PR 101: How Does PR Work?

What is PR?

  • PR is any activity related to keeping a brand/person top of mind in their industry and among business and consumer targets in a positive way.
  • Companies (and people) use the “PR engine”, along with other Marketing and Advertising activities, to build and monitor their public facing image.
  • PR includes a variety of activities including: brand messaging and positioning, media relations, awards and speaking engagements, social media, media training, analyst relations, and thought leadership.
  • Within the larger context of “media,” PR is most focused on earned media and owned media. Unlike Advertising (Paid Media), earned media requires a third party to endorse or talk about a brand.
  • PR is not a solution for a poorly performing product and must be used in conjunction with other marketing tactics in order to be truly successful.

Why do I need PR?

  • Nothing screams “credibility” like having others talk about your brand or product in a positive way. PR is a “soft” way of influencing potential customers toward making a buying decision.
  • PR, when done well, provides an extraordinary opportunity to build a positive reputation for your brand/product while simultaneously reaching your target audience (end-user) with your message.
  • PR activities educate the marketplace about why they should care about you, visit your website, or ultimately, purchase your product.

Who can do my PR?

Large firm:
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Agencies with 50+ employees will typically charge clients between $30k to $50k/month.
Small/Midsize firm:
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Agencies with 10 to 50 employees, typically best for companies who have budgets of between $10k to $30k/month.
Boutique firm:
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Boutique PR firms are generally run by 2 to 5 Executive level PR Professionals and generally charge between $5k to $15k/month.
PR Independent:
This breed of PR Professional (aka the Contractor) can often be found on short-term contracts for virtually any size company and generally charge between $3k to $10k/month.
Believe it or not, if you have enough time and energy and are willing to learn, many small companies are opting to tackle their own PR activities. Often times, with the input of a few trusted advisors and consultants, you can get off to a good start without spending thousands of dollars.

5 Tips To Optimize Your Outsourced PR

So, you’ve vetted the candidates and found the perfect PR pro to help make all your dreams come true.

Now what?

To ensure you have the best experience possible and extract the most value from your newly minted partnership, here are 5 tips for optimizing your outsourced PR.

  1. Develop a clear and detailed strategy.

    In a typical scenario, it can take 2 months to begin to see press coverage. This means the first 30 days are reserved for strategy, message development, positioning, media research/targeting. BONUS: Set your PR pro up for success by giving them access to the product…have them test it and allow them to give you feedback specifically from a product standpoint.

  2. Ask for a weekly or every other week status call.

    Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, regular check-ins are a great opportunity to touch base, voice concerns and ensure everyone is on the same page. Also your PR pro is probably a prettay…prettay…prettay cool individual, so why not take the time to get to know them a little?

  3. Set expectations for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly status updates and reports (via email).

    Regularly updated documentation will keep you informed as to what outreach is being done and where your PR pro is currently focused. It also helps everyone stay on track or can identify potential gaps in your strategy. Sometimes monthly is enough, but if you want to see this stuff weekly your PR pro should be able to show you the goods.

  4. Provide your PR pro what they need in terms of content, feedback and access.

    Without you, your PR pro may find themselves working with limited resources thereby undermining your potential success. Arm them with what they need to work their magic. This means data to help round out stories, access to the C-suite for media opportunities/interviews, and the list goes on and on. Help them help you. Period.

  5. Be responsive.

    Do respond to your PR pro within 24-48 hours if they have certain requests that enable them to do the work you are paying them to do. Whatever you do, don’t go dark. This is a lose/lose situation and honestly it’s just plain unprofessional. Boo. Conversely, if your PR pro takes more that 24-48 hours to respond, that’s a problem. You should feel free to let us know if there are gaps in communication. Your PR pro’s primary function is to push things through the funnel and if they’re not doing that, it could be cause for a larger concern.

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