Given the amount of time people spend these days making grand statements about newspapers being dead, it’s always amazing how they’re the major marker for a ‘successful’ PR campaign. For some it doesn’t matter how many new people the campaign pulls through their door or how many new registrations it brings on their website, it doesn’t even seem to matter to some if you triple their turnover; if it wasn’t in the Daily Mail, then it wasn’t really PR.
But I’ve got some news for you: PR is all about the end result – or at least – it should be.
It’s one of the reasons I founded Vivid, I’d worked with far to many organisations that could make a splash; it’s easy to get a story into a newspaper, but far more difficult to get a person through your door, or into your website, or buying your product. You see PR is all about picking the appropriate audience, and if your appropriate audience only reads the Telegraph, there’s no point getting a double page spread in the Mirror. Equally, if they’re net savvy, why limit the message to a newspaper article when you could put a message out into a space where it’s going to be copied, passed on and endorsed?
PR these days needs to be an appropriate mix, it’s no longer an industry that should be defined by a press clippings book and a list of weekly press releases (most of which are ignored, binned or shredded). Nowadays your PR and marketing should be ROI led, there’s no such thing in business as something that can’t in some way be linked directly to your bottom line: whether it’s brand awareness, footfall, crisis management, product launches or just general press management, it’s all going to affect your bottom line.
This bottom line works both ways though, you’ve got to be able to cope with what your PR campaign might bring, you’ve also got to be flexible in accepting the advice that your agency gives you, fighting against your agency wastes their time (which you’re paying for) and your time (which your business eventually pays for), you lose both ways. PR is all about fostering positive conversations, and the first conversation that needs to be embraced is the one between your agency and you.
So work with your agency. Don’t just sling them into the deep end without direction, tell them what you want to achieve, not what you think they’ll want to hear, and you’ll be amazed at the results. As a last tip, don’t ever be afraid to link performance to pay, the agencies that know they can’t deliver will run a mile, but what you’ll get instead is an agency that’s engaged in your goals, that is a stakeholder in your success and who can actually work long term with you to develop your brand for their own personal gain, after all, every business is driven by it’s bottom line, so why be afraid of linking it to your goals and suppliers?