The truth is that most businesses (print or otherwise) do not have a public relations (PR) plan. We are all busy and the idea of creating and structuring a formal PR plan gets deprioritized below operations, sales, and even marketing. Most businesses only think of PR when they launch a new product, open a new site, make a key hire, or do something that is “newsworthy.”
PR isn’t an “every once in a while” activity. It’s continuous. More definitively, public relations is the continuous management of your brand’s positive perception.
PR involves developing and managing strong relationships with relevant community, association, and business leaders. Regular communication and engagement also extends to influencers in your market who may be stakeholders, partners, bloggers, journalists, and key customers.
PR is not just publicity or an occasional press release. It is a comprehensive set of related activities that protect, position and promote your brand without paid advertising. PR’s activities include:
- Media relations
- Community relations
- Industry relations
- Events (both company-owned and external)
- Social media
- Online reputation management (ORM)
- Media monitoring
- Crisis communications
How well you protect, position, and promote your brand can directly affect:
- The public’s trust in you
- The traffic to your website/store/office
- Your employee recruitment and retention
- Your revenue and profit
PR is considered “earned media” because you don’t directly pay for it like you do advertising, sponsorships, or other marketing activities. If you have a strong brand, a solid value proposition to your market, and an interesting story to tell, your “news” will be distributed and shared in the market at relatively low or no cost. You will have earned the privilege of others amplifying your message to their audiences. Earned is almost always better than Paid.
Also in comparison, while advertising and marketing are generally a one-way broadcast of your message to the market, PR is two-way communication. You can get feedback from your audiences through third-party media as well as directly through social media and online review sites.
In your PR plan, you should prepare your set of tools and activities that will amplify your messages. These tools include:
- Publicity management plans
- Social media management
- Press releases
- Media advisories
- Media kits
- Media/influencer contact directory
Research shows that 84% of marketers believe that building trust will be the primary focus of future marketing campaigns. Building and maintaining your reputation, based on trust and credibility, requires a solid public relations program. Make the investment and enjoy the returns.
David Murphy is the founder and CEO of Nvent Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in digital marketing for the print industry. David has 30+ years of experience in the graphics and document print production industry. He has served as a board member and advisor to print organizations and associations including Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), Print Industries of America (PIA), Association for Print Technologies (APTECH), and Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSF). David was also awarded the Idealliance Soderstrom Society Award for Print Industry Leadership.
David can be reached at email@example.com.