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Leveraging PR Tactics to Improve Your Bottom Line
January 27, 2015
If you’re familiar with the public relations industry, then you’re probably familiar with the ways the general public defines PR’s value—PR is key for communicating with an organization’s publics, relationship building, creating brand identity, generating awareness, reputation management and more. But rarely is PR referred to as a sales generator. One reason for this is because it is difficult to justify PR’s value, and as a default, PR’s success is often measured solely by impressions (interactions with customers) or media coverage. However, when conducted and measured the right way, PR can be about much more than getting media coverage. PR has the power to generate leads and impact sales.
If you think about it, many of the fundamentals used to make a sale are the same as those used in PR, such as relationship building, providing evidence for a product or service’s value and demonstrating credibility. A well-placed article, interview or TV segment is great, but it’s what happens as a result that can help positively impact the bottom line.
The following are tactics in the PR arsenal that have proven to not only generate positive media coverage, but also directly support sales and marketing initiatives, nurture leads and directly drive sales.
Case studies. A strategically placed case study in a leading trade publication (that your customers actually read!) is pure gold—it serves as a proof-point and showcases how a product or service solves problems and delivers results in the real world. By demonstrating practical applications, case studies have been known to result in direct follow-up calls and inquiries from potential customers.
White papers. White papers are a highly effective tool to provide customers with valuable information. Using a mix of data, studies, infographics and more, white papers identify problems and present well-thought-out solutions. White papers with audience-specific content that aim to educate, not sell, can be highly persuasive and an invaluable tool in lead generation. Any form of content can help generate leads, but white papers are especially effective because most require customers to fill out their contact information in order to download the information. Research firm MarketingSherpa reports that 69 percent of prospects who download a white paper will actively pass it along to their colleagues, and 36 percent of total downloads will be passed on to a supervisor.
Thought leadership articles. Thought leadership is attained when a business is recognized for having innovative ideas or being an expert in a certain area. A thought leadership article endorses the benefits of a product or service in a non-promotional way, all the while building organizational credibility and establishing a reputation as an industry expert. If the article is educational, communicates the value of a product or service and steers clear of explicit promotion, it can be a very valuable tool in the sales process.
Blogs. Company blogs are a great way to push out useful information that is tailored to what current and potential customers might want to know. When customers are in the researching phase, they will likely visit an organization’s website to learn more about a product or service. Maintaining a company blog allows the company to have control over what information is out there, and gives it the opportunity to provide customers with the information they are looking for – beyond a brochure or sell sheet. Blogs also help foster leads by communicating with audiences in a more personal way, without sounding like a sales pitch.
At its core, public relations is about making contacts, building and maintaining relationships, and helping businesses improve their bottom line. These content marketing strategies are just a few ways to get from point A to point B.