PR Boosts the Effectiveness of Your Marketing

Public relations (PR) helps reinforce your marketing, advertising and brand position. It makes your marketing work better, especially if you have unique key message content that can be a starting point to use for different mediums on and off line.

It can’t guarantee 100-percent control over content, display, position and frequency, as does advertising. But what it lacks in frequency, PR can make up for in reach. And, it’s a great way to spread your marketing and advertising budget.

PR can deliver your company’s product or service messages through a variety of media that could never be included in the most lavish advertising plan.

Sound PR is an integral part of maintaining a successful business. Competition for customers is keen. Having a successful business depends on properly building a solid foundation through effective public relations, marketing and advertising that supports your brand.

The public (your customers) can be cynical. They have lots of advertising messages thrown at them on a daily basis. But, when people read articles, hear or see something about your company, they’re going to take the published reports more seriously than they do ads. Articles written about your company, executives, products or services give you enormous credibility. It’s good content that’s not coming from you.

Media relations should always be a key part of your PR plan. Successful media relations – nurtured over time through relationships with media contacts – can help establish an ongoing, positive awareness of your company and the products or services it provides. It can inform and excite customers, investors and employees.

Third-party endorsement by the media sells integrity, quality and extraordinary service like no advertisement can. PR has the power to persuade the public.

Not promoting your company through public relations can take quite a toll on your company. It can mean lost revenue. Your company competes with thousands of others. The main difference for sustainable awareness is whether your PR program is established by default, or as a result of careful planning.

Well-organized, ongoing public relations programs make a big difference for building the awareness of your company and what it sells. The payoff for doing strategically planned, proactive public relations can be tremendous.

Am I a Journalist or a Blogger?

I had lunch recently with a group of friends, all journalists – editors or reporters. All, including myself, have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or closely related academic area. We spent many years, learning the ropes, ethically and how to report a story without bias, to have balance and fairness in our reporting. We’ve all been employed by mainstream media publications. And, all of us are also bloggers.

The subject of journalist versus a blogger is not new; it has come up many times in the last decade, primarily from the onslaught of new freelance bloggers (journalists?) at the 2004 elections, who began doing Web log posts.

Although I blog and am a trained journalist (now I work in branding marketing and public relations), I don’t consider my blog posts journalism. In the United States, journalists don’t get a license, closest thing to it is a press pass or ID, so the definitional line isn’t so clear.

If this subject isn’t new, why then did we talk about it and now I’m writing about it? Our conversation at lunch was centered on recent ruling by U.S. District Federal Judge Marco Hernandez about a blogger, who claims to be an investigative blogger. The ruling was based on First Amendment protection. For the full story, take a look at “You Be The Judge: Are Bloggers Journalists?”- Forbes

Most bloggers that I know, say they are journalists, entitled to equal rights with mainstream media outlets. Some of my journalist friends disagree. They say bloggers are not journalists – never were and never will be. They argue that the majority of bloggers, because they have no editors, no strict standards and no one to answer to clearly are not journalists. It also seems to me j-school college graduates are trained to verify our facts and quotations. I don’t believe that all bloggers do this.

Yet as for First Amendment rights, I come from a little different point of view. I believe that journalism reports and blog posts deserve First Amendment protection that our Constitution guarantees. However, I don’t believe the blogger should have free run. Like journalists, they are subject to consequences that can arise after they publish a post, such as being sued for libel or ordered to reveal a confidential source.

It is very clear that bloggers have First Amendment rights, which protect all of our opinions. What isn’t so clear is if bloggers are entitled to the protections of other federal and state laws, such those that allow journalists to protect confidential sources. That’s another topic for another day.

When we ask who is a journalist, the real questions are: is the journalist, whether reporting for a magazine, newspaper, television, radio or blog, giving analysis, commentary or simply political outbursts? (Hmmm…I won’t go here in this, but that brings to mind some mainstream reports?)

The true issue is not the job title, but the activity.

The Power of Public Relations Versus Advertising

Good public relations is a carefully planned, sustained effort to establish your company identity, maintain credibility and promote communications between your company and its public. It means getting the word about your company to the media so that they, in turn, will keep your name and good deeds in front of their audience—your potential customers.

Many PR professionals don’t like to say that PR is marketing. But, it is one of the most effective ways to successfully market your company’s information.

You can make PR pay off for you if you tailor (market) your messages directly to your customer’s current situations. This will help create trust between your company
and its stakeholders.

PR means getting stories written or broadcast about your company in the local press, business media, trade publications, radio, television and other media outlets depending on the audience you want to reach. PR is an information message about your company.

The public can be cynical. They have lots of advertising messages directed to them on a daily basis. But, when people read media articles, hear or see something about your company in the press, they’re going to take them more seriously than they do ads, especially, if you get a third party – a customer or expert of some kind – to comment positively in an article about your company. That lends you enormous credibility, it’s good content that’s not coming from you.

Editorial contributions have a much longer shelf life and greater pass-through value than ads. This becomes especially true if you order reprints from a publisher or a DVD of your television or radio appearance and circulate them further to your employees, customers and others, and put them on your Website.

PR placements build relationships between companies and publishers, and editors covering specific markets, thus opening the door for your continued contribution as an information resource when they need an opinion or quote for an article.

A strategic approach to PR will build recognition for your company. A few ways to do this is to: employ different methods and channels of communication to achieve the most effective structuring and delivery of your company message; showcase executives as experts in your industry by using newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Web as a very visible way to build consistent, broad scale recognition of executives as an authoritative source of information, which would consequently lead to a higher profile and elevate their role within the industry; and position executives as key industry spokespeople for the purpose of increasing visibility, and through that expertise educate the public about the vital role of your company within its industry.

PR is much more than just press releases. It’s about branding, internal and external communications, media relations, story development, writing and much more.

And, don’t forget to spread your news much further using social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter and your Blog.