Those seeking public relations services often pigeonhole it into media relations. But there are some important value-adds that PR partners can bring to a relationship that help elevate a company or brand. Here are just a few:
High-level media training. Many a CEO has declined to make time for a media prep session on the grounds that “no one knows the company better than I do” or “I don’t want to sound ‘canned,'” only to falter in an important interview. Common mistakes include disclosing more than necessary, getting angry or defensive, or simply failing to maximize the opportunity. For a real dash of schadenfreude, check out these examples of what not to do. The best media training sessions train the entire team, starting at the top.
Brand perception audits. As more brands forego traditional advertising but increase overall PR spend, communications partners need to be integrally involved with brand culture, messaging, sales strategy and the industry landscape. For that reason, we advocate for PR to take the lead in conducting a detailed analysis of a brand in its current state, engineered to highlight strengths and weaknesses and help the team structure a results-oriented program. The audit isn’t new, of course, but it’s newly important.
Website analysis and evaluation. One of the first things we do when partnering on a PR assignment is review the company website, a topic we also tackled here. Our experience can offer insight into what makes a successful e-commerce site or what a B2B destination tells its prospects, and we will always make recommendations to make a client site more journalist-friendly and stronger in telling a company story.
Thought leadership events. An excellent way to create quality content and gain exposure for a trendsetting company is a thought leadership event. One example: convene a panel of like-minded executives to weigh in on a specific sector or issue. We’ve produced panels and meetings on topics from art e-commerce to worker’s compensation insurance. (Often, the narrower the topic, the better.) In addition to opportunities for media to attend and cover such events, a savvy PR team will package the resulting content for white papers, bylines and other post-event coverage.
Long-form content. In the era of digital publishing, any executive can be an author, which also speaks to thought leadership. But the most successful in the genre get help from great writers – many of whom are journalist or PR professionals. Books lend credibility to a CEO or a company while offering a fresh news hook for an ongoing PR program.
Bonus tip. PR partners come to know a business and a team, and like any other good consultant, can be an important resource for key business moves such as hiring. As a client partner to many early stage businesses, we’re often called on to help vet and hire internal marketing staffers as well as make recommendations for outside experts in branding, market research, or marketing automation.