Stephanie asks, “So I’m curious, what is the value of PR? What do companies gain from it?”
An excellent question with a lot of caveats – and I say this as someone who worked in a PR firm for half a decade. PR is ultimately about building awareness and trust, and promises (at least in the sales pitch) exponential returns. But there’s a massive catch that, for the most part, tends to make PR’s promises fall short. Watch the video for what that danger is.
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
Listen to the audio here:
- Got a question for You Ask, I’ll Answer? Submit it here!
- Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more useful marketing tips.
- Find older episodes of You Ask, I Answer on my YouTube channel.
- Need help with your company’s data and analytics? Let me know!
- Join my free Slack group for marketers interested in analytics!
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Stephanie asks, so I’m curious, what is the value of PR? What do companies gain from it PR in this case means public relations.
And this is an excellent question, with a lot of caveats, because I say this is someone who worked in a public relations agency for half a decade.
And seeing all of the ups and downs all of the amazing successes and terrible failures of public relations, the value of PR, at least, someone has sat through dozens, if not hundreds, of sales pitches, is the way its pitch is the a potential promise of exponential returns.
Pr is value.
The value of public relations, when you do it well, is awareness and trust, you build awareness of your brand.
And you build trust in that brand.
And the way you build awareness is by getting into publications and media outlets, of all kinds where you might not get otherwise or where you might be ignored.
So it’s fine to run ads, and you absolutely do need to run ads to grow a business.
But as we all know, from practical experience, people tend to ignore ads, especially if they’re not very well done.
So PR helps you get into different parts of a website, a blog, a TV show, etc, where people are possibly paying more attention.
So that’s one aspect.
The second is trust, the idea that with good placement, meaning meaning you get into the publications you care about, you are building credibility you are building trust in your brand.
If people if you see somebody else talking about a brand, it can be more credible than the brand itself talking about how awesome they are.
And so those are the values of PR, the exponential returns is a a pitch as well that if you get into a a top tier publication, New York Times Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Casey nice, that’s YouTube channel, whatever top tier means in your industry, you will generate returns that are outsized for compared to two other channels.
For example, in advertising advertising is generally treated as a linear model, meaning that if you put 1 into the machine, most of the time, you’re going to get like, you know,1, five or 1 10 out, right, and it’s a very, very predictable, in many cases, safe investment, you put10, behind a booth post, you’re going to get a certain number of eyeballs, it won’t be many, right.
So it’s a linear return, you have to spend commensurate to the reach and awareness that you want to buy.
The promise of public relations is that you can get significantly more.
In some cases, if you use PR taxes, if you do manage to land in, you know how to Casey United States YouTube channel or you manage to be in cocoa, roaches, Instagram, and you didn’t pay to be there.
You could get you could see, you know, 100,000 or 200,000 views, clicks, whatever, to your media that you manage to get placed.
There’s catch with this, there’s a whole bunch of catches with this.
Pr is not cheaper than advertising.
When you work with a mid size or a large firm, you could be paying one company I know charges 15 to 20,000 a month minimum for for their efforts.
Now they are a mid size firm.
So there are smaller boutiques that will charge you, you know, anywhere from three to five to10,000 a month, but it’s still a decent chunk of change.
So there’s that.
And all of this, all of this is contingent on one thing that tends to make PR fall very, very short.
And it is this you have to not suck as a company, your product or services have to not suck.
So if you have a product that’s twice the price and half the quality, guess what you will have no luck with PR just like you’re probably not having any luck with your advertising or any of your other marketing.
If your if your CEO is being arrested for high crimes and misdemeanors, guess what a PR firm is not going to be able to fix that you need to get rid of your SEO.
Pr like advertising of all forms of marketing is an amplifier, it amplifies a message if the message is we have mediocre products that are virtually indistinguishable from what our competitors bring to market and our competitors are cheaper and have better service.
Pr is not going to help you.
It can actually hurt you.
I have seen instances where a company was insistent on doing PR.
And their product was terrible.
And they went out to market and they’re like, Oh, we need to call all these reporters and do all this outreach.
And and the people I know what the old company were doing that and the reporters are like, this is a piece of junk, who nobody wants this, this is this is useless, right.
And not only did this company not get the coverage that they wanted, they got negative coverage out of it, they got you know, people saying well the other, there are other alternatives in this particular product line, but they’re generally low quality and and not worth buying.
Right, that’s certainly not covered that you want.
So PR is incredibly dependent on you not sucking and not not having a terrible product or service.
And before you invest money in public relations or advertising or content marketing or influencer marketing or anything, you have to make sure that what you have to offer is worthwhile.
Now do you need to hire someone to do PR, it is a time consuming thing.
To do PR.
If you are willing to commit a lot of time to it, you absolutely can hire somebody in house to do it.
And most brands, larger brands have an in house personal or in house team to do all this.
And then they may supplement with an outside firm for certain types workers certain periods of time.
That said, Unless you have something really great, don’t go down that route yet.
focus on improving the product.
When it comes to hiring firms, it really depends on on whether you have more money than time.
If you have more money than time, you just don’t have the people.
And you’re not gonna be able to get the headcount done.
Yeah, hire a firm to do it if you’ve got the budget, but you don’t have the head and you’re not allowed to increase headcount.
Hire a firm, that’s a pretty safe way to do it.
But again, no matter which firm you talk to, you’re going to hear a lot of pitches talking about you know, the the amazing results that that agencies get, that’s only true if your product doesn’t suck.
And what you will find is, and where I think PR makes the most sense is if you have a product that is good, that is getting some traction, but it’s not getting enough, you’ve gotten some successes, you’ve made it to like third tier publications, and the coverage you’ve gotten the press you’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive, then you would leverage a relationship that an agency might have in order to get to higher levels of important some bigger names in your space.
But if you’re not getting if you’re not, if no one’s paying attention to you now, there’s a good chance that no one will pay attention to you in the future, even with you know, putting $20,000 a month to work on it.
So just keep that in mind.
When you have a great product, the value of PR is that exponential return people talk about you people pay attention to you people may even wait for you and want to talk about what you have to offer.
When you know what you’re doing.
And when you make media outlets look good.
They will call you do if you built those relationships over time.
So that’s the value of PRX financial returns if your product doesn’t suck awareness and trust there’s some videos I’ll link up to one in the show notes on how to measure it because one of the other sticking points of the of the entire PR industry is that they are uniformly bad at measurement.
That’s a topic for another time so as always, please leave your comments in the comments box below.
Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and to the newsletter.
I’ll talk to you soon.
What help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.
This is trusted insights.ai and let us know how we can help you
You might also enjoy:
- The Evolution of the Data-Driven Company
- Transforming People, Process, and Technology, Part 1
- Best Practices for Public Speaking Pages
- Almost Timely: The 2020 Essays
- How to Set Your Public Speaking Fee
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of AI For Marketers