The world of PR doesn’t have a good reputation at the best of times. Jennifer Saunders’ colourful representation of the industry, through her creation Edina in Ab Fab, showed its – let us be generous – superficial side.
But the Bell Pottinger episode is going a whole stage further. Running a campaign on behalf of a client which spreads racial division is deplorable and if you already had a dim view of PR you are now likely to have had all your worst fears confirmed.
Anyone with little or no experience of PR could be forgiven for being put off for life.
So why go down the PR route?
This blog isn’t an apology for PR. Some practices, while not as extreme as Bell Pottinger’s, are pretty shabby, sometimes tasteless, sometimes crude, and often ineffective.
Actually, this blog is a bit of PR for PR itself. Because in the right hands, a PR campaign can have a fantastic impact on a business, on a charity, or on an organisation in a way that a costly advertising campaign can never have.
Because PR is all about promoting yourself, or your organisation in the best light, getting endorsement from others, without paying for advertising. There’s nothing wrong with advertising, but it’s not enough to rely on it solely. Similarly, PR alone may not be sufficient to raise your profile, enhance your reputation and win more business. You may need to do a bit of both.
Tips for a successful PR strategy
- Dovetail what you do with your overall business plan and, most importantly, your marketing and social media strategies
- Look at what is going on within the business, what your staff are doing, what your good news stories are and draw up a plan of what news you can send out when and to where
- Link press release issues with social media and marketing campaigns – the more places you are seen, the more effective the campaigns will be
- Be targeted with your media releases – get yourself seen where your audience is lurking
- Measure your success – where were you seen? By how many people? What impact did a particular campaign have? And learn from mistakes. If your campaign fell on deaf ears, work out why
If you want to find out a little bit more about PR, how it can help your business, and why we’re honestly not all like Bell Pottinger please get in touch.