Despite PR being a service department of many companies, it is regularly undervalued in terms of what people want to pay for rather than what they know it is worth. There is a lack of understanding about what PR is, how it works and what it can deliver for businesses when it is committed to and invested in it. This is often because PR is rooted in a conversation and the result in a publication is not paid for which can be considered ‘easy’. Below, we’ve explained some of the reasons why PR is sometimes not valued and our thoughts on these.
You don’t pay for editorial coverage
Traditional PR involves pitching for editorial coverage in print and digital titles. It is key to understand the difference between PR and advertising. With advertising, a business would pay for it, whereas editorial, secured via PR, is considered earned media, and therefore isn’t paid for. PR can also often be thought of as achieving column inches. Since businesses do not pay for the column inches they secure, press pitching can sometimes be undervalued and disregarded as easy or unimportant or as simple as having a chat. This misunderstands the purpose of these column inches and the time, research and skill that has been applied to secure this coverage.
However, through these column inches, your business generates brand awareness through reaching thousands if not millions of people, which is highly valuable. This helps it remain top of mind of your target audience and represents another touch point your customers interact with on their purchase journey. Given customers often interact with a brand across five or six different touchpoints before converting, these column inches are an important piece in that jigsaw and represent great exposure and value for your business.
It’s intangible and not easily quantifiable
Unlike performance marketing channels such as PPC advertising, you can’t look at a spreadsheet to see the ROI of your PR efforts. There is no direct conversion that can be proven which in turn means people don’t place enough value on PR results because they don’t directly link to a tangible ROI.
However, while it’s not always easy to determine whether PR activity has led to direct sales, it’s still an important element of your overall brand marketing strategy. By building a positive public perception of your brand, your audience is more likely to consider buying your goods or services when they come to make a purchase. It also allows you to have the publication logo and links to the coverage on your website. When customers are doing their due diligence they can see this third party validation of your business, further helping your conversion rates.
PR is not done well
Because PR is often disregarded and left to the last minute, people can tend to rush it and do a bad job. They may feel they have spent some time on PR but without a decent lead time, their efforts are wasted and they won’t see results. With a better understanding of how PR works and what time journalists need to research and write a story, people can pitch to them with enough lead time to achieve coverage.
You can never do enough PR
By its very nature, PR is a fully proactive task and can feel like an endless role. There is always more you could do, whether it’s another journalist you could pitch to, another press release you could write or another event you could organise and host.
Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to know when you’ve done a good job for your business. However, it’s
important to know when you’ve done enough PR outreach for your business. Setting proper time boundaries with your PR time can help however these will be different for every business. Being able to step back when you’ve done enough will mean you feel confident that PR is a manageable and beneficial element of your role.
To learn more about owning your PR in-house, email email@example.com.