Need public relations? Think about the future first

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In the mind of almost every business owner, there comes a time when they think something like “my business could use some PR help”.

It dawns on people at different times. Sometimes before a new startup launches, or before a new feature is introduced, or when sales numbers don’t take off as expected. But almost as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, a business leader will, at a minimum, toss around the idea of ​​leveraging public relations to help in their endeavors.

It’s a good and natural thought, but what I’ve seen happen many times over my career is that beyond the initial realization that PR could be of help, few Thought is given to the rest of the concept.

If you recently had the revelation that public relations can be a tool to help you achieve your business goals, allow me to encourage you to consider three important concepts that will allow you to get the most out of this business.

Related: 4 Simple Reasons Your Small Business Should Have a Public Relations Strategy

Go for more than a “big splash”

“I just need a big splash.” This is not an uncommon thought for a business owner when thinking about public relations. Usually when they think of that splash, they envision a feature article in a top-tier publication or a full segment of a show like hello america. While these types of media successes are sure to drive traffic to your website, drive increased social media attention, and perhaps even create new business leads, it’s important to think beyond their immediate consequences, as the Fallout from this splash will eventually flatten out.

Ask yourself, “What do I want the splash to actually do for my business?” »

Yes, making a big splash is useful. But what’s even more helpful is having a plan in place to leverage that media attention into a specific, sustained momentum. We live in a culture of shiny objects, and as soon as your big hit has its moment in the sun, your audience’s collective attention will be thirsty for that next shiny object. Be prepared to promote these media successes in your email marketing campaigns, put money behind them on social media so more eyes can engage with them, and find ways to give them a runtime. longer life on your own website.

There are all kinds of ways to prolong the ripple effect of your media successes, but also think about how you’re going to maintain that momentum after the big hit. A successful PR campaign is much more nuanced than a one-trick pony. Challenge yourself to bring the focus back to your PR strategy and build a plan that, instead of starting and ending with the splash, uses the splash as the start of a long-term effort.

Related: How to Amplify PR Opportunities for Your Business

Start with the end in mind

Whenever I meet someone to talk about PR, the fundamental question of the conversation is, “What do you want PR to do for your business?”

The mistake I’ve seen many business owners make on a regular basis is to focus on the “big bang” and go after it without really knowing exactly what they want it to do for the business. company. Sometimes they do this because they see PR as a game of vanity, they view PR through a short-sighted view, or they simply have no real understanding of the discipline.

When I coach people on PR, we usually start with their (rather) long-term business goals and then discuss how specific PR deliverables can help them achieve those goals. Ultimately, public relations, like all other parts of your business, should help you achieve your business goals. When you use them as your North Star, it becomes much easier to come up with a PR plan that has value beyond your friends saying, “Hey, I saw you on the news!”

So start with the end in mind and reverse engineer a program that will help you achieve your overall business plan.

Related: 3 Initial Steps to Building Your Own PR and Getting Great Results

What will success look like?

One of the biggest frustrations of PR professionals is the fact that it is very difficult to measure the monetary effectiveness of a PR program – tying specific deliverables to a tangible return on investment.

Say you had to go up hello america. Yes, you might see an increase in website traffic and overall activity, but can all the business coming in behind your appearance be attributed to this media success alone? No. Or what if your organization wins a particular award? Can you say “this price generated X amount of sales?” Again, no.

That’s why it’s important when you’re considering diving into public relations that you and your team agree from the start on what success will look like. If you don’t, at some point in the future you’ll probably find yourself retroactively trying to figure out if what you did was successful. I’ve been in these conversations in the past, and they’re not fun. Some people on your team will say, “Yeah, that was great,” while others will shrug their shoulders and mumble something like, “I don’t know,” and others will say it wasn’t a win.

Decide early on which key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to gauge success. These may be unique to your business. For some businesses, this can mean a significant boost in SEO and app downloads. For other organizations, it might be industry-specific leads and email newsletter signups. Whatever those specific metrics are, agree to them when developing your plan. This way, you will be able to agree more clearly on the success of your efforts.

The common theme of all three suggestions is that if you’re considering investing in public relations, you’ll be infinitely better off if you start thinking with the end in mind. PR is a long game. Quick hits can be won, but unless that lightning bolt in a bottle is part of something bigger, it will flicker fast.

About Nereida Nystrom

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