looks like are on-board with what PR looks like today and how it has evolved. PR, just in the same way consumers consume information; is never static.
So to clarify, publicity is one possibly outcome of a PR tactic. And that PR tactic is commonly known as media relations (aka: proactively and strategically reaching out to media with suggestions of potential news and editorial opportunities that they consider).
Publicity, however can be brought about as a result of a clever stunt or a remarkable event, or an advertising campaign that is changing perception en-masse, or quite sadly a natural disaster, accident or issue…but more to the point publicity is one potential outcome of PR efforts.
And there are a heap of other just as valuable outcomes of PR efforts. Which might also more directly support your grand scheme, ideal business outcomes.
You see, that often gets forgotten – strategies that result in advancing a business. Weird I know.
Clients go to a PR agency like a shop for publicity, but what they and PR consultants need to do more is take a step right back and get curious about what it is they’re actually trying to achieve for that business.
Because the best way to go is to get clear on the overall business opportunities and strategy, so that the PR resources can create more impact, more leverage and uplift more brilliance followed by achievement.
Ultimately what we’re all trying to do with any business is to create a brand. A brand is what makes a business enduring. And there is no brand without awareness and there is no awareness without PR.
Some important business pursuits (see below but not limited to) might not require publicity as the roadmap.
- Clarify messaging to create a repeatable story
- Engage existing customers in a more meaningful way
- Generate sharable content that brings value to the lives of others?
- Accelerate growth and amplification
- Better customer retention
- Increase in enquiry, trial followed by repeat visitation
- Improve staff culture and recruitment opportunities
- Secure a better position in the market
- Fill untapped market space
- Increase brand differentiation
- Move up the positioning ladder
- Launch an education program
- Launch a new product
- Quieten competitors
- Engage media in a meaningful way
Brilliant media coverage might not change anything for a business long term. Or in the short term it might not directly influence that businesses capacity to reach its most critical objectives.
An example of this is when a potential new client reached out with one intention for us; to secure TV media coverage for a new product range.
But WHY? That’s what needs to be explored first. Followed by a brand audit to review where that business is currently positioned and what needs to be done as a priority in order to advance it.
So it’s important that PR consultants guide clients to think more strategically. Or at least better explain why they’re doing that for them and why PR today is not like PR yesterday.
Public Relations has undergone some major transitions. In fact, you could go as far to say that today’s PR looks different to PR yesterday.
Media and communications has always been an industry that moves at a rapid fire pace as it attempts to keep up with advances in technology and the way we connect, consume and share information (social media).
And with that so too has the increase in marketing, PR and advertising-savvy audiences who expect authenticity, differentiation, a ‘WHY to buy’ reason and extreme trust in a business first.
With all of this in mind PR has had to adapt and evolve as it always has. PR is not a shop that you visit to buy publicity neatly packaged in a bow.
This is PR yesterday and this is PR today:
PR Yesterday (before the last decade)
- Relied heavily on media coverage as a peg-mark of success
- Relied on special events to generate publicity
- Relied on celebrity product seeding to generate publicity and awareness
- Relied on media launches and events to influence/enlighten media
- Relied on Media Releases to disseminate news
- Relied on Press Calls to reach the press
Considers the entire business strategy and reverse engineers the best approach. PR today is integrated across all communications outlets for a business. It’s a combination of what Spin Sucks founder Gini Dietrich refers to as the PESO Model.
- Paid media (digital ads and media spend)
- Earned Media (the pursuit of publicity)
- Shared Media (Google reviews, organic social media shares)
- Owned Media (Blogs, podcast, email marketing, social media)
This includes, but not limited to:
- Creating value-based high-quality content to educate, inform, enlighten and entertain
- Positioning brands in front of the right audience, wherever they are online
- A broad, multifaceted, integrated information distribution plan
- Niched and insanely specific and personalised media relations
- Influencer relations
- Investor relations
- Community building
- Brand ambassador management
- Direct Marketing
- Content curation
- Content distribution
- Podcast creation and promotion
- Brand journalism
- Social Media Management
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- In-bound Marketing
- Point-of-Sale Experience
- Product packaging and design
- User Experience
- Website copywriting and design
- Lead Generation
- Event Management
- Experiential Marketing
- Media Relations
- Press Release Syndication
*There are absolutely more! Because PR is the effort to reach the hearts and minds of people who need what you’ve got most. And that could be in any which way.
And it’s no longer enough to be managing the communication alone. We now manage the activity and outputs against it.
So while publicity is absolutely a powerful and effective way to secure third-party endorsement, establish credibility, boost brand awareness and elevate your brand positioning. And is an important inclusion in a PR strategy – if it fits against the resources and it’s decided upon, as the best strategic path to take – but it’s not the only way to achieve these outcomes for a business. PR yesterday is different to PR today.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Creative Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.