Public relations takes a lot of time, effort, and persistence. In marketing terms, this is known as “earned media,” which holds more weight than other types of media. Putting in the energy, however, it worth it at the end of the day and can put your business on equal footing with companies that have big marketing budgets. Maximizing PR efforts is especially important for new businesses that are looking to attract the attention of potential shoppers, partly because PR typically uses more credible outlets. Consider whether your shoppers are more inclined to trust a banner ad on a random webpage or an article or ad in a trusted publication like Forbes or Entrepreneur.
Stir up interest
Once you’ve got people’s attention, PR can help you increase their level of interest in your business. PR is great for stirring up interest because because the mediums it uses are considered more credible. As online marketing continues to blow up, the average customer is learning to tune out all the ads they are exposed to, with some shoppers being bombarded by up to 5,000 ads a day. With most of these ads being ignored, companies have to find other ways to target their shoppers. PR does not sell a product or service, it sells a story, which helps shoppers better connect with the product or service.
Amp up desire
Crafting stories using PR techniques is a great way to increase shopper desire because it can use principles that drive purchases like prestige, scarcity, and herd mentality. PR is also ideal for releasing case studies and testimonials that highlight how others have benefited by using your product or have used your product in a new, innovative way. You can use it to highlight the benefits of your product, rather than the features, which is a common mistake. For example, an oven may be self-cleaning and preheat in under five minutes. Those are features. Turn those into benefits. Shoppers will no longer have to clean their ovens and food will get to the table faster.
Encourage shoppers to take action
It’s a common fallacy that PR is great for increasing brand awareness but not so great for actually converting people into shoppers. Which is fine, that is not the main point of PR. But when paired with other advertising methods, PR is a great way to leverage those marketing efforts. For instance, partner PR with content marketing. Produce a whitepaper that highlights the results of a shopper survey, promote the whitepaper with PR, and use it to generate new leads.
It’s free evergreen content
If your marketing budget is not very big, you will not be able to maintain paid campaigns or get the level of exposure you really need. However, a news story, well-written white paper, or a relevant infographic will remain posted on credible sites and circulated for many years, each time driving shoppers back to your business. More importantly, this also helps build your business’s long-term credibility and reassures customers that your company is here to stay. Even better, evergreen content helps you get a foot in the door with perspective customers who stumble across your content months or even years after it was posted.
Highlight company achievements
Ultimately, PR is self-serving. Use PR to promote positive things your company has done in the community and highlight employee achievements that have a direct impact on the company. Part of the current struggle for many companies is humanizing their brand. Putting out a press release about the food drive you just held, the day the company spent volunteering or doing a beach cleanup, or the donation you made to a local charity will help shoppers see your company as more than business looking to turn a profit. It is also an opportunity to promote the press release on other avenues like your company blog and social media accounts.
Build a strong media network
One of the often overlooked benefits of using PR to attract new shoppers is building a strong media network. You might not think this offers an immediate benefit to your business, but growing a strong media network will make it easier to disseminate relevant content and information in the future. And the bigger the network, the more shoppers you will be able to reach. So as you reach out to potential media outlets, remember to be professional, nice, and keep the lines of communication open.
Of course, PR is no replacement for traditional marketing efforts. Use PR as part of a comprehensive strategy to attain new shoppers and watch your business boom.