Let’s say you’ve started a brand or business and have gotten to the point where you need exposure. So, you advertise on social media, have your friends spread the news, and use paid ads in order to get the word out about your business or product. While all of that does make a difference and may get you some amount of awareness, these tacts aren’t going to be able to create the same amount of opportunities for you that you’d receive if you were to hire a public relations consultant. That’s because advertising lends little to no credibility to your brand, whereas a public relations consultant will upgrade your brand’s storytelling and be able to get you verified by a trusted third party (i.e. an editorial piece). Doing this will give you and your brand the security and legitimacy it deserves and in turn, significantly increase your customer base.
If you’re unsure of whether or not you do in fact need a public relations consultant, it’s important to ask yourself how you’re going to build the brand recognition that you want and how you’re going to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market. The value a public relations consultant provides is endless, but let’s get into some of the specifics as to what exactly a PR consultant does and the value they provide.
1. CREATING YOUR BRAND’S STORY & MESSAGING
It’s important to note that a public relations consultant doesn’t just advertise. In fact, they go so far as to even create your brand’s story and messaging. If you’ve worked with a marketing agency, they may have helped with this but because of their unique skill set, a public relations consultant is able to take your messaging to an even higher level. Public relations consultants know what sells. They know what people read and what the public resonates with because they’re used to working with journalists in order to put out news stories to the public. Therefore, even if you do already have your brand’s story and messaging in place, your PR consultant will be able to spin it in a way that will stand out amongst your competitors and really shine in the media.
2. STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS TO YOUR BRAND
A public relations consultant always has his or her pulse on what’s trending and when. They’re experts at strategically planning out when you should release certain information and products in order to secure the optimal performance. They’ll be able to assist you with planning opportunities for your business – whether that’s events you should put on, ads you should create, or specific audiences you should target in order to get noticed. Because they have their pulse on what’s going on in the media, they’ll also be able to direct you how to work around any threats to your brand – whether that’s competitors or someone spreading false information. The more information you have on what your competitors are doing, the better you’ll be able to market around them and explain why your business or product is superior.
3. CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEDIA
While you can post on social media and use Facebook or Instagram ads to spread awareness, it’s next to impossible to get your business into a media outlet without a close connection. That’s where a PR consultant comes in. One of the main advantages to working with them is that they are closely tied to different news outlets. Whether you want an article written about what you’re doing in a major news source, or you want a spot on a local or national news station, a PR consultant is your foot in the door. A big part of their job is cultivating relationships with the media, which means that you’ll get exposure you’d likely never be able to get on your own or without a very close connection.
4. CONDUCTING PRESS OUTREACH GO SECURE COVERAGE
Because of the tight relationships that PR consultants typically have with the media, they will be able to get you in touch with press which will heighten the legitimacy and notoriety of your business. They’re able to study the news outlets and media companies that they know and figure out which would be best for you and your business. They’ll then be able to place you in a position of receiving optimal media coverage from the audience that you want and is very specific to your brand and/or business. While some marketing companies sometimes claim they have the ability to do this, it’s important to work with a PR consultant on this because you want to receive secure and legitimate news coverage from outlets or sources that are going to best shine light on what you’re doing.
5. PROVIDING MEDIA TRAINING
In addition to landing you large media opportunities, a PR consultant will also be able to work with you in order to help you feel calm, comfortable and confident in front of crowds or a camera. While some business owners may have experience doing this, the majority don’t and it can be a nerve wrecking experience addressing a large crowd or speaking on a news channel. A PR consultant will sit with you and help you formulate what you would like to say and help you practice until you feel ready to address your audience.
6. MONITORING AND RESPONDING RAPIDLY TO NEWS CONCERNING YOUR BRAND OR INDUSTRY
Not all press is good press, and oftentimes, new businesses face threats from their competitors. If someone were to write a negative review about your business or product or put out content that was false or that was negatively affecting your brand image, it’s usually very difficult to get this taken down. That’s where a PR consultant comes in. He or she will be able to go in and do damage control. They’ll be able to work on getting that information taken down, or stopping the spread of false information. In addition, they’ll be able to act quickly in order to get it taken down as soon as possible so it’s not lingering out in the public.
7. CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Similar to how they’re able to monitor and respond to news concerning your brand or industry, a PR consultant will also be able to get false information about you or your business offline. People can be vengeful and unfortunately, there may be some that aren’t excited about your success. If this were to happen, a PR consultant is able to get the situation under control, target the person who is spreading the information, and stop it before it escalates.
8. MANAGING YOUR INTERNAL MESSAGING TO EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE
Not only do PR consultants work with you in order to target the ideal customer, they’ll also be able to help you work with your internal team. It’s important for your company to remain unified and remain committed to the same vision and message. Your PR consultant will be able to help you draft the language to use in order to communicate effectively and unify your team, no matter where in the world they may be. PR consultants are usually wordsmiths and brand experts who have the unique skillset needed to unify your company.
9. COMMUNICATING YOUR CSR PROGRAMS TO THE COMMUNITY
According to investopedia.com, “Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept that can take many forms depending on the company and industry. Through CSR programs, philanthropy, and volunteer efforts, businesses can benefit society while boosting their brands”. It’s important that a brand or business not only helps their target audience, but also society. Doing things such as donating to certain charities or volunteering your time to help others is a great way to genuinely positively affect society while also getting the positive recognition that your brand and business deserves.