They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, yet bad PR is a term regularly bandied about in our industry. That’s because when it’s bad, we notice it; thinly veiled sales pitches, tenuous links to news hooks, and all too often repetitive and a bit ‘shouty’.
It’s really noisy out there. In an age where everyone can play at self-publishing, anyone can claim to be a social commentator and Google rankings are revered above all else, it’s no wonder many fall into the temptation of writing more and shouting louder.
Let’s not add to the din. In this brave, new, content-led world, let’s all agree that good PR matters more than ever…
In the same way that good SEO ultimately stems from writing good content, good PR should always start with being informed and interesting. And let’s face it, with this information overload, we all need a bit of informed and interesting in our lives don’t we?
Whilst still a highly skilled and specialised discipline, it’s been a long time since PR has stood alone as a business strategy. Good PR goes far beyond just column inches today; it can also inform content marketing strategies, support web optimization and increased findability; it can fuel intelligent outbound campaigns and help substantiate, validate and endorse sales propositions.
So, outside of the usual get yourself heard in the media and tell the word your story goodness, here are three other really good things that can happen when you do good PR:
1. The people-that-matter understand why you matter
Being heard is important, but good PR is built for more than that. It helps you become understood by those that matter, and further still, gain influence. As we’ve established, shouting loudly and often doesn’t cut it in today’s content-driven world. Listening, responding and adding real value does.
Instead of just broadcasting, find and join relevant debates, shake them up, comment on your customer’s careabouts, disagree with people. Good PR is rarely about you. Rather it positions and communicates how you fit into the wider world, the world of those-that-matter.
When someone else discusses why you matter, you matter more. Your audience recognise the independence in a journalist’s article, your market relevance in an industry panel debate, and your real value in a customer’s endorsement. They know you’ve earned it, and that makes a difference.
2. They know where to find you (as does Google)
Good PR also helps those people-that-matter notice you and your website, and when they’re there, find all your other influential and valuable content too. This is not about link cloaking and hyperlinking every other word in your newswire press release, it’s about getting referenced elsewhere, talked about, and published independently to heighten your findability.
This independent signposting is invaluable, and the 3rd party validation of the content increases its currency manyfold. The trusted ‘earned’ publishing, serves up your story as real, relevant, organic search results, which also helps Google takes more notice (that’s another blog for another day). Importantly, consumers get it. They know the difference between PPC and organic search results, they know the difference between an advert on how great a product is, versus an independent review doing the same, and their click through habits show it.
3. You earn and build their trust
Practicing good PR keeps you honest. In order for your ideas, content or news to be of any interest to third party publishers of any note, it’s got to be authentic and its got to be valuable. In this sense, it’s a pretty good gauge for any self-publishing your planning too.
We should all count ourselves lucky in the UK to have a technology and business media that is, for the most part, highly investigative, informed and healthily skeptical. To gain their interest, and that of their audience, you cannot be stagnant or sales-driven (or shouty for that matter). On the contrary, your story or view will only be worthy of consideration if it is refreshing, genuinely insightful, and tailored to their readership.
If you build your communications and content on good PR, you’re building relationships with your audience for the long term. Become a source of genuine insight for a journalist, and you become relevant, regularly, in the minds of your audience. Have a stance on something that’s backed up by experience and expertise and you position yourself as a thought leader where it matters. That takes you onto the speaker circuit, into discussions with the analyst community and influential industry bodies and not just heard, but understood in the media.
Whether online, offline, social, digital, above the line or below, I’m simply saying that traditional PR principles stand true; good PR is always meaningful, thoughtful and purposeful for the audience. It doesn’t shout or tell, it listens and responds; doesn’t compete with your self-published content, but complements it; doesn’t aim to just get you heard, but noticed, understood and trusted. Good PR really matters.