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#PR: Why Does Your Company Need a PR Firm?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Paula Conway, president of Astonish Media Group based in New York City, recently shared five very compelling reasons why a company needs a PR firm and why it should hire one. Her piece, appearing recently in PR News for Smart Communicators, gave the reasons and explanations; some of these are quite obvious, but you would be surprised why some companies need firms, as Ms Conway notes:
 
“If you’ve pondered the reasons why you might need a PR firm, or talked yourself into reasons why you don’t need a PR firm, here are five good reasons why you definitely do.” So, “I’m going to quote her five reasons and give some commentary on each.

1. Compete with your competitors.
If you can not or are not getting the word out about your service or product, how are people going to know about you? As Ms Conway noted in her post, if you are not getting press, you are not competing.

2. Building brand recognition.
Getting your name out there is not something that happens overnight. In fact, even if your flack pitch was very successful within the first few days of placement, you may find you will get comments three, six, or maybe nine months afterwards. When I was the flack at a small engineering services firm in NJ a decade or so ago, it was not uncommon for me to learn that a response came in three to nine months after a pitch successfully placed for one of the company’s products. Your customers and prospects will contact you for more information on your offering when they feel they need to know more.

As Ms Conway also noted, “Good public relations works in conjunction with other elements of your overall marketing strategy, which might include social media, events or charity tie-ins. This is how brands grow, with layers of conversation about their product over many years. When you look at the changes the company makes, let’s say over a three-year period, which is a good time to measure, there will be a trajectory. And if that trajectory trends up, you’ve done something right.”

3. Stay relevant.
Staying relevant also means not throwing in the towel too soon. Good PR takes time; this means you should always be in touch with journalists and editors, whether your focus is B2C or B2B. Use as many opportunities as you can to have knowledgeable people in your organization in the news or in the trade media.

4. Bridge the language with journalists.
Journalists need to be convinced almost immediately that your pitch or story deserves their further attention. That being said, the old mantra “KISS” still applies. (If you are not sure what it means, contact me and I will be happy to educate you!) Also, take a good look at the type of writing and wording journalists prefer. And ask yourself: Am I writing clearly, succinctly, and convincingly? And, most importantly, am I making sure there are zero grammar or spelling mistakes in anything I send out?

5. Increase your ROI.
While the bottom line may differ from one organization to the next, getting a return on investment (ROI) is the ultimate goal. For many organizations, good ROI for a successful pitch would mean multiple prospect inquiries and/or buzz in the social and traditional media spheres.

PR, and good PR, is a tough, daily grind that takes time. If your company’s growth and success are paramount, these are all good reasons why a PR firm is necessary.

Ms Conway ends her contribution by sagely noting, “Often a company will convince itself that since sales are up, there is no need to hire a PR firm. Name one major brand that doesn’t have a PR firm or dedicated public relations person in-house. There isn’t one. There are a few reasons for this. First, large companies understand that things can go bad and they need to be prepared to react to negative media, which will ultimately affect sales and trust in the brand. Conversely, when interesting or powerful news surfaces that is relevant to what they do, they know that they need to be part of that conversation. Finally, if you remove the PR from the equation you are no longer relevant, you are not building brand recognition, and you are certainly not standing up against your competitors.”
 
Enough said!


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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