We all know that business thrives on good relationships. After all, who doesn’t prefer to trade with people they like and trust?
The same goes for public relations. At Arch Communications, we like to play the PR long game – because the longer we work with you and the better we know you, the more we can achieve.
There are several compelling reasons why you need to play the long game, if you’re serious about having PR as part of your marketing strategy.
Reputations take time
Reputations take time to build. A brand grows through people’s experience of it and what they hear from others.
You try a new restaurant. Afterwards, you repeatedly tell friends and family about the fabulous meal you’ve had. By the time you’ve booked a second visit, your recommendation is starting to spread. Eight months later, the restaurant is not only a regular haunt for you, but 25 other people have also dined there as a result of your glowing reviews.
This is how good PR works. With the right approach and contacts, a one-off piece of positive media coverage is not that difficult to achieve. But unless it’s something truly spectacular, you’re unlikely to see any sustainable business benefit (although it might make you feel good!).
The trick is to develop a proper plan which maps out a series of PR opportunities at regular intervals (say, once a month) over a period of time. It is this consistent ‘drip drip’ effect which really builds your profile and makes people more aware of your brand.
This is why we much prefer to work with clients over an extended period – so that we can deliver the plan we’ve built with them.
Finding the right stories
Finding the right stories for press coverage is a bit of an art. It helps a lot if you understand how journalists think and the angle that’s likely to interest them. That’s why PR teams often include former journalists – ourselves included!
What’s more, many organisations simply overlook the true PR potential within them. Whatever makes them special is something they do every day, so they don’t recognise it as worth sharing. So when they try and gain some media interest, they often offer up the wrong story and get nowhere.
To find the right stories, we need to know the client really well – the history, why the business was set up, the people in it, its work and USPs, the expertise…
This comes from asking lots of questions and spending time together – another reason why a lasting relationship is more productive.
Some stories just happen, but others have to be made. Successful PR is a combination of solid planning, media nous and a healthy dollop of creative thinking. A long-term plan can build in time to generate opportunities from nothing:
- Holding an event
- Running a survey
- Organising an eye-catching stunt
- Authoring articles or white papers to associate your brand with thought leadership
These are just a few examples. You can read about what makes news in a chapter from our Business Leader’s Guide to Great Communications. Download it here.
Take every opportunity
Having an ongoing PR plan increases your ability to take every opportunity. With this is mind, it’s important to remember that PR shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.
A long feature about how you’re innovating in your industry is great for a specialist trade magazine, but a national paper will want something more hard-hitting. TV won’t be interested unless there are good pictures to be had. Although, perhaps you could be a case study in a wider piece about the economy?
Then there are the opportunities to use your media activity to seed other content, for you to use in your social media activity and blogs.
This is why your PR plan needs variety, with the full range of different media channels being targeted over time. It’s an approach which will maximise the coverage you get, reach the largest number of people and keep you in the public eye.
When all these factors come together – an enduring commitment to PR, solid planning, the ability to spot, create and seize opportunities – the results can take public awareness of a business to a whole new level.
In this way, PR can boost your sales, help you to recruit the best people and strengthen your reputation – which is probably the most precious benefit of all.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s why we at Arch Communications are always looking for businesses which want to build a long-term relationship with us, because they can see what’s possible.
In effect, we can become your dedicated PR team on an ongoing basis – building relationships with journalists, fielding enquiries, helping to craft articles and other content, and being there to offer advice whenever you need it.
If this is something which interests you, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line at [email protected].