Research recently conducted by the Content Marketing Institute has revealed that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles, rather than via advertising.
Whilst Welsh businesses of all sizes continue to excel at the delivery of their core services, many struggle to implement effective public relations strategies with key stakeholder groups – a factor that can result in a failure to realise the full potential that said businesses possess.
Often the result of a lack of PR specific knowledge, there are a few simple steps that every business can adopt to invigorate their public relations activities and the yields they can return.
Who do you need to impress?
The first step of answering this question is to define the essence of your brand and the key messages you wish to convey. Having a clear understanding of who you are and how you deliver value to your customers is essential to any communication plan.
Mapping your stakeholders is the next stage to delivering targeted public relations communications that can either reinforce the positive outcomes of your operations or minimise the negative effects that can result from tough decisions you may have to make.
The ability to answer the following questions will determine how your communication strategies should be shaped towards various stakeholder groups when undertaking operative or strategic activities.
- Who will our activities effect?
- How important is our relationship with them?
- What is the power balance?
- How will our activities impact upon them?
- What do they need to know as a result?
Developing the capacity to spot where your activities can translate into newsworthy stories is also important. Ask yourself whether there is something truly unique about yourself or whether there are external bodies you could collaborate with to gain publicity, such as community events or charitable organisations with whom there is synergy.
Richard Branson’s support for Brawn GP, a team who would emerge as the unlikely winners of the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship, is a prime example of identifying an external organisation with whom there is apparent synergy between brands.
Branson successfully identified that the underdog status of the company, coupled with their immense technical knowledge in a specialist industry, matched the messages he had sort to convey of his own story to success.
By affiliating with the racing company, both Virgin and Branson garnered extensive prime-time press coverage along the way – whilst being perceived as a facilitator of their rags to riches story.
How do you reach your audience?
When you can holistically answer the first question, the next step is to realise the best way to reaching your audience through PR communications.
Identifying the best communication channels to get your message to your audience is the next step – positive endorsements from a trusted external source holds more credibility in the consumer’s mind than your own messaging.
Whilst mainstream media remains critical to B2C businesses, B2B operators must target their activities towards trade and owned media outlets.
Whilst consumer orientated fast-food retailers or a provider of fast-moving consumer products like McDonald’s or Tesco need to provide maximum exposure via the biggest outlets, an organisation whose primary market is businesses operating in South Wales would be better targeting towards specialist channels that focus on this niche market segment.
Investing time and resources into building your social media presence has also become critical to how you convey your messages to your target audience, with the advent of this technology having redefined how consumers digest information.
The digital revolution has brought about explosion in opportunities provided by the ever-growing number of communication channels available to organisations.
The challenge now presented is having the knowledge and time to successfully create, distribute and manage the volume of content required to reach your target audience.
The age of social media means that organisations are able to both shape the messages surrounding their operations and speak directly to their target market in a way that would have been unheard of some 20 years ago.
PR has a role to play in the success of every business. By successfully resolving the aforementioned challenges, your organisation can begin to maximise its full potential.
Effective Communication is an award-winning Cardiff-based PR company. For further information, email BeEffective@effcom.co.uk.