Debunking 4 PR Myths
Public Relations is:
- A) Not needed – aren’t newspapers dead?
B) Expensive and too hard to measure
C) Not worth my time – we’re on Facebook!
D) An effective marketing technique that should be a part of your marketing program
Many people narrowly define public relations as an effort to place articles in newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets. And as traditional media has battled against the rise of digital outlets and changing media consumption habits, PR has seen its share of criticism as “old school” or even “endangered.”
Public relations is not the same as media relations. In our view, it is literally relating to your public. In 1982, the National Assembly of the Public Relations Society of America formally adopted this definition of the craft:
- “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”
The concept of “adapting mutually” is a great one. Technology advances mean consumers are adapting to rapid changes in the way they gather information, share knowledge and act. Change is sometimes unwelcome and often painful. Companies must adapt as well. It’s time to break away from traditional definitions and really consider what are the best ways to engage and strengthen bonds with your customers and prospects.
To find out how PR can be 14 times more effective than advertising, read on for statistics about the ROI of PR, insights for your program and some case studies. We are sure you’ll find something to relate to in this month’s newsletter.
Got a need, question or other feedback? I’m only an email away – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President, Client Services
DEBUNKING FOUR MYTHS ABOUT PUBLIC RELATIONS
Here are four common misconceptions about public relations, debunked by the Creating Results team.
Myth 1. No one reads the paper anymore.
Repeat after us: print is not dead. Neither are magazines or network television, though it’s true readership and TV news viewership have been declining. The Magazine Industry notes that 300 million people have subscriptions to magazines (including a healthy portion of Baby Boomers). TV viewing is at its highest point in history.
Media and media consumption are evolving. Studies show that even the most faithful newspaper readers, members of the Silent and Greatest Generations, are not picking up the “Daily Blatt” (as Erin’s father-in-law calls local papers) with the same frequency. Online news consumption is on the rise.
As Nielsen put it, “media is on demand, but content is still king.”
More than ever consumers are seeking out content that helps them make decisions. They want it to be credible, objective, and easy to find. They want content to be in their language, to be relevant to their passions and interests.
This just means it’s more important than ever to understand your target audience – what they spend their time on, which channels of information are preferred, which channels are more motivating. Then, you must adapt your messages to meet those preferences. You must work to build relationships with the blogs and online news sites trusted by your targets.
Myth 2. We don’t need PR – we’re on Facebook!
That’s terrific, and it’s important for SEO (see below). And if you’re truly committed to relating to your publics, the dialogue social media encourages is a fantastic way to nurture brand loyalty.
First, remember that not everyone else is on Facebook. (You can find statistics on social networking and Gen X, Baby Boomers and Silents on our blog.)
If you do have an account, think about the last three links you clicked on or followed from a social media site. Most likely, the majority were to news items. This is because getting news is now a social act.
Print publications and broadcast outlets now stream their content onto the Web. You can like/friend/follow/fan any of the sites or the journalists. You can email, like, rate, and share any article or brief. This is the way news now spreads. Not by clipped articles that are posted on individual refrigerators but in snapshots that are posted to 200+ friends on Facebook.
In fact, the Pew Research Center found that 75% of online news consumers get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites. An active public relations program will ensure your organization has fresh and relevant news and content to pump into the social media stream.
The very act of sharing news gives it additional credibility and authenticity (two values especially important to mature, 40+ consumers).
Myth 3. We should be investing in our web site.
As we noted above, consumers are looking for content to help them make decisions. Your web site can be a terrific resource.
But how will your targets find you? The answer is most likely via search engines.
Search is the #2 activity of Americans online (Pew, 2009) and the level of search activity does not vary substantially across generations. PR can improve your search engine visibility and make it easier for search engines (and qualified prospects) to find you.
Through optimized press releases, white papers and other communications materials, you’ll be creating a stream of keyword-rich content. This will increase the quality of your site for those keywords in the eyes of Google, Yahoo! and company.
If you share useful content from other sites that is relevant to your audience, you’ll increase the number of links to/from your site, which is great for SEO (search engine optimization). Visitors also will respect and appreciate the effort you made to be a resource.
And finally, when you post a link to coverage – whether in a traditional media outlet, on a blog, on an online news site or other source – you gain third-party credibility for your brand’s message.
Myth 4. Public relations won’t generate sales.
In fact, several studies have shown that PR outperforms advertising in generating sales by as much as 14 to 1. PR notable Mark Weiner has reported on this effect several times. In one case, a beverage brand measured the impact of its various marketing investments and found trade advertising delivered a return of $2.20 for every dollar spent; public relations delivered $8.00 for every $1.00 spent.
In another case, Weiner looked at AT&T’s marketing mix. PR was the most efficient marketing channel with a cost per acquisition of $15 (vs. $95 for advertising). And positive media coverage increased the success of other marketing.
A relatively low amount spent on PR can not only deliver high ROI, it can lift the impact of all other marketing.
Curious about how the role Public Relations could play in your organization’s marketing mix?
Talk to your Creating Results account manager or call Todd at 888-205-8899, ext 13.
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CASE STUDIES - PUBLIC RELATIONS & MATURE CONSUMERS
The Parke at Ocean Pines - Persistent PR leads to an active adult community’s selection as one of the nation’s 100 best places to retire.
Rumford Center – No ads? No direct mail? PR becomes the main tool to drive leads to a mixed-use community.
Westminster at Lake Ridge – Without adding to the marketing budget, PR lifts the results of direct mail and generates leads for this CCRC.
Buzz Building/Event-Driven PR
GlenRiddle – A press conference featuring golfer Jim Furyk lifts traffic and sales to record levels for this Eastern Shore destination.
Arora Hills – A Corn Maze for charity generates goodwill, press and a steady stream of visitors (more than 2600 in 3 months!) for a master-planned community.
Campaign for Your New Potomac Hospital – Integrated PR and marketing raise awareness and funds for a DC area hospital.
The Ocean House – “Dog days” of summer, taken literally, results in community relations and local press during a critical permitting phase.
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