In today’s day, there’s no way a brand can do without a sound PR strategy. It’s the most effective and organized way to be heard within your industry and by your target groups. Public relations operations are now more important than ever before, mostly since social media’s reach has made reputations matter even more.
Additionally, when ‘fake news’ is rampant among news cycles, business success and trust go hand in hand with managing reputation and perception for your brand. This is where PR comes in.
Public relations is not just press conferences and interviews. While these are important in their own right, PR involves strategy, reputation management, thought-leadership and much more.
It refers to all the strategic communication approaches or processes that help build mutually beneficial bonds between a brand and its ‘publics’. Before we dive into understanding how to create an effective PR strategy, let’s understand why we need PR in the first place.
Why Do Brands Need PR?
1. It Boosts Brand Awareness
Learning how to create an effective PR strategy can help generate interest in your brand within the right target groups. It also allows you to support, amplify and reinforce marketing campaigns. By strengthening and increasing brand awareness, you set yourself up for a win.
2. It Aids Your Lead Generation Efforts
An effective PR strategy helps you get more eyeballs for your brand’s products and services, which support your lead generation efforts. Needless to say, by attracting high-quality leads, your business will grow in tandem.
3. It Helps You Establish Trust With Effective Branding
A sound PR strategy will aid your marketing campaigns and bring clarity to your brand’s identity. By focusing on your brand’s USPs and other vital characteristics, you have the opportunity to give your brand a humane touch.
4. It Helps Your Crisis Management Efforts
Sooner or later, all brands have to deal with a crisis. It happens to the best of us, but having a robust plan to manage these situations with your PR strategy will help maintain a favourable public image for your brand.
5. Its Effectiveness Trumps Advertising
It’s no secret that earned media generates more significant and more valuable returns than paid media. Be it positive reviews, ratings, customer testimonials, word-of-mouth recommendations or organic media coverage, earned media will always be more trusted than traditional advertising.
6. It Helps Create and Maintain Long-Lasting Relationships
In the course of conducting your day-to-day PR activities, you will generate goodwill for your brand and establish lasting relationships across many verticals. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that this will help you in many ways down the line.
7. Helps You Recruit The Best in The Business
With a sound PR strategy to back you up, your brand will come across as a reputed and sound thought leader and titan in the industry. This will help you attract the best talent to work with you, and eventually, it also helps you grow the business.
How To Create An Effective Brand PR Strategy?
Now that we’ve understood the benefits of having a robust PR strategy let’s understand how to create an effective PR strategy for your brand.
1. Set Clear Brand Positioning Goals
Many people mistake PR for this tool that only aids in generating buzz for product launches or events. While it certainly involves that, PR also looks at elevating and amplifying what your company does on a daily basis.
Your PR activities can help your brand generate and sustain awareness, credibility, and interest in a very lasting manner. However, none of this can happen without having clear brand positioning goals.
For starters, think of the bigger picture. What do you want your brand to stand for? How do you want your brand to be perceived? What feelings or emotions do you want your audience to feel when they think of you?
While short-term goals like getting more registrations to an event, landing more sales and generating buzz about new products are all important, think about your long-term goals. By answering the big questions, you’ll be clear on how to position your brand to the public.
This, in turn, will help you pick the most relevant writers, journalists, media outlets etc. that can help you put forth and reinforce that brand image.
2. Identify and Utilize the Right Communication Outlets
The average audience in today’s day wants content that is unique, engaging, informative and delivered to them through reputed and trust-worthy sources. This means everything from experts, industry leaders, content creators, journalists, writers and individual contributors.
Identifying the content your target publics consume will help you choose the right communication outlets to include in your PR strategy. Once you have identified these outlets, websites, channels and publications, go ahead and pitch your proposition. If you’ve done your homework well, you will reach the right audience.
Read: Top PR Skills
3. Prepare Good Pitches
A good PR pitch is one that gives the prospect everything they need to decide whether or not your story aligns with their needs. Additionally, presenting your information in a way that appeals to the recipient’s sensibilities will always prove beneficial. Please do your research before pitching and look into what they need and how your content may benefit them.
To drive home your point, include an easy-to-read list of key points, pertinent facts and figures, sources, as well as an overarching communication angle. Go ahead and add an article summary, quotes from experts, a title suggestion, and you’ve got yourself a pitch that may improve the odds for your success.
While your pitch in itself is crucial to land media coverage, you should also pay keen attention to your presentation and people skills. Most of the people you interact with are busy, and probably hear pitches from many executives daily. Be respectful of their time and push yourself to be clear, concise and offer value.
Show that you care about more than just what’s in it for your brand or client by building long-term relations that aren’t purely transactional. And as it has always been, it never hurts to be friendly.
4. Create and Market High-Quality Content Regularly
Every pitch you make is about content. Content is king, indeed. Modern-day PR isn’t about self-promotional content that doesn’t do much except shout out a one-dimensional message. Today, it’s all about offering value to your network. Think whether what you’re saying will add value to the reader in any way.
By creating content that aligns with your brand’s goals and helps solve your audience’s problems, you’re setting yourself up to improve brand perception.
The fact of the matter is that a strong PR strategy has a symbiotic relationship with a sound marketing strategy. Since these two processes fuel each other, your content marketing efforts matter just as much. Additionally, it never hurts to create high-quality content on a consistent basis. From a marketing perspective, this helps you gain engagement.
It also enables you to build a stronger connection with your target group, all of which have long-term benefits for your brand. In the long run, the right content can help you become respected as an industry leader and a trustworthy source.
5. Stay Consistent
PR is not a one-day activity. When you learn how to create an effective PR strategy, you discover that consistency separates the average from the great. Whether it is about creating content or maintaining a strong network of contacts, consistency is crucial.
It is important to keep up with your goals on a daily basis. Follow up with your contacts when needed, and send out pitches in time. As is the case in every industry, keep an eye out for industry news, trends, latest updates and the competition.
Slowly working towards achieving success for your brand will help you reap the rewards in the short and long term.
Checkout: How to become a PR Freelancer in India?
While this article can act as a thought-starter for all the PR professionals wondering how to create an effective PR strategy, it can only do so much.
If you are looking to get into Public Relations, we have just the right opportunity for you. upGrad offers a Master’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Mumbai through its 2-year online program. There is a 6-month inbuilt internship included in the curriculum that comprises 30 learning hours.