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Considering PR? 4 Reasons You Should, and 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t

For most businesses, PR is not the first marketing activity they undertake. It tends to be added to the mix to help raise their profile. But traditional PR (i.e. gaining coverage in printed or online publications) is one of the most difficult activities to measure and also can be one of the more expensive (assuming you are using a PR agency). Whilst that shouldn’t put you off, before you commit to a 12 month agreement with a PR agency, consider the reasons why you want to add PR to your list of marketing-things-to-do.

So, 4 reasons why you should, and shouldn’t, consider PR…

4 Reasons why you should consider PR:

1. To launch a product or service.

Probably one of the longest standing uses of PR and it’s still valuable today. Get your target audiences right, target publications right, messages right, then arrange a ‘press tour’. Visit or speak to all the relevant editors and journalists that you can to show them your amazing product or service and importantly, why it is relevant to the publication’s readership.

2. To build a content base.

An often overlooked benefit of PR is in its re-use. When you gain press coverage, you need to re-use it wherever you can – add coverage content to your website, brochures, newsletters, proposal documents, emails, letters etc. Be careful not to copy the content word for word unless you have approval from the publication, but summarising the coverage in your own words is fine. And don’t forget to add a glossy folder of your press coverage in your office reception – people will choose to flick through it above any magazines or newspapers.

3. To support a wider SEO strategy.

Online press coverage in particular can give you valuable back-links to your website. This is assuming the online publication does add a link to your website in the article. If they do, then those back-links from credible and relevant websites are equally as valuable in SEO terms as the content you put on your site, so get as many as you can.

4. To help recruit and retain good staff.

If you are trying to hire employees with skills that are in demand, then your coverage could be what tips the balance to them joining you. People want to work for companies that are recognised for their areas of expertise. If those people are then involved in contributing to future coverage, you further gain their buy-in to your business and its cause.

4 Reasons why you shouldn’t consider PR:

1. To drive more people to your website.

In almost all cases, traditional PR is well down the list of ways in which to drive traffic to your website. Paid online advertising will provide a more stable source of traffic and a greater ROI (assuming you are having to pay a PR agency for your coverage).

2. To generate direct enquiries.

PR is often quoted as being the hardest marketing activity to measure. One reason for this is that it very rarely generates direct enquiries. So, unless your amazing new product has just been given a glowing review in The Times, it’s unlikely people will contact you after reading your coverage.

3. To raise your profile in your own market.

When embarking on a PR plan, be careful which publications you target. If you work in the IT sector for instance, do you want all your coverage in the IT press? Yes these publications will be read by potential customers, but they will also have a significant readership made up of your competition. Your coverage will also be fighting for air against the other IT firms’ coverage. Think laterally. Look for coverage that will be read by your customers, but won’t be crowded out by competitors. For instance an IT firm could give IT advice to solicitors, or the travel industry, or banks – all published in industry magazines that are not focused on IT, but are read by potential customers.

4. To make you feel good.

There is no doubt that when a respected publication publishes an article that is either written by you or quotes you, your ego gets a boost. But don’t let that cloud your judgement as to whether your investment in PR and the coverage you are gaining is delivering a business benefit as well as a personal benefit.

In summary

Whether you choose PR or not, do recognise that the world of PR is changing. Printed publications and their readerships are declining, online mediums are increasing rapidly, and the coverage you gain is very much the start of the PR process not the end.

About the Author: Andrew Huggett is a professional marketer who helps businesses gain greater results from their marketing.

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