Public Relations For Branding-Your Strongest Tool

Public Relations For Branding

Every company needs marketing, yet many don’t understand why public relations for branding your company should take priority in their marketing mix. Public relations used as a means of getting news coverage is the most powerful way of marketing a company. It is the only single tool that can improve a brand on its own. Let’s discuss how each area of public relations and marketing work to support each other. Then let’s compare how public relations affects and outshines all other marketing. For all intents and purposes of this article, we will refer to public relations as a means of getting media coverage, as this comprises 99 percent of the work of the PR professional. Here is how public relations stacks up to other marketing tools.

Public Relations vs SEO

So many companies think they need SEO. Granted, if you are an e-commerce company you definitely want traffic to your site. In this type of marketplace, SEO is pertinent. So, why is SEO important? It’s how people find your company using search engines, with Google being the most popular. To get to the first page of Google and above the fold (top half of the page), takes extensive on-page work writing content pages and blogs, ensuring your meta descriptions work with your keyworImage of a man - public relations for brandingds, making your URLs short and leave breadcrumbs etc. To get highly ranked, Google must see you as relevant to the user’s search terms known as keywords. Then Google figures out the authority of your domain and the popularity of your pages. Everything from what city a user is logging onto your website from to how long he stayed on a specific page is in Google Analytics, so you can see how many clicks you are getting at any giving time. You can even see who is online at the moment. Analytics also track the flow of what pages were visited and how where they left. Getting Google to see your website as an authoritative site takes time and a lot of work on the back end of your website as well as work with other companies and bloggers to get links to your site–also referred to as backlinks. This is where the power of public relations comes in. At one time, people were creating microsites and putting links to their own sites. Additionally, there were link farms that were basically websites that companies paid to place a link to your website, which were basically directories. Google got wise and as it changed its algorithms over the years with Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and the other changes, these links became known as part of “black hat” SEO. This means that not only did Google not recognize them, but it penalized a website for using them.

So, fast forward to today where links from authoritative sites are king. A link or even a brand mention from such credible newspapers as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning Sun, Wall St. Journal etc. has the ultimate influence on your Google ranking. Google knows that to get into these newspapers, there must be extreme relevancy and the website it is writing about or including in a story is credible enough for this publication to publish it. In other words, getting your company in the news is the most credible and influential way to win favor with Google and get ranked. And, it doesn’t take years of SEO to get your company at the top. A good strategic public relations plan is the fastest way to move your company to the first page of Google.

Public Relations Used As A Branding Tool

No matter if you are a person amidst a group, a company with an online presence or a brick-and-mortar storefront, people only know what you tell them. Explaining who you are, your beliefs, what you stand for and why people should trust you is all in the hands of how you present yourself and/or your company. This is called branding. Branding a company takes all types of communications from what your logo says to the public to your promotional collateral to your Internet marketing. But when it comes down to it, the most powerful branding tool is strategic public relations. Why? Because it’s not your company that is tooting its own horn. Yes, you must be able to fulfill a need, offer the service you promised, provide the product you marketed and gain a good reputation as an established firm. However, when your company is featured in a credible news publication or on a television show where you can deliver a positive message, you can put a face on your company in a such a way that is more powerful than any other form of marketing. A story about your company in such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun or Newsday, or on the Today Show, Good Morning America or CBS Nightly News are the fastest and most credible way of getting your company known. Not only that, but remember, this highly affects your Google ranking, making public relations a dual promotional tool. This is why public relations for branding is so potent. 

Strategic Public Relations vs Website

The website is where people go to find out two things: that you are real and for information. It needs to be clean, immediately show what your company is about and user-friendly so people can navigate around it easily. This is where content is king, as the more expert and relevant the storytelling on your website, the better. Why? Because people want to read interesting things and when it is relevant to their search, Google sees it as important and ranks the website higher. But, while a website shows all these wonderful things about your company, it is still akin to an advertisement; your company produced it. With public relations, getting news coverage that tells a story about your company by a third party i.e. the media, gives your company much more credibility. Public relations lands you the media coverage that leads the reader or viewer to your website.

Porter PR & Marketing considers websites a form of advertising, especially now with chat boxes, inbound marketing tools, and easy sales functions. This is where you can influence your audience, showcase your product or services and capture their data so you can market to them later. Think of it as an influential landing page, whereas media coverage tells the story so well, it can’t help but take an audience that already has a peaked interest in your company, to your page. So basically, the news coverage has done the work for you of capturing the interest of a highly-targeted audience, which would typically take focus groups, demographic tracking and expensive trial-and-error marketing. Think how much money a company can save just by using public relations for branding as their primary marketing tool.

Strategic Public Relations For Branding vs Advertising

An advertisement is a paid form of reaching an audience. It is designed to sell. On the other hand, news coverage via public relations is free. It is designed to tell. Advertising reaches specific target audiences whereas public relations, depending on if your company gets news coverage in a larger newspaper, local business journal or trade publication, typically has a wider audience. So basically, advertising is costlier and less effective for branding, primarily because it takes seeing an ad a minimum of seven times before you people act on the call to action. Getting news coverage tells its story immediately. It serves to brand your company in a certain light, not just sell a product or service. News coverage has a long-lasting effect on the public by creating awareness and trust because of its third-party endorsement. It is a known fact, that it is easier to influence someone to buy a product they are already interested in and knows your brand rather than sell a project to someone that has never heard of your company. A good public relations campaign, by design, familiarizes people with your brand and establishes trust. Public relations for branding is without a doubt your strongest marketing tool.

Strategic Public Relations vs. Social Media

There is only so much you can do with social media. But, it is the perfect support system for public relations and, in fact, is a part of public relations that works extremely well as a promoter of garnered news coverage. Unfortunately, social media is limited in that it targets only the people that visit the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages. It gives a face to the company and exposes its culture, which also is branding. What it does not do, however, is have widespread reach. Nor does it have the same credibility as getting news coverage because the company that owns the social media pages is providing the information. There are no gatekeepers like there are editors and reporters at a newspaper that ensure the facts are true and their sources real. Social media is promotional and people that visit these pages like to learn about what the company is doing, its personality and how others see it. How social media and strategic public relations for branding can work together in a powerful way, is by a company using social media to post that they got news coverage in a particular newspaper or magazine. Or that they were interviewed on the NBC nightly news. Now, this is integrating your marketing!

Now that you understand the power of public relations for branding and how it is the single most powerful marketing tool available, it is important to understand that getting news coverage is not guaranteed. Only an experienced team of public relations professionals is capable of this feat. But, if it were easy, it would lose its credibility.

Find out how Porter PR & Marketing gets companies in the news for branding. We have great success stories that are a result of using public relations for branding. Would you like to be one of them?