“There’s no such thing as bad publicity” has been considered a truism for many years but nothing has put this lie to bed quite like the digital age. Through the advent of digital communication and social media, it has become easier than ever for a single miscommunication to obliterate a hard-won positive reputation. In experienced hands, however, there has never been a better time for a skilled team to push your visibility far beyond what was possible even just 20 years ago. With such potential for widespread recognition, the voices clamoring to be heard are numerous. In order to be heard above the din, an experienced publicity team is vital to outshining the competition.
With that in mind, here are the five reasons why a dedicated PR presence will push your business in the right direction.
- Controlling the narrative
PR is a three-way relationship between your business, the public and the media. An agency can help shape the way you are reported upon and how often you receive such attention by building relationships with the media. This can range from keeping contact with a newsman to the crafting of press releases. A reputable PR agency can maintain these relationships and craft news announcements for you in addition to having experience in targeting the best media outlets for generating publicity. The proactive approach to PR can help to shape public perception on an ongoing basis.
- Influence and Reach
Now that you have a carefully crafted narrative, consider who hears that narrative: potential clients, customers and/or investors. Thoughtful publicity builds credibility. Savvy consumers are skeptical of traditional advertising, but PR is substantially more effective at reaching these skeptics—up to 90 percent according to a 2014 Nielsen study. And that substantial increase in effectiveness allows you to both sell your product or service to a wider audience and attract more investors.
According to a consumer survey, 85 percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and 79 percent of all consumers are online shoppers. The internet has become invaluable in finding goods and services online which means search engine optimization is key to your business’s success. How easy you are to find with a few keywords could have more impact on your sales than almost anything else. You can use PR to help mold SEO. Greater online presence on its own will help make you more visible in searches but in addition to that, press releases provide content that makes you more visible on a wide range of topics; interviews and white papers provide exposure to serious-minded clients and peers; and generating more traffic for your site means you will appear higher in Google searches.
Distraction is the watchword for the digital age. Attention spans are shorter than ever. Time magazine ran an article titled “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span than a Goldfish” three years ago and its unlikely that attention spans have improved since then. It can be a struggle to be heard continuously and to stay relevant. The staying power of your company can depend entirely upon your PR and visibility. No story can dominate the news forever, so no matter how much buzz you generate, it will always fade in the dull background hum of constant noise. But a large backlog of goodwill from every Yelp review, blog post or interview keeps your story out there on the web. The Internet can make your PR immortal.
- Managing Crises
Unfortunately, the flip side to immortality is that bad PR may be ensconced in the mind forever. Crises for businesses are distressingly common as these stats make clear. Nearly three out of five business decision-makers have experienced a crisis in their current or previous company, and a bungled crisis management strategy can worsen the problem, as British Petroleum learned during the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010 when their misguided apology video made them a subject of mockery. Having a PR team readily available for when things turn sour means having dedicated professionals devoting their time and energy to containing a crisis and slowly reversing it should the worst that happens. Remember, good PR isn’t just about making the best of good situations, it’s about minimizing the impact of bad situations.
As the Internet continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly vital for businesses to have a strategic online presence. A dedicated PR team allows your company to gain widespread attention from credible third-parties. At the end of the day, PR is all about positively benefitting your bottom line. To learn more about how Beyond Fifteen can start telling your story, visit BeyondFifteen.com.
About the author, Kelsey Lukas: Kelsey Lukas is a brand strategist at Beyond Fifteen’s responsible for overseeing new business development and communications strategy for the agency’s robust and growing book of business. Her skills have helped her secure placements in publications ranging from The Hollywood Reporter to CEO Magazine. A skilled writer, Lukas regularly authors articles about the value of marketing, public relations and social media from the viewpoint of an agency thought leader. Prior to joining Beyond Fifteen, Lukas worked at an LA-based firm, where she honed her public relations skills supporting clients in the television, film, music, medical and lifestyle industries. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Pennsylvania State University.