If you’re wondering what a PR agency can do for your business, read on…
What does a PR agency do? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. But broadly speaking, a public relations (PR) agency works with businesses to raise awareness, improve reputation, build trust, engage with and build audiences, drive traffic to websites and boost SEO, establish new partnerships, increase sales and enquiries, and generally develop the business in a way that helps it meet its wider objectives.
Some people may think PR agencies just get their clients in the media – on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines or websites. But PR is about a lot more than securing media coverage (although this is part of it). Others might say that PR is all about reputation and nothing to do with sales or other business results. We disagree. PR isn’t a quick fix for a sales boost and needs to be a long-term strategy – but the work your PR agencies does should tie in with your business objectives and help deliver a return on investment.
What will an external public relations company do for my business?
It’s not uncommon for people working in PR agencies to carry out all kinds of different activities for their various clients. This isn’t because they keep changing their minds about what a PR agency should do and how it can help businesses, but because no two client briefs are the same.
For a PR campaign to be effective, there needs to be a clear PR strategy in place. A PR strategy looks at things such as business objectives, target audiences, market trends, competitors, key messages, brand personality and more. Once your PR team has a good idea of what the business wants to achieve and an understanding of the wider market and external factors that can impact and influence activity, then they can start coming up with creative PR and marketing ideas, campaigns and plans.
What tools, tactics and channels do PR professionals use?
There are all kinds of PR tools, tactics and methods your PR agency can use. News stories, interviews, research, case studies, testimonials, reports, events, awards, webinars, internal comms, product placement, influencer marketing, stunts, thought leadership, content marketing, social media – the list can go on and on.
And if you’re using a B2B public relations agency, their recommendations could differ from those recommended to a consumer brand.
Increasingly, PR agencies can also help create content – whether copywriting, graphics, photography, video, brochures, animation, augmented reality or virtual reality.
Your PR team will also identify the best platforms and channels for getting out your messages and content, as well as engage with your target audience. Traditionally PR focused on earned media (e.g. news stories in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, websites), but now PR agencies will look at paid (e.g. paid partnerships, advertorials, influencer marketing collaborations), owned (e.g. your business’ own blog/website, podcasts, videos) and shared media (e.g. social media).
One of the advantages of employing a PR agency on a retainer or project basis is that they continuously monitor the media (traditional as well as social/digital) for topics and trends to comment on. Your public relations team will also build good relationships with relevant journalists, editors, bloggers, influencers and third party organisations on your behalf. Your PR agency should also be able to provide you with valuable market and industry insights and knowledge to help you shape your business.
Do you have a small business or startup and wondering how it could help you? Over on PR Unlocked, there’s a useful guide PR for small businesses: 7 things you need to know.
What results can my PR team get my business?
This depends on what the objectives are, as well as your brief and budget. Measurement and evaluation are vital parts of any PR campaign and as part of what your PR agency does, they should provide regular reports that outline activity, outputs and results.
For a complete picture of the results, your external PR team is likely to need some information from you – for example, access to Google Analytics to measure the impact of PR on your website activity, and sales data.
Your public relations agency can also measure things like media coverage (number, tone/sentiment, key messages, domain authority, target audience, brand mentions, shares, page views), social media engagement (likes, comments, shares, sentiment), search engine optimisation data (e.g. page ranking and position for different search terms, number of new links).
Find out more about how to measure the success of your PR and marketing here.
Overall, a PR agency will do many different things for your business – but the aim should always be to support your wider business objectives through an effective combination of PR, marketing, media and communications tools and tactics.
Find out why we think creative PR campaigns are a great way for businesses to get the best results from their PR agency.