Chapter 10: Public Relations – Be Your Own PR Agent

What Is Public Relations?

They say that no man is an island, and neither is any company. To do business means going out in the world and interacting with many people and organizations. Some of these are strictly business arrangements, but many, particularly those with consumers, involve a range of ‘soft’ factors. In addition, for a company to succeed, people must know it exists, and every company wants to control how it is known, and what for.

Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.

John D. Rockefeller

Companies spread information about themselves to the public, which includes not only clients and customers, but also suppliers, other companies inside and outside your market niche, and people who never have, and probably never will, come into direct contact with your company at all. Organizing and controlling that flow of information is the task we call Public Relations.

Public Relations, or PR, may include relatively straightforward matters such as announcing a new product, a charge in corporate structure, company milestones, or other company affairs. It may also include responding to external news – good or bad – that in some way affects the company and is therefore of importance to it. Companies put out PR in many different ways; everything from letters, tweets, interviews, press releases, advertisements and conferences are used to ‘do’ PR.

If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.

Bill Gates

PR is a mixture of journalism, psychology and lawyering.

John Torassian

When customers can choose from more than one supplier of something they want, the decision on who to use is complex. One important factor in that decision is what we can call REPUTATION.

This concept itself has numerous aspects, including price, although that is often not a major consideration in developing the reputation of a company. Factors such as honesty, dependability, integrity, concern for customers, and reliability are certainly part of the picture, but many other ‘soft’ factors come into play, which we can broadly call ‘public image’.

Lots of factors create this image Where, and under what conditions, goods are made; the life-style and salary of the CEO and other executives; employees conditions, salary and security; charitable and social activities; and even the employment of green and sustainable technology, all go together to create what in the end are parts of the brand of the company.

A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.

Richard Branson

Keep calm and hire a PR agent.

Anonymous

‘Spreading the news’ about a company, or reacting to bad news, are all PR tasks, and although PR helps to develop the brand of the company, it is a distinct activity from ‘branding’ as well as from the more straight-forward task of ‘advertising’. For small companies, PR is chiefly about interacting with the public in ways that create interest in the company. The goal is to raise the company profile, and if you are a very small company, to raise your persona profile to that of an expert in your particular field. By becoming an industry leader, your company benefits – it and you rise to the top of your niche.

Why Is Public Relations Important?

The goal of public relations is to develop, promote and maintain a favorable public image of your company, in good times and in bad.

If nobody knows you exist, you can have the best product or service in the universe, but you will not do any business. Many new business owners think that all the have to do is advertise, and customers will come – the old build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door idea. We all like the sound of this, but ask yourself, who would you buy a mousetrap from – a family of mice perhaps? Do you think that one will work well? How about from a cat? Hmm, why would he put himself out of business? I think you get the idea – we buy from someone who we think will sell us a good mousetrap.

So – as we have said before – your brand and image is in many ways more important to your success than your product or services. That is not to say for a moment you should neglect quality and excellence in what you actually do, that should be a given.

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Beyond that, however, building and protecting the right brand and image is almost as important as what you actually sell.
If you are still confused about the difference between advertising and PR – and do not worry, it is a common confusion, even among executives – here is the difference in a nutshell:

Advertising is saying you are good. PR is getting someone else to say you are good.

Unlike advertising, PR uses intermediaries, including customers, electronic and print-media, employees, industry analysts, and many other players, to get out your message. While you can carefully construct exactly what your advertisements say, you can’t control all those people. Without that control, PR gets messy, personal and depends on relationships with others. It is also unpredictable, as you never know what may happen, so you need to be ready to take advantage of opportunities that suddenly, randomly and unexpectedly present themselves.

PR affects many of the important metrics and activities of a company. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Repeat Customers – Remember that almost all your business comes from repeat customers. If they have a poor impression of your company, they will be less likely to come back, and they won’t send you new customers. So maintaining a strong public image and reputation through good PR is an important key to keeping and building your repeat-business base.
  • Sales: making money is the ultimate measure of your business success. Your bottom line is directly affected by your image. If you have a poor, or worse a bad, reputation, then you can guarantee that your sales will suffer.
  • Social media – It used to be said that since you couldn’t measure the success or failure of PR directly, it was not much use. Today it is possible to track clicks, likes and shares, so it is relatively easy to see if a story about your company is spreading, and to measure the responses to it.

Public Relations Is Important: Case Study

We were speaking of mousetraps, and we can see a lot about how PR can work for a company from this award-winning campaign to promote d-CON Bait Pellets II – a mouse poison produced by Reckitts.

Rather than just put the product on the shelves, run some ads on how effective it was, and maybe give out some coupons, Reckitts decided to build a broader market for their product through public relations.

They hired some reputable experts and scientists are the rodent control field to research US cities and develop a scientifically valid method of assessing rodent risk factors in urban settings. They then used that method to analyze the 32 largest US cities, and created a list of US cities most likely to have rodent problems. With appropriate publicity, such a piece of research found a ready place in the media, as a news or general interest story. Then Reckitts used that attention to leverage their d-CON product into the centre of this new interest in controlling rodents. This in turn raised public and municipal awareness of real and potential rodent problems.

As well, they chose four cities from the list and organized major Good Riddance to Rodents workshops for municipal leaders, to educate them on risk factors and mouse control. This was coordinated with advertising, and in-store demonstrations to educate consumers and offer d-CON as the solution.

The campaign gained the product 100 million impressions, in print, online, and broadcasting. Coverage included major outlets such as the New York Times, Boston Globe and Reuters. Although none of this could be called ‘advertizing’, it was highly effective in building the brand of their new product and produced a large volume of sales.

Seven Steps to a Public Relations Campaign

Step One: Define Your Goals

As in everything new you take on in your company, the first step in a public relations campaign is to define your goals and purpose. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve with this campaign? Your answers will help to direct your entire campaign, so take your time in deciding.

Here are some ideas of the typical goals and purpose of a PR campaign:

  • Open lines of communication between your company and the public. Once you are talking to the public, then you have a chance to get your message across. If the public begins to talk about you in positive ways, that enhance the brand of your company, then you are doing PR.
  • Define yourself and/or your company as an expert in your business niche, the go-to company, the top brand. Most people trust experts, and if you project an image of expertise, competence and knowledge, people will begin to quote you, spread your message and come to you when they have a need.
  • Create and build your company brand as an effective way to develop your business. Your brand is your life. Build it, nurture it and guard it at all costs.
  • Bring awareness of the products or services your company offers. Launching a new product is a classic place for a PR campaign. Big brands get millions of dollars’ worth of ‘free’ publicity from media interest in their new products – think of Apple, where every new launch is a major news story. Even the smallest business can grow awareness by original and creative PR activities.
  • Generate sales and leads. These are the lifeblood of any company. As is often said, ‘all publicity is good publicity’, and if your name is on people’s lips, then sales are just a click away.
  • Create and inspire customer loyalty towards your company by sending out a positive message. If you create news that spreads, then repeat customers will see it and remember you. Not only will they then be more likely to make a purchase, they may also act as further PR conduits by talking in a positive way about you to their friends and family.
  • Grow your primary reach (these are the subscribers to your website, blog, or email, as well as your followers on social networks). News about your company can spread faster when picked up through your followers, and that news will bring you fresh people and potential customers.

Of course, your personal goals and purpose may not be any of those listed, but these primary ideas are the commonest, and others are often variations on these themes. You may have multiple purposes for launching your public relations campaign, or you may have only one. Whatever you want to do – now is the time to set it down as clearly as you can.

Step Two: Do Your Research

Just as in every business activity, research is an important aspect of any public relations campaign. Since you want your PR to reach potential customers, then knowing who they are in vital – something you may have already done when branding and building your customer personas.

Here are a few characteristics of your target audience that are especially relevant to a PR campaign:

  • How old are they? It may be a broad demographic, such as everyone over eighteen. It could also be a small one, such as teenagers between thirteen and eighteen.
  • Where do they live? Do they live primarily in the United States, or is your target audience international as well? You may even be targeting a small collection of people who live within, say, one hundred miles of your company’s headquarters.
  • Why do they need your company? What is it that you offer them? Think outside of the box. Don’t just think about all the products you offer. Consider your key services, such as customer support. Publicizing that may be a good way to give your customers what they need.
  • What defines your customers? This is something unique about your audience, as there is about the audience of every company. If you offer high-end products, it might be that they have a large disposable income. If you offer culturally themed products, it may be that they are from a specific culture. Perhaps you offer professional services, meaning your customers work in a business-related field.

There are various ways to answer these questions. There may already be research on your business niche, done by someone else, which will give you the data you want. Look to see who is writing reviews on products or services you offer, and where. Check what type of people are already following you on various social media networks, on your blog, or your website. If you put all this information together, you should end up with a good sense of the target of your PR activities. If you haven’t already done this primary research, then it will also be very useful in almost all your other marketing activities.

Perception Analysis
This is a fancy way of describing the process of finding out what the public already thinks of your company, and how much that perception agrees with your own ideas of your company. Not only can this process highlight problem areas in how you the public perceives you, you will discover how realistic your own views are.

Obviously, if you are a new company this is not relevant, but if you have been around a little while, or you have just acquired an existing company, then finding out how people already see you is vital. After all, how can you change what you don’t know?

Looking at on-line reviews of your products and services – on your own site or on external sites – is a good place to start. These can give you a very clear (and perhaps uncomfortable!) picture of how you are perceived. Sending out a customer survey after every purchase is also an important way to collect this kind of data. You can measure customer satisfaction with product, price, delivery, support, and customer service this way.

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It is important to pay attention to every comment, no matter how bad or unfair you think it is. Don’t just look at the good ones, but study the bad ones carefully to see exactly what everyone thinks of you. You won’t expand your base by continuing to appeal only to those who already like you – you need to find ways to fix the problems and appeal to your detractors too.

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Here are the basic steps of a Perception Analysis:

  • Identify the Issues – What is it that people don’t like about dealing with your company? What are the areas where you are vulnerable to criticism? What are your strengths, where you have something good you can build on? What opportunities are there for improvement?
  • Find the Perception Gap – What do you think of your company? What do your customers think of your company? Make a list of where you agree, and more importantly, where you don’t. You may think your pizza is the best in town, but if many of your reviewers think it is not very good, then you have a perception gap. These may appear in surprising places, but by identifying them you can narrow down the areas you need to concentrate on.
  • Evaluate the Risk – How can these issues and perception gaps potentially damage your company? What is the impact they are having on your company?
  • Determine the Cost – Everything can be fixed, but what will it cost you to do it? Estimate the cost of fixing the issues you have identified.
  • Rank the Risks – Create a list of all these issues, putting the ones with the greatest impact at the top, and so on down the list. Put the cost of fixing it alongside the risk.
  • Develop Your Priorities – These will be the things that are high on the list, but at the same time relatively low-cost to fix. You might be surprised to see how easy it is to fix what at first glance looked like an insurmountable problem.

Competitor Analysis
Now you have a list of priorities, look at how your competitors and your industry niche in general in dealing with these issues. Looking at reviews on their sites, and reading industry-related and niche-related articles are good places to gather research on what the competition is doing.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about how the competition has dealt, or is currently dealing, with these PR issues:

  • What has worked for your competitors? If they don’t have your perception problems, what are they doing differently? For example, if you are perceived as having poor customer service and they are not, do they have a 24/7 hotline?
  • What has not worked for your competitors? On the other hand, they may still be having the same problems you are, and you can bet – especially if they are larger and older than you are – that they have already tried to fix this problem. So what did they do that didn’t work? If it didn’t work for them, it almost certainly won’t work for you, so put your efforts elsewhere.
  • What types of communication are doing best with your target audience? Now look at your successes. If you are doing something in the good areas, maybe you need to expand that approach to the bad ones.
  • What keywords are trending amongst your target audience? Looking at what your audience is looking at may help you see the solution to your problem, as well as arm you with language that they can relate to.

Once you have analyzed the competition you should look again at your priority list and perhaps modify it. If everyone is having the same perception problems in a certain area, it could be insurmountable, so put your efforts instead into something that seems fixable.

Step Three: Decide the Media Outlets to Use

To find out what outlets to use, combine your priorities with the profile of your customers. Looking at that combination will show you what media outlets to use that will develop your PR campaign most effectively. A good public relations campaign will incorporate multiple media outlets to get out information. While variety is key, not every company may be properly equipped to handle every form of communication available.

Here are just a few ideas of what media outlets to consider using for your public relations campaigns:

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As you can see, you have a wide choice of media outlets you could incorporate into your public relations campaign. Not all of them may be suitable for your goals, purpose, company, or profession, so here are a few ways to determine which forms of media you should use:

  • Analyze Your Public Relations Team – Look at the strengths and weaknesses of each person. What do they prefer to do the most? It is always best to play to your strengths, so if you have a great public speaker on your team, get them out speaking, don’t have them writing newsletters they hate writing.
  • Develop a Media Database – You need information about who to reach out to. This might include business publications, blogs, and trade publications relevant to your niche. Include the name, type of organization, phone number, email, social profile links, areas of interest, and any special notes you have.
  • Find Editorial Calendars – Print publications often publish a calendar showing the topics they plan to cover over the year. If you have these for your target publications, you can then look for topics that match the areas you are focusing in your PR campaign.
  • Use Outlets that Suit Your Goals and Purpose Best – You can see this by looking at that list of priorities alongside the profile of your target audience – existing customers, potential leads, or whoever it is you are trying to reach.
  • Use the Type of Media that Is Best at Reaching Your Target Audience – If your audience are big Twitter users, then of course you will make that part of your campaign. You get the idea.
  • Adapt to Your Budget – Costs of media vary hugely, and perhaps an ad during half time at the Super Bowl is outside your budget. Researching into costs will feed back into your earlier analysis of the cost of fixing your problems, and might make you modify that priority list. A better solution is to get creative and brainstorm a way of using an outlet you can afford.

Step Four: Create Your Plan

Once you have decided which media outlets you will be using in your public relations campaign, you can move forward to creating your plan of attack. At this point, you are developing a concrete, practical STRATEGY for solving your problems. So now, you can move on and put that strategy into effect.
Every PR plan will be unique, since each company and each purpose is different. However, there are many common elements in PR strategies and plans that usually apply.

Here are some tips on setting up your plan that all companies may benefit from:

  • Conferences, speaking engagements, and events take a lot of time and preparation. Therefore, you need to plan ahead and schedule them a long time in advance. If you want to use an event hosted by someone else, then it is never too soon to offer yourself as a guest speaker. These slots fill up fast. When you make that approach, have two or three possible subjects ready to offer – that way they can use you in several areas and you will seem much more interested than if you just offer to do ‘anything you want me to do.’
  • Keep up to date on the newest information and latest news. Constant research is the key to success doing that. Without constant research, your company will fall behind your competitors.
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  • If you are breaking news, releasing unique information, or rallying everyone to a good cause, make sure it really is something new. No one wants to hear old news again, or look at boring, out-of-date information.
  • Be consistent. Present items at regular frequencies for best results. If you try to do too many things at once, your public relations team will be spread too thin and won’t be able to do their best. If you have too few things going, your company can easily be forgotten amongst all the competition. Work towards the perfect balance – it takes time, attention and effort to reach it.
  • Think multipurpose. Imagine that you are hosting an event. You will obviously have speakers, but there are other forms of communication you could use, so use them. Hand out flyers or pamphlets. Show a video. Use posters to present information to people just wandering around your event. One outlet is often an opportunity to communicate in many other ways at the same time.
  • Never waste the media’s time. The ease with which emails can be sent has been a two-edged sword for public relations. Journalists are bombarded with press releases and items every minute. There is no point adding to the snowstorm if you are sending the same old flakes. If you waste their time, you will lose credibility, and when you lose credibility, you lose the chance of future coverage of important news and events. Save your efforts for something worthwhile – then you will have a much better chance of seeing the story spread, as you wanted it to.
  • Align your marketing campaign with your public relations campaign for the best results.
  • Remember the value of the internet. Reach out to bloggers, do your press digitally, and publish your news articles online. Combining this with in-person communications is the most effective way to reach the largest possible audience.

Step Five: Create Good Content

We have already had a lot to say about content in other chapters, but remember that the content for a PR campaign has to be just as strong and well-executed as anything you use for a marketing campaign. Don’t think that repeating some of your marketing content will be good enough – it won’t be. Your goals here are different and you need content that will help you achieve those goals effectively.

Here are some things to consider when creating your content:

  • Make It Relevant – Use the material in your media database to tailor your content to the outlets you want to use.
  • Look for Guest Post Opportunities – Many publications, websites and blogs are open to material from outside writers. These can expand your reach, and drive traffic to your site.
  • Reach Out to Influential Bloggers – If you can create content relevant to them, your profile will take a sharp turn in the right direction.
  • Make Partnerships – Look at your network and reach out to relevant people or groups. Consider how you can collaborate and produce suitable content that they distribute at events, on the websites, or through emails. You can do the same for them – a win-win situation.
  • Speaking Opportunities – Once you have found these opportunities, don’t blow it by arriving poorly prepared, with low-quality material that isn’t suitable for the audience. Use this opportunity to highlight the expertise, leadership and the credibility of your company.
  • Submit for Awards and Contests – There are many awards out there for marketing and PR. Fewer people apply than you may think. If you get an award, this will extend the life of your campaign, raise your profile and spread your reach to completely new audiences.

Step Six: Develop and Execute a Schedule

You’ve done your research, come up with a plan of attack, found outlets and prepared content. Now you need to develop a solid schedule and execute it. The commonest type of PR campaign for a small company is one to raise your personal profile, and that of your company. Here we will focus on that kind of campaign.

To develop a schedule, you need to know what you will be doing. While you have already mostly decided this, you will also need to know a few extra details in order to develop a schedule. For example, you need to know which events, conferences, etc. you will be attending and when, exactly, they occur. How far in advance you develop your schedule is up to you. The usual recommendation is to have a schedule created for at least three months in advance, but six months is ideal.

Here are the steps in creating your schedule:

  • Prioritize the Parts That Are Set in Stone – Items like events, conferences, guest speaking, etc. have predetermined dates that cannot be altered. Mark these dates on your calendar. Be extremely careful that you do not have any of these planned during the same times, and if you do, prioritize the most important one and cancel the other one.
  • Put in the Flexible Events – Things that do not have a set date – such as articles, photography, video news releases – can now be assigned to the empty portions of your calendar.
  • Check the Feasibility of Your Schedule – Make sure you can reasonably fulfill all portions of your campaign within the time available. Allow for preparation and some time to recover from a grueling event. If it doesn’t look feasible, tweak the campaign to be a little less demanding.
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Now you need to execute your campaign. This simply means fulfilling the engagements as you have outlined. Here are a few tips on how to do this successfully:

  • Plan, and Be Prepared in Advance – Get everything you will need together the night before, so that there is no last-minute panic.
  • Be Positive – Situations change over time, and sometimes an event is cancelled, even at short notice. It can happen to your events, or one put on by someone else. Just roll with it and stay positive. Even if you are disappointed, don’t show it. Be courteous to those you cancel, as well as to those who cancel you.
  • Stay Engaged – Remember that public relations do not end when you finish your presentation. Continue engaging your audience as much as you can. Socialize and network.
  • Be Prepared to Answer Questions – Both during and after your presentation, be open to questions and use them to your best advantage.
  • Look Confident – Always exude confidence, even if you do not feel it on the inside. The public likes confidence and your profile will rise accordingly.
  • Don’t Forget the Little Details – Losing track of even the tiniest of details can disrupt an entire campaign. Remember that the biggest picture is made up of many, many brushstrokes.

Step Seven: Plan Your Metrics

Congratulations, you have now launched your campaign. Now you need to keep track of your success so that you know where to put more effort, or where to reduce it.

Here are some important metrics to track:

  1. Attendance – How many people are attending your events, or coming to your presentations?
  2. Subscriptions – Track any changes to your blog and email subscriptions. How many new people are signing up? Is the rate of increase going up?
  3. Views – How many views are you getting of your articles, press releases, website, blog, and social media accounts.
  4. Engagement – Are you seeing an increase or change in the way your audience is engaging with you, your company, and your content?
  5. Reviews – Are more reviews of your company or products coming in? What are they saying?
  6. Awareness – Is the public beyond your customers aware of your company? You can see this by combining reviews, views, attendance, and engagement to form a larger picture.
  7. Sales – In the end, this is what matters, so are your sales increasing?

8 Tips for Success

If you want your public relations campaign to be successful, keep these tips in mind, and your campaign will be a big success:

  1. Pay attention to the details when coming up with your plan of attack. Just the big picture is not enough.
  2. Keep to a manageable schedule. Make sure you can reasonably complete each task you set for yourself, without overdoing it. Be ready for the long haul.
  3. Project confidence, even when you don’t feel it inside.
  4. Be consistent. Don’t just handle public relations when you feel like it, or only when you have the free time. Produce quality communications steadily.
  5. Be real and current. The media want real, unique, groundbreaking news. If you waste the media’s time, you lose your credibility, and in the end that is all you have.
  6. Be prepared. Always plan in advance so you never look unprepared.
  7. Prepare for questions. If you are going to be speaking to the press or public for any reason, always do your homework. You should be able to answer all the questions that might arise – especially the ones you don’t want to answer.
  8. Align your public relations campaign with your other marketing efforts for the best results.

4 Things to Avoid

If you want your public relations campaign to be a success, you should avoid the following things at all costs:

  1. Wasting the media’s time. We said this already, but it can’t be said too often. Once you waste the media’s time, your credibility drops. Without credibility, you will attract much less media attention for future efforts.
  2. Inconsistency. You must be consistent and methodical in your efforts, so that you build momentum.
  3. Using just one medium. Instead of focusing on a single form of media, focus on diversity. The more diverse your public relations are, the better your results are going to be.
  4. Failing to engage. All forms of communication rely on actively engaging with your target audience if they are going to succeed. This means putting yourself out there – even if you feel vulnerable.

Your Top Priorities

A public relations campaign takes consistent effort and a good deal of work. Some people may not have the time to do that every day, especially if you are a small or single-handed business. If you only have five minutes each day to dedicate towards public relations, you should focus on these priorities:

    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday

    • Spend three minutes each day writing an informative news article. You can write this cumulatively over the three days and produce one to two each week. (Estimated Time: 3 minutes)

    • AND

    • Spend two minutes each day actively engaging with people who have commented on your previous articles. Respond to or ‘like’ as many comments as possible each day. (Estimated Time: 2 minutes)

    • Saturday

    • Briefly research the latest news about your business niche. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes)

    • Sunday

    • Write a briefing on the news you researched on Saturday. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes)

Although these are the items to focus on if you have only five minutes a day, a much better solution is to outsource a few additional items. Just as with all other aspects of business, the more work you can put towards your PR campaign the better your results are going to be.

Getting Professional Assistance

It could be that you don’t have the background or training to successfully execute certain parts of your public relations campaign. Maybe you are short of time and just need a little extra help. In either case, hiring a professional is always a great option. Hiring a professional means you produce higher quality work, and complete it in a shorter timeframe. Hiring multiple professionals to assist you greatly increases your output, which in turn helps you gain momentum more quickly. If, for whatever reason, you are going to hire additional help, here are some experts who are definitely worth hiring.

Article & Blog Writers
Hiring a professional to write the articles and blog posts for your public relations campaign serves two purposes. Firstly, it allows you to offer the highest possible level of quality. Secondly, it allows you to put out a larger quantity of content. If one dedicated writer can produce between one and three pieces per day (and many can produce more), then you have a steady stream of content to offer to your audience.

Public Speakers
If you don’t have an experienced public speaker as part of your public relation’s team, chances are high you need to hire one. Professional public speakers offer better communication to the media and your general audience. They exude more confidence, and know how to prepare best for public appearances. They will be a strong public face for your company.

Researchers
Your public relations campaign needs almost constant research, to keep your company ahead of the competition. Hiring someone entirely dedicated to this can help you satisfy that need. The further ahead of things you are, the better. An expert builds the public impression that they are top in their field, and to do that you need to be up to date.

Management
Hiring someone else to manage your public relations campaign can drastically free up your own time. Instead of everyone reporting directly to you, you could have a single person coordinating all the details of the campaign. A manager can take care of all the small stuff, so that you are only personally involved in the big stuff. Use that extra free time to complete tasks that only you, as the owner of a company, can handle.

When Will I See Results?

About a month after launching your public relations campaign, you should begin seeing some results. The public’s awareness of your company should increase. You should also see that your credibility and position as an expert in your field has increased. Within two to three months of launching your campaign, you should also see an increase in your sales. All of these should increase steadily over the next few years, as your public relation’s campaign gains momentum. Optimal results should be seen anywhere between twelve and eighteen months after you begin your campaign.

How to Measure Success

There are multiple ways to measure success in your public relations. Here is a list of the most important metrics to use:

  • Attendance – Take note of how many people attend each event you host, each engagement you speak at, and each press conference you give. If these numbers slowly but steadily rise over time, then your public relations campaign is succeeding in its goals.
  • Views – How many views are there of your articles, press releases, and other related online posts? If this number is increasing, your campaign is doing well.
  • Engagement – How often and to what extent is the public engaging with your company? Look at the comments, likes, and reviews left about your company on your website and others. If they are more extensive and complex, then you are succeeding in increasing engagement.
  • Invitations – How often is your company invited to speak at events hosted by other people? If you are invited on a fairly stable or increasing basis, you are doing well. If you are not being invited, or if invitations are failing off, you need to increase your efforts.

Summary

In this section of the course, we covered the following topics. Make sure you understand them all
before moving on to the next section:

What are public relations?
Why are public relations important?
Seven steps to a public relations campaign
Define your goals – decide what you need to achieve

  • Do your research – find out how you are perceived
  • Decide the media outlets to use – traditional, online or social
  • Create your plan – build a strategy for success
  • Create good content – excellence in everything is vital
  • Develop and execute a schedule – carefully plan your time for the long haul
  • Plan your metrics – ways to measure your success
  • Tips for success

Things to avoid
Your top priorities
Getting professional assistance – why professional help pays for itself
When will I see results?
How to measure success

Conclusion

A PR campaign is a vital part of every company’s success. It serves many purposes. Amongst these, the most important are to present you as an expert in your field, and to open the lines of communication between you, the media, and your target audience. When executed properly, you can expect innumerable benefits. Just remember to have patience, as everything worthwhile takes time and effort.